Arrival of Strangers - The Last 500 Years
Until well into the twentieth century, Aboriginal people, such as the Dene and Cree of the Northwest Territories, were able to maintain a traditional lifestyle. They kept their economy based on hunting, trapping and harvesting. Country foods made up a large portion of their diet. They sold surplus furs and skins to buy imported items and modern conveniences.
In the 1970s, a fur embargo imposed by many European countries effectively killed the fur trade. Prices for furs plummeted and people had little choice but to examine new means of making a living. Economic activity for Aboriginal people of the boreal forest shifted to wage labour in government, the tourist industry, mining and construction.