Pelts were once the backbone of the Canadian and American economies, long before Canada and America were nations. Pelts are the furry skins of small mammals. People in Europe had an insatiable thirst for pelts, for making into hats and muffs and other such things. Many of the large cities in Canada and America had their start as fur trader outposts. This photo of pelts is of Fort Stanwix, Rome, NY.