In Depth Blog 6

Since the last blog post, I have met with my mentor three times. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to meet with him this week as he is away on vacation, however we will be meeting up again regularly afterwards. I have found that I need little to no guidance anymore, as I know most of everything I need to for my final presentation. When we meet up, I will play him a part of a song and he will give me suggestions on how to improve. He will also suggest new songs to listen to based on what I like. However, he isn’t teaching me nearly as much as he was at the start of the project, and I think the reason for that is I have gained autonomy over the course of the project so far. I am able to work well on my own and with minimal guidance, whereas at the start of the project I knew nothing and needed to be taught every step of the way. 

I recently decided on my second song for my project, after nearly perfecting the first. I asked my mentor what he thought, and he agreed that the song was fitting for my style and this project. He helped me to sort out how it would need to be played, and then our meeting was over. I have been practicing daily (with a few exceptions, such as adventure trips) and I am now a quarter of the way through the song! I’m really happy about the progress I have made, as the first song took much longer for me to learn. However, I do have much more experience now, and it is easier to pick up notes.

Another thing that I have been working on in the background is playing songs from my guitar book. I am able to play most of them, but not well. One of the criteria I made for this project was that I had to be able to play all of the songs from the book, and I have yet to complete that. So I always make sure to do at least a page a day (again, with exceptions). 

In conclusion, I have been working really hard and I can’t wait to see the final product!

Hamilton Big Ideas

Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events.

“The world will never be the same, oh / The ship is in the harbour now”

The new idea of the 13 colonies becoming separated from Europe caused many events, such as the two above; the shot heard around the world, and the Boston Tea Party. People in the colonies then became interested and invested in starting a revolution.

Disparities in power alter the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies.

“And every day while slaves were being slaughtered and carted away / Across the waves, he struggled and kept his guard up”

The poor people, or the people from the lower classes, were being shipped over to the 13 colonies. Some of the people in the upper classes also traveled over in hopes of getting richer, but the two classes stayed separate for the most part.

Collective identity is constructed, and can change over time. 

“Another immigrant coming up from the bottom”

In Europe, some of the poorest people decided to sail to the new world in the 13 colonies in hopes of starting over. In the colonies, social classes were almost non existent, so the immigrants had the opportunity to equal rights as everyone else.

The physical environment influences the nature of political, social and economic change.

“In New York you can be a new man” 

New York was a place where you could travel to from Europe to start a new life. There were different political decisions, social classes and economic stocks.

Fur Trade Inquiry

Outline the focus of your inquiry and provide background knowledge. Why is this an important and significant question to ask about the past? Provide evidence from primary and secondary sources.

My inquiry question is: To what extent did the fur trade affect the lives and living conditions of indigenous peoples? I wanted to mainly focus on the after effects of the fur trade that the First Nations people’s experienced, and the events directly preceding them. To start, I knew little about the fur trade, and even less about the indigenous peoples during this time. Most of what I knew focused on the Europeans and how they were affected. After watching the video in class, I had a much better knowledge of the events of the fur trade, but still little knowledge about the indigenous peoples. This led me to choose my question.

I find it unfair that the point of view of the indigenous peoples in this time isn’t talked about very much, and I decided I wanted to be able to teach others about it. It is a very important, significant event in history, and the question is appropriate to ask because we know so much about one side of the story and so little about the other that we can easily become biased. The majority of the sources I found while conducting research were secondary sources, as this was a long time ago and there was very little recorded by indigenous peoples. Eventually, after some searching, I found some primary sources, such as the picture below.

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This picture is of a trading permit made for Louis Denys de la Ronde, who was a part of the fur trade. It is a primary source because it was created at the same time as the event. I also found a picture of a map created recently, explaining where the trades took place. This is a secondary source, as it was created long after the event.

Why did your researched events happen the way they did and what were the consequences?

The fur trade happened, as you probably know, because the Europeans realized how many fur pelts the indigenous people possessed and wanted to trade for them. The fur pelts kept people warm during the harsh winters, and ended up being an extremely popular fashion item in Europe. Beaver pelts were used in hats, bags, jackets and more. The indigenous peoples liked the goods that were brought over from Europe, and decided to trade their fur pelts for the goods. Ships began to sail from Europe for the sole reason of collecting furs. Slowly, the fur trade grew. Trading posts were established, explorers moved up north to attempt to find more furs, and the amount of land being used expanded greatly.

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The above picture is a drawing of three European men trading a First Nations man tools for a beaver pelt. So far, you probably think this was the best idea ever. However, like anything else, there were consequences. One of the biggest things I discovered related to my topic was that the indigenous people who had been living on the coast of what is now Quebec were pushed inland by the fur trades. When there were no more animals to hunt, they moved to find better hunting areas so that they could trade with the Europeans.

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The above picture is of seven aboriginal men and women hunting for beaver pelts. Many people were forced out of their jobs, such as fishing, to move into the fur trading industry. This was almost essential to survive.

Another big problem that arose because of the fur trade was a huge decrease in indigenous population. The Europeans brought over many diseases that were uncommon in what is now Canada, such as smallpox, influenza, measles and tuberculosis. In under eleven years, the population of the Eastern Abenaki, an indigenous tribe, decreased from approximately 10,000 to 3,000. This had a huge impact on the lives of the indigenous peoples, as well as on the fur trade. There were less people to hunt the furs, and therefore less to trade. This did not benefit either the Europeans or the Aboriginals. There were also less people to grow food, so the indigenous peoples often had to trade their precious pelts for food in order to stay alive.

The picture below is of the thick coated beaver, one of the main reasons the fur trade got so big. The farther north the beavers live, the thicker and warmer their fur will be. This fur is much more valuable, as the Canadian winters were often extreme. The fur pelts helped the Europeans to stay alive during these unpredictable winters.

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Is what happened right and fair by the values and standard of the time? How about from our current values and standards? Explain.

In that time, everything that happened was right and fair. People traded their goods for other goods, there is no knowledge of mistreatment of either side, and even though there were many indigenous people who died because of illnesses, there was no way to prevent them with the medicine and scientific knowledge at that time. With our current values and standards, I would say that a fur trade would most likely raise some concerns. Trading is rare, most people use money and buy things. However, even if there were trades, people would probably be skeptical of the deals they’re getting. For example, I could be trading a beaver pelt for a pound of spices and think it was a great deal, but in reality, unless I had background knowledge about these spices, I wouldn’t know how valuable they are and therefore wouldn’t be able to know if I am getting a good deal or not. Another thing to keep in mind is that science is now much more advanced, and we would probably be able to stop foreigners from coming in with illnesses and diseases that could dangerously impact our country.

What conclusions can you reach about your question, based on the research you conducted?

From my research, I can conclude that the indigenous peoples at this time had to deal with a lot of hardships. They were forced into moving, finding new jobs, and even were killed after long suffering from horrible diseases. However, the Europeans didn’t have it easy either. Many of them died from extreme cold temperatures in the winter. They also suffered from diseases such as scurvy, a vitamin deficiency. However, you can’t really argue that their living conditions were negatively affected, as they made the choice to live near the fur trading action. The indigenous people had little choice; either stay where you are and become unemployed, or move many times in hopes of trading pelts with Europeans. To answer my inquiry question, the indigenous peoples lives and living conditions were greatly affected during the fur trade. I don’t believe that it could have been avoided given the conditions, values and standards in that time period. However, I think that if it were to happen again, we could improve.

In Depth Blog Post #5

Over the break, I met with my mentor three times, however only two of them were scheduled practice meetings. The third was an Easter party that was hosted by my parents. My mom works with my mentor, so she decided to invite him and someone else she works with over the night before Easter. My mentor brought his wife and his three year old daughter. The other person my mom works with brought her husband and her 11 year old son. For the majority of the night, I was in charge of entertaining the three year old girl. I love kids, so I was absolutely delighted. However, closer to the end of the night, the guests we had over wanted to hear me play the guitar. I did, and this lead to my mentor giving me some advice, which lead to an extra 30 minute practice session. The other two meetings were much more productive, as they were longer and previously scheduled. Below, I will answer some questions which will give insight into those meetings.

1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

My mentor is constantly introducing new songs to me that he thinks I would play well. He will come to the meetings and give me an entire list of new songs to listen to. If I like any of them, I will tell him and he’ll teach me a part of them. This is really helpful because I am able to get a taste of many different styles and genres of guitar music which expands my knowledge and my experience.

2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

My mentor is always teaching me many different strumming patterns, as he has since day one. He has recently asked me to start making up my own patterns to help with my creativity, something that is essential with music. This has really benefited me and has expanded my options for playing music on the guitar.

3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

My mentor and I often have unexpected meetings where we can accomplish a lot. This is really helpful even if I don’t need as much guidance as I did at the start of this project. Something else that accelerates my learning is watching a specific YouTuber who plays guitar. My mentor recommended him to me, and I have found that it really helps me to understand guitar music better and even be able to catch on to concepts quicker.

4. When you get together what do you talk about?

My mentor and I mostly talk about guitar, however we also talk about things such as musical artists, other instruments and occasionally his daughter. My mentor is always suggesting new music for me to listen to, so he likes to get insights as to what I liked and what I didn’t. He also likes to know my favourite styles of music so he can have an idea of certain songs or artists I might like. We occasionally talk about instruments such as the piano, which he can play fairly well, and the violin, which his daughter plays.

5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

My mentor and I are getting along very well, but I believe that what is going best is our ability to communicate. Overtime, we have learned a lot about each other, and I can now play strumming patterns by him saying things such as “remember the weird one that reminded me of a cat?” and I know what he is talking about. He has taught me a lot over the past few months, and I am excited to see how much more our relationship evolves.

6. What are you learning about one another?

I have learned a lot about him, such as where he grew up, his family, the instruments he plays/played, his music preferences, and much more. My mentor has learned a lot about me, including my school life, my family, my friends and my music preferences. He will often tell me funny stories of when he was first learning to play the guitar, and we now have a few inside jokes about it. We are continuing to learn a lot about each other as we progress further into the project, and we are learning a lot about each others skills and abilities as well as our own.

To conclude, the last few weeks (and the project in general) have been extremely successful and enjoyable. I am sad that the end of the project is approaching, however I am extremely excited for in-depth night and being able to preform for my mentor and a crowd!