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Lecture 1

NO201 - Week 1 .docx


Department
North American Studies
Course Code
NO201
Professor
Debra Nash- Chambers
Lecture
1

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September 9th 2014
NO201 - Geography, Public Policy and the Canadian American
Borderlands
Canadian First Nations, the West and the Canadian American Borderlands
Canadians and Americans have an overly romanticized myth of the West
Saw it as virtually an empty space that offered ownership and wealth
Saw the West as critical to their nations destinies
Introduction
Reality: American West was inhabited by Natives and much of the terrority was
captured by Mexico
Canadian West was inhabited by Natives
First Nations have been in the area for 12,000 years
Believed Natives came from different parts of Asia
Others think they crossed over from foot during the last ice age from Asia
Those in Inuit were the last to arrive
Context
Large scale migrations occurred along coastal areas
Seasonal migrations started to take place
Among first people in Canada – Iroquois, Huron, related tribes in Southern ON,
were only indigenous farming cultures (Great Lakes Region)
First Nations developed trading alliances and trading patterns
Created distinct cultures and each was based on adaptation to different Canadian
environments
Had complex governments structures with councils of elders
Decisions were made by consensus
Recognized each other as independent nations – made friendships treaties and
military alliances with one another
Cultural groups characterized by distinctive housing, weapons, clothing,
transportation, tools
Developed own ceremonies and own creative stories
Oral Cultures
A cultures stories taught respect for nature, the Great Spirit and spirits inhabiting
the land and animals
Geography
Helps provide diversity, size and distribution of Aboriginals across Canadian
regions
Language today
Tend to use their own language in schooling, broadcasting and other
communication services and as a result are likely to stay more self-sufficient
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