When fur traders came to the Great Lakes region, they tried to carry on the trade by
bringing supplies and traders into the Great Lakes on large ships. They soon discovered that
the storms on the lakes sunk these ships at an alarming rate. The ships could not maneuver up smaller lakes and streams where native people trapped fur bearing animals. The European
traders quickly took on the birch bark canoe to replace their ships. The traders enlisted the help of Indian families to make the canoes for them.