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HIST 124 (191)
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Queen's University
HIST 124

First Nations Confront the Newcomers  Many first nations absorbed only what they wanted to from the Europeans- mostly without losing any of their own culture Trade  Aboriginal cultures traded with each other  Alexander Mackenzie reaches BC first July 22 1793 but aboriginal people there had European goods already- had traded with other groups  Tradition that first aboriginal group that met another group they got to be the middle person- if someone tried to go behind their backs they did so at their peril  For trade to occur they established metaphorical trade relationships with the people they wanted to trade with- ex) the Huron’s called French brothers- way to show equality. In 18 c aboriginal group referred to Europeans as fathers (still meaning we are equals)- from the French culture this meant they were ultimate authority figures but in aboriginal cultures authority did not work this way  Before trading the aboriginals would gather for gift giving- the French governor had to come and have a big feast. The Huron’s did not want to lower themselves by trading in a another language so the Europeans had to learn aboriginal languages Disease  Disease was one of the most potent weapons of colonization  Smallpox, measles, cholera would decimate the aboriginal people  Cultural significance- it undermined some the confidence of aboriginals bc they would usually go to the Shamans but the shamans could not cure them but they could do nothing about it while European missionaries were able to cure them without getting sick Alcohol  Very negative effect on the aboriginal people  It effected the trading abilities of the aboriginals Religion  First nations people allowed the incursion of missionaries because in kin ordered social formation one of the pillars was the exchange of people- solidified alliances, so it made sense to the aboriginals  Did not realize that these missionaries were really for religious conversion  Not just a religious revolution but also one that is undermining key elements of kin ordered social formation- priest would come and control the entire group, and would not allow an elected leader  There was of course some aboriginal resistance  Were forced to change domestic relations, community organization, government- needed to do it in line with the way the English did it and then they would be saved  Aboriginals were not happy with this- only about 500 aboriginals people became protestants  The French were more successful with their conversion- develop outlook that Christianizing aboriginals could accept some parts of aboriginal cultures- for example their semi-nomadic lifestyle was accepted. Jesuits lived with them in such a way that they were completely dependent on them for food and provisions  Even though they accepted many aspects of aboriginal life doesn’t mean they were completely flexible on their way of life- reeducated converts to believe that two- spirited people (shamans) were unholy people.  Begins long process of which aboriginals began to turn their backs on two-spirited peoples  Aboriginals believed there was no separation between body and soul but now Europeans were saying that soul could go to heaven or hell- that would take centuries
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