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Friday, July 21st, 2023

Old Fort William, Ontario

I admit to being a sucker for historic parks such as Old Fort William just outside of Thunder Bay, reconstructed outpost for the fur trading industry back in 1815. This place is inspirational because it takes you to a time of harsh survivalism, simple standards, austerity, and a collaboration. Sounds attractive to a monk.

The collaboration or working in concert is about the Scotsman as the administrators, the French voyageurs from Montreal, and the trapping Indigenous Ojibwe people. While sitting under a TP on bison skins, Kevin, Janardan, and I, heard from two women posing from the period about the ways of life and how the European stock held reference to the Indigenous peoples. How do they view them any other way, they just could not survive. We got to learn that all was peaceful amongst the three groups. The competitor to this Northwest Trading Co. was the Hudson Bay Co. headed by the British. From this point, conflict began and things turned bloody. Eventually, the two enterprises merged.

Human nature is such that the usual elements of greed, power, and jealousy, get the better of us all. Unless we turn to a spiritual refuge, it is hard to envision any notion of peaceful life. History tells us that we have not been nice to each other regardless of which place we live on the planet. We come out of the fort more enriched, having learned of a simpler and cohesive community. We learned that a simple farmer from Quebec makes six times less the amount of salary as the voyageur job offered at Old Fort William.

5 km

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