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HISB40H3 (73)

Lecture 1

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Jason D Azoulay

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 2 ndto 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 north • 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 way • Main unit of social organization was the band • 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 ○ Complex ○ 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 territory  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 governments) i. Great Plains • Prairies • 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 ○ Clothing, shelter, tools ○ Social status was closely tied to the buffalo ○ Buffalo hunts- 50-100 hunters ○ Direct buffalo into compounds and spear them within these ○ Or drive buffalo over cliffs (buffalo jumps) i. Northwestern coastal • B.C.- nootka/haida/ salish • Relied on salmon fishing for survival • Lots of wood at their disposal ○ Homes were impressive ○ Large structures made of cedar planks, supported by wooden beams • Largest and more elaborate canoes ○ Could hold up to 70 people ○ As long as any European sailing ship • Skilled and sophisticated group • Highly developed material culture • Complexity of social structure • Hierarchal social system ○ Divided by class/ rank ○ Chiefs at the top- like Kings they inherited their positions and justified their position by claiming divine right ○ Commoners ○ Slaves- other natives captured during warfare • More affluent, sophisticated and more hierarchal i. Artic/subartic • Inhuit/ dene/ cree/ Ojibwa • Harsh climate- little vegetation • Native population was small and widely scattered • Highly nomadic- more than any other group ○ Constantly searching for food ○ Big game- caribou, polar bear, sea animals ○ Inhuit- whales and seals  Called Eskimo- eater of small fish • Engaged in trade with tribes to the south • Politically least organized of all native groups in Canada • Lived in small bands linked by family ti
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