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HISB40H3 Lecture Notes - Bering Strait, Walled Villages Of Hong Kong, Sailing Ship

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Jason D Azoulay

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HISB40- Monday, September 12, 2011
Lecture 1- The First Canadians
a. Origins
People lived on these lands 10000 years prior to Columbus
1492- believed that is when North American history began
Aboriginals were ignored- viewed as less and uncivilized
E.g. textbooks would began by discussing European conquests to
Americas and only mention natives briefly
Columbus 2nd to discover- Vikings were here first
Canadian history did not begin in 1492 but began with the aboriginals
15000-10 000 years ago first inhabitants
Origins were unclear
Argue that they have always been here
Spiritual phenomenon
E.g. Iroquois claim their ancestors fell through a hole in the sky
onto a turtle
Explanation by historians- aboriginals came from asia (Siberia)
crossed at the Bering strait around the year 10 000 B.C.
Made their way down the coast of north America because of glaciers in
As they melted they moved back north and inland
Glaciers melting caused the bering strait to melt and cut off migration
through that passageway
What do we know about early native societies?
a. Aboriginal societies
Diverse group- in terms of languages and lifestyles
Hundreds of native languages and dialects
That’s why they have been grouped based on languages
Problem is that many native groups that spoke the same language
lived different lifestyles
Classification based on language was not helpful
More common way to classify is by geography
i. Northeastern Woodlands (Algonquian and Iroquoian)
Largest group
two main linguistic groups
Algonquian- miq maq, montane, etc
Survived on hunting and fishing
Nomadic lifestyle
Due to nomadic lifestyle- they were not united politically in any
Main unit of social organization was the band

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Members of bands were linked by family ties
This was the extent of social organization however
Iroquoian- included huron and Iroquois
Lived south of Georgian bay and south of lake Ontario
Ontario= beautiful, large lake in Iroquoian
Land was less harsh- therefore less nomadic
Relied on agriculture for survival
“Ontario’s first farmers”
Native women did most of this farming and had most of the
power in their society
Elderly women elected chiefs of the band
Had power over matters of war and peace
Matriarchal society
Lived a more settled lifestyle based on farming
Lived in longhouses- contained 6-8 families (barrack like)
Within walled villages that contained 2000 people or more
Stable food supply meant that they were more numerous- had
food to sustain a larger population
Higher degree of political organization
Each village native households were organized into clans
Leader of each clan sat on a village council
Settled disputes and organize community
celebrations or projects
All villages constituted a tribe- controlled a particular
Run by a tribal council- made up of the chiefs of the
village councils (regional government)
Some tribes joined together into leagues
League councils would meet bi-yearly (provincial
i. Great Plains
Dakota/ blackfoot/ Assiniboine
Spoke different languages but engaged in similar activities
E.g. hunting
Northern- travelled in small bands
Southern plains- lifestyle centered around life of buffalo/bison
All necessities of life came from this animal
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