To provide beautiful, high-quality fur products to the discerning consumer who supports the sustainable use of renewable resources while maintaining humane and ethical treatment of wildlife and respect for the peoples and cultures of our Canadian wilderness heritage.
All Natural Canadian Fur Products are 100% handcrafted in Canada.
Natural Canadian Fur Products emerged in 2005. Our founder, Bill Abercrombie, envisioned a company that would utilize one of Canada's most enduring sustainable resources: fur. A lifelong outdoorsman and environmentalist, Bill is deeply committed to preserving Canada's wilderness heritage and historic bush culture.
Bill's ancestors first came to the province of Alberta in western Canada in the 1880's. His great-grandfather was a Northwest Mounted Policeman or 'Mountie' stationed at what is now Banff National Park. His great uncle was a trapper and horse wrangler in the Peace River country of northern Alberta, and his other great grandfather came to the Canadian west in a covered wagon and became a well-known forester.
For generations, Bill's family has hunted and trapped in Alberta and has enjoyed a relationship of mutual respect with the original inhabitants. As a youngster, Bill was exposed to the wisdom of a host of outdoor professionals; from trappers to conservation officers to wildlife biologists. He became very aware of the important role of hunting and trapping in maintaining healthy wildlife populations, and was well schooled in environmental ethics and the importance of responsible stewardship of both the land her inhabitants.
As a young man, Bill embarked on many wilderness adventures. He spent the summers canoeing and exploring northern Canada's vast rivers and lakes, and winters in the boreal forest. This spurred a passion for land and the fish and wildlife that sustained him through his journeys. He also realized a deep connection with the aboriginal peoples of this rugged and beautiful landscape.
At the University of Alberta, Bill was an avid student in Anthropology, specializing in the first people's of Canada's Arctic. In 1983, he participated in an archaeological dig on Bank's Island in the Arctic Archipelago. Due to his acumen with a rifle, Bill was responsible for protecting the team from polar bears along with his excavating duties. So, with rifle and trowel in hand, he dug in the small layer of soil above the permafrost looking for artifacts.
After university, Bill went on more canoeing adventures in the far north.
He has traversed the Athabasca, Yukon, and Pelly Rivers.
His love for living close to the land never waned. His studies had given him more knowledge into the aboriginal philosophy of living in respectful harmony with nature. He longed to live in this manner.
In 1986, Bill moved up to the wilderness in central Alaska. He and his young wife Laura settled along the Wood River 100 miles south of Fairbanks and built a small log cabin with their own hands. They traveled by traditional dog sled, hunting and trapping for the meat and fur that would sustain them through the long winters.
Upon returning to Canada to start their family, Bill and his wife settled in a rural area outside of the province's capital city, Edmonton.
Like most cities in North America, Edmonton is spreading beyond suburban sprawl. There are a growing number of sub-rural communities of palatial homes surrounded by a few acres of land. Bill noticed a disturbing trend. These areas of rural and sub-rural development have a significant impact on the populations of many fur-bearing animals. Deprived of their natural predators beaver and other furbearers were growing out of control in a super habitat created by agriculture and development. As a result of this dramatic overpopulation, disease and starvation were taking their toll.
For years, Bill worked as a Wildlife Control Officer throughout Alberta in an attempt to humanely deal with the problem. From bears on the runway at the Edmonton International Airport to beavers creating dams and flooding farmland & Bill was the man that humanely trapped and expertly shot these animals that were out of place. He ensured their deaths were swift and painless & certainly with less suffering than if they were to die a natural death.
Thirteen years later, Bill charted a different course as a guide and outfitter, offering adventure eco-tours on his wilderness trap line in the Wood Buffalo region of northern Alberta. Clients from around the world and all walks of life experienced the unspoiled and pristine beauty of the northern boreal forest.
He discovered through his discourse with urban clients that there are many pervading misunderstandings about the delicate balance of nature within a wilderness setting. By educating his clients, Bill was able to demonstrate that humans have a critical role to play. The humane and responsible harvesting of furbearers; unlike logging, mining, oil and gas development has a positive effect on the eco-system and is sustainable indefinitely. Death is unavoidable for all living creatures, including ourselves. The life and death cycle of nature brings renewal for individual species, yet ecosystems need to be valued and respected by humans in there own right if they are to survive.
Bill discovered that most people, including fellow Canadians are unaware of the incredible depth and wisdom the Native peoples and others that live on the land process. They have respect for the land, for the animals, and a sense of responsibility and gratitude that can be best described as stewardship.
Bill is aware that these peoples find it increasingly difficult to live a traditional lifestyle and the bush culture of northern Canada is gravely threatened.
The fact that they have so much to teach the world about how to live as a human being in nature has yet to enter the popular consciousness.
In essence, we at Natural Canadian Fur Products are committed to respecting and implementing the wisdom of Canada's wilderness inhabitants and the growing expertise of wildlife biologists and conservationists in a synergistic and holistic business approach.
Aldo Leopold (1877-1949)
History of the Fur Trade in Canada
The history of Canada, and of Alberta in particular in inextricably linked to the fur trade. In fact, for first century and a half , the history of Alberta and of the fur trade are the same thing. European exploration into the Canadian west was due to the demand for the high quality furs that came out of Western Canada, especially Alberta.
The first peoples of Alberta consider animals to be superior to human beings in many ways. Unlike the human species, animals can understand the universal language spoken by trees, rivers, lakes, rocks and the rest of the natural world. They think that animals take pity on human hunters and present themselves so that their physical bodies can be utilized by the human community. All successful hunters are so because animals trust and admire their spirits and deeds. For this reason, the hunter has always been a man worthy of respect within the community. He is valued not only for the sustenance he provides, but also for the respect he has obviously earned from the animal community. Animals are spiritual guides because they are still connected to the Great Spirit. They are also merciful brothers and sisters because they sustain human existence by donating their flesh and bones ...and fur.
To the aboriginal, the animal spirit does not die with the body. It continues to exist and will be reborn in its original form once more if proper respect is shown to its spirit and body and proper attitude, intentions, and rituals are directed toward its flesh, body, and spirit.
Alberta's First Nations and the Fur Trade
The trading of furs is the oldest industry in Alberta. The abundance of top-quality furs in the province led a great trapping and hunting people, the Cree nation, to migrate westward out of their traditional lands and into Alberta to pursue the wealth of this trade. Even now, all of the cities in Alberta are built on sites that were once trading forts or posts for the fur trade.
Two large rival companies competed for the that were traded at the posts by the First Nations. There was the Northwest Company and The Hudson’s Bay Company. This time in early history is referred to as “the fur trade wars”. Eventually, it was settled and the two companies joined together to enjoy the incredible prosperity it brought both the Native peoples and the new European arrivals.
This mutually beneficial relationship continued all throughout the history of the fur trade. Aboriginal peoples were honored and respected for their inherent gifts. Most of the European men involved in the fur trade married aboriginal women and enjoyed close ties were her family and tribal groups. This union led to the formation of the great Metis nation of Canada…people who are half-aboriginal and half-European fur traders. They are a distinct and proud nation unto themselves and impacted Canadian culture and historical development enormously.
The Canadian Fur Industry