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SOC 605 - Week #4 Notes.docx

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Ryerson University
SOC 605
Kelly Train

History of Early Families in Canada 1) Precolonial Aboriginal Families • They were known as: 1) Foraging societies: • This was how they found their food (they were not farmers, or agriculturalists; They did not grow it themselves). • This is why they tried to limit the # of children they had. • It was common to practice in fantacide (killing their babies). • They believed that by having more children, they wouldn't be able to feed the entire community which meant that everybody would die of starvation. • In contrast, European families were extremely religious and believed that they must reproduce because "god intended them to." 2) Nomadic: • They were constantly moving around • They never stayed in one place because they needed to find food elsewhere 3) Kinordered: • There were about 40-50 people living in a single community • They were all extended family • Elders were the chiefs of the community (both men and women) • These societies were matriarichal, matrilocal, and matrilinacal • The elders were often reliant on the children • Children were treated with respect for this reason • The adults wanted to ensure that they were taken care of as elders • Family violence did not exist until colonization 4) Hunting + Gathering: Hunting = The man's role Gathering = The woman's role • Hunting was considered extremely dangerous, so women were not allowed to because if she was killed, the potential for future generations was also killed • Men only represented their own life • The women decided who got what in each community • If the men in the community made a decision about something that the women did not agree with, the women simply withheld food from them until they saw eye to eye • Precolonial families had a great amount of privledge, and power. They had the right to divorce their husbands, they had agency over their bodies and their sexuality, etc. 2) Aboriginal Families after Colonization • In Europe, women were expected to be weak, frail, and fragile • When European explorers, traders or merchants first showed up, they had no intention of actually settling here • In this early period, Europeans are not aware of what they are going to encounter in terms of their own survival • They relied on Aboriginal women to teach them how to survive in the community • The women took them under their wing, and showed them how to prevent scurvy, what to eat, etc • This is a period known as the policy of accomodation, which meant that aboriginals took care of the europeans by facilitating their survival in the new world • 1670: Hudson's Bay Company shows up, and starts trading • Settlements are beginning not with intention (they end up abandoning their wives and children in Europe, leaving them to starve to death and settle with Aboriginal women instead). • 1663: Louis Riel was looking at New France, and thinking: "This is horrible, what is happening to the french race.. They are becoming unpure. We need to fix this." • From 1663-1673, he orders the fille du roi (The King's Daughters or "Daughters of the Crown") • When you had daughters, and couldn't feed them, you dropped them off at Catholic orphanages • Louis emptied the orphanages of girls between the ages of 9 and 12, put them on boats and sent them to the new world • They arranged marriages for these young girls, and had husbands waiting for them overseas • People only lived till 28 and 30 during this time • European traders gave Aboriginal men a certain amount of power because they signed treaties with them • They could not convince Aboriginal women to convert to Christianity • The Aboriginal women were so resistant, that they ran away (they had no interest in doing this because it would not benefit them in any way) • To force Aboriginal women to convert, the Europeans made them beat their wives into submission • The 1876 Indian Act decided who had status, and who didn't • Status Indians meant that you would be entitled to land treaties, but to be a status Indian you had to have an Aboriginal father. They could not vote, go to University, purchase or drink alcohol • Alcohol was specifically introduced by Europeans to create social order and to steal from people • In the 1880s, there was the establishment of the reserve system: In lieu of the land's treaties, now specific lands were created for Aboriginal use only. This land was specifically picked because it was useless (not fertile, no potential for industry) • 1880s: Residential Scho
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