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Lecture

we have lived here since the world began


Department
History
Course Code
HIS263Y1
Professor
Mc Kim/ Penfold

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Thursday September 16, 2010
‘We Have Lived Here Since the World Began’
Notion that indigenous/aboriginals inhabitants were primitive and unchanging
The opposite is true, rather they are complex and sophisticated – witnessed
considerable change over time
I. The way of the Land
Population c.1500:
Americas as a whole: as high as 100 M
Population in Americas as a whole Concentrated in warmer and more fertile
environment
Northern North America: 500, 000-2 M
Concentrated on the Pacific Coast
Original settlement
Beringia; Bering Strait
Aboriginal Myth: They originated here; they didn’t migrate here, but started here
They had been here sincethe beginning of time”
Myth: Aboriginal societies have origin stores/myths that groups tell themselves,
and from which they get a sense of meaning, purpose and communal coherence
Creation stories are important view the presence of the story of Aboriginal
peoples differently: the consensus is that people of Asia origin arrived in the
Americas between 50, 000 – 10,000 years ago. It is probably that they arrived
somehow by Beringiasome sort of walkway” connected Russia to Alaska
Within this population there was approximately 50 different linguistic groups
High populations in the pacific coast were also due to harmful diseases that were
entirely unknown; this would change with the arrival of permanent European
colonizers in the late 16th C
Impact of disease: measles, small pox
Diseases ravaged the populations. So devastating were these diseases that by the
early 20th C, as much as 95% had been eradicated.
The absence of people were caused by these diseases that dissemated the
indigenous population.
When the last ice age recedes (in Southern Ontario/western New York) was sparsely
populated. Due to the cold climates primarily relied on the hunting of caribou. As a result
of the end of the ice age temperatures began to warm. This warming brought about
dramatic change (environmental, economic, and demographic)
Forest replaced tundra (thin layer of treeless earth), deer began to replace caribou, and
fishing became common. As these environmental changes occurred, the aboriginal
communities began to expand their population as resources increased. In turn, these
environmental and economic changes brought about demographic changes
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