The Other Side Of The Ledger The other side of the ledger is an Indian view of the Hudsons Bay company. The Hudsons Bay companys 300th anniversary celebration where Queen Elizabeth II among the other guests was present, was no occasion for joy among the people whose lives were tied to the trading stores. During the past 300 years, the history has been written by white men. They have only focused on the generosity of the traders and the benefits brought to the Indians. However, there is a sharp contrasting view from what Indians have to say about their lot in the companys operations. At the time of the history, Hudsons Bay company was expended over 1 million square miles of land which is now known as Canada. The Ruperts Land at that time was occupied by the Indians. They (Indians) believed that the land belonged to all men and hence, the land owned by the individual was unknown.
However, they failed to recognize that the white men had felt superiority to impose power over their identities. Hence, they just drifted bit by bit into white mens monopoly and never got out of it. Overall, I think, the film has covered up all the basic arguments of the Indians and has helped to understand the period and the people of that time. It has covered all the basic problems of Indians having with the Hudsons Bay Company. In the following, I have highlighted the main points covered in the film which illustrate the basic problems of Indians and to which I agree. As it is shown in the film, I too think that the introduction of the new weapons (i.e.: guns) was the beginning of the Indians revolution. All the other hunting methods were band.
The distribution of weapons in Ruperts land was done by the H.B.C. Since, company had established treading posts throughout the land and each post was run by the manager, raising up the cost for the weapons was in the hands of the post managers. Hence, they were continuously ripping off the Indians. During the 1869, when decision to sell Ruperts land was made, it was made by the company, not by the Indians. The land was sold to Canada at a very low price. Many treaties were written to compel Indians to give up their rights to their land. However, after the land was sold, Indian people became the responsibility of the govnt and the parliament.
When the question of compensation was claimed, the govnt allowed the compensation of $3 a year and was only to those who signed the treaty to give up their right to the land. Such compensation I think, was not to provide financial support to the Indians but was a reminding of who owned the land, money, and most of all, the power. Further, the Indians culture was also being banished. Since Indians were living in the region which was cold and off the land, they were depended on the hunting and fishing. Some of the contemporary historians (loyalists) claim that since Canada was a free country, Indians could have proceeded further in success. Well, they had legal right to go to city just like other Canadian, but in order to do so they had to give up their hundreds years of culture and place. Hence, white mens place (city) seemed frightening, threatening and impersonal to them.
Not only this, but since Indians were a minority, according to white men, they must learn to adopt their rules and regulation which were to stay away from the standard life style of the whites. If Indians didnt perform accordingly, they were to suffer the consequences. Thus, Indians stayed where they were. A glance on the economic position of the Indians to see how they were being swindled by the Hudsons Bay Company. Indians were the lower income earning groups in Canada.
Their income was lower then $2000 a year. Company store was the only store where Indians could sell their fur. The prices for the fur were set by the company. Company not only set the prices for the fur but, also for the goods for which Indians traded their furs. Hence, they were paying double the price then what was being paid in the outside world. The cheques that Indians received from H.B.C.
were only allowed to use in the company store. This lead to the deaths of the Indian people since they didnt have enough money to buy food. Now when Indians are just dependent on fishing, govnt has set the restrictions on where it is appropriate for them to fish and where it is not. The new Indian generation of is leaving the land and their costumes for such reasons. The new problem of industrialization is also being faced by the Indian people.
H.B.C. has build industries in the north. Thus, they are creating the ecological problems by cutting the trees and poisoning the water. For how long will fishing continue to provide fare living for Indians? The point I think was to make Indian people dependent on the H.B.C. and to make them believe that they had no other way to survive but, by treading with the Hudsons Bay Company. The philosophy behind this propaganda was to make and show the world their identity as worthless so they could never stand up and demand for their land.
The examples can be found in the English law. For instance, Indians were not allowed to perform their culture festivals because Churches and govnt at the time had banned them. Indians have been conquered, and colonized by the same company for many times. The English govnt has undermined the rights of Indians through the use of Hudsons Bay Company. In order for the Indian culture to grow, it is essential for them to have a pride in their culture. But this can only happen if the economic and social position of the Indians is brought up.
Hence, Indians question economic, social, and political system who supported H.B.C..