Lecture 2 September 16, 2010
which existed during the ice age in cold climates. At the end of the iceage,
temperatures began to warm. This warming brought about dramatic changes.
There were economic changes, and demographic change. Environmentally,
forests replaced the tundra (thin layer of treeless earth). Deer begin to replace
the caribou and fishing became common. As these environmental changes occur
and species begin to change the aboriginal communities were able to expand
their populations. More reliable sources of food which allowed for larger
populations to come into existence. In turn, these environmental and economic
changes brought about demographic changes. Populations expanded and
aboriginal groups in other areas were attracted to the region.
•Indigenous societies perceived as timeless, never progressing, by Eurocentric
mentalities when European settlers arrived in the New World and up until the
•Circa 1500, the population of the Americas was more than 100 million. This was
larger than the entire population of Western Europe. 500,000-2 million located
in Northern North America, with as many as 200,000 along the Pacific Coast
due to arable land, and disease were unknown. There were 50 different
linguistic categories and groups.
•Original settlement was described in various mythologies of the indigenous
populations, the Iroquois believed in a village in the sky with a large tree. A
woman in the village sought to see what was under the tree, so she dug and dug
until she fell into a hole and eventually landed in a pile of dirt which was North
America. A common denominator in all of these mythologies was that people
started in North America. These myths provided a sense of meaning, coherence
and societal connections.
•The consensus amongst scholars is that people of Asiatic origin arrived in the
Americas between 50,000 – 10,000 years ago. It is probable that they arrived by
way of Beringia (Bering Strait), a land-bridge which linked Russia and Alaska
during the last ice age.
•By the early 20th century, roughly 95% of the indigenous population of the
Americas was wiped out by various diseases brought over from European
settlers such as measles and smallpox.
•Major change took place geographically before the arrival of Europeans. The
Southern Ontario region was sparsely populated due to the lingering ice age.