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HIST2500 TERM ONE.docx

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York University
HIST 2500
Dan Azoulay

HIST2500 Lecture OutlinesTerm 1thMay 5 2014The First Canadians1 Introduction Debunking the Columbus myth2 The First Canadians First Canadians are the original residences of Canada Controversy of Chris Columbus discovery of the new world 1492forget that Columbus as important as his voyage was he was not the first person to discover the Americas People had been living on these continents but assumed human civilization in the new world began in 1492 because historians ignored the aboriginals because they considered them to be savages less than human First chapters in textbooks are about European explorers in the 15001600s and only refer to native through their interactions with those settlers Columbus wasnt even the second the Vikings of Scandinavia landed in present day Newfoundland and Labrador Canadian history does not begin in 1492 but the aboriginals or the first Canadiansa Origins First inhabitants 1015 thousand years ago but not sure where they came from Iroquois claim their ancestors fell through a hole in the sky and landed on a giant turtle Current consensus is that aboriginals originated somewhere in Asia probably Siberia and crossed to North America across the Behring strait around 12 thousand years ago Behring strait is a large body of water that separates Russia and Alaska huge glaciers of ice made settlement in North American impossible when the glaciers melted the aboriginals started to move northwards and inland from South Asiab Aboriginal Societies Canadian natives are in a diverse grouplanguages lifestylesso we classify natives by geography Main native groups by Columbus time categorized by where theyre from lifestyles then languagesiNortheastern Woodlands Algonquian and Iroquoian Largest aboriginal group covering the eastern half of Canada consisted of two main linguistic groups1 Algonquin speaking natives Mikmaq Boethuk Montagnais Founded in the Maritimes and northern parts of Ontario and survived mainly on hunting and fishing Lived a nomadic lifestyle and never stayed in one place but following their food source migration patterns animals and no permanent settlements Not organized politically in anyway as it was not practical since they were always on the move so the main unit of politicalsocial organization were bands or family ties lived in portable tents called wigwams2 Iroquoians speaking natives Huron Iroquois south of Lake OntarioSt Lawrencepresent day New York StateOntario means beautiful in Iroquoian Air and climate was less harsh then the north east so the Iroquoians were less nomadic and relied on agriculture for survival since they had better conditions for soil and temperature corn beans squash tobacco and were Ontarios first farmers Lived in longhouses containing 68 families and villages could contain up to 2000 people surrounded by fields of corn like a gated community Stable food supply meant there were more numbers larger population as they had the food to sustain them Higher degree of political organizations with a complex political system not like present dayin each village each household was organized by clans according to familyblood ties and the leader would sit on a village council that would be presided over by a chief not like city councils presided by a mayor these village councils would settle disputes amongst natives Villages were organized in tribesConfederacyLeaguetribe 1 tribe 2 tribe 3Tribal Councilvillage 1 village 2 village 3Village Councilclan 1 clan 2 clan 3iiGreat Plains Located on the prairies and included Dakota Blackfoot Assiniboine and spoke different languages but had similar lifestyles hunting and fishing Northern plain Indians was centered around moose caribous Southern plain Indians was centered around the movement of buffalos and necessities came from buffalo clothing tools food teepees status such as the material brought from the buffalo huntsAnnual buffalo hunts50100 hunters on foot disguised as buffalo who would lure buffalo into compounds or over cliffs known as buffalo jumpsiiiNorthwestern Coastal Lived along the west coast and the interior of present day British Columbia Noothka Haida Salish Relied on salmon fishing for survival did some hunting and had tons of wood in their disposal so their homes were quite impressive compared to other groups in Canada had canoes held up to 70 people and were as long as European sailing ships at the time Very skilled and sophisticated groups and were affluent but distinct feature was their complexity of social structure others had simple or egalitarian social structure where everyone enjoyed same social status power wealth Coastal natives were divided by class and ranktop were noblemen or chiefs decide how goods were distributed to the community inherited their positions claimed they were chosen by the gods w the divine right to rule beneath were other wealthy families usually related to the kind beneath was commoners beneath were slaves natives had captured in warsivArcticsubarctic Inuit Dene Cree Oijbwanorth region is a harsh and unforgiving place cold climate the native population is small and widely scattered Highly nomadic natives following migration patterns of caribou polar bears Inuit relied on whales and seals for their survival and derogatory called Eskimos by the Europeans obtained food not able to grow they engaged in trade w tribes in the south trade fish and meat to northeastern woodlands who would sell them corn or squash For fuel no wood around in arctic they would use bone marrow of caribou they caughtthis group of natives had to be resourceful Least organized groups politically and socially and lived in small bands through family ties and spent most of the year following their food source occasionally slowing down w other bands for ceremonies or discussionc Native culture Less clear on native attitudes and beliefs mainly because natives left no written records occasional petroglyph as it was an oral culture and customs and beliefs were passed on to generations by elders of the native community What little we know is by the observations of European explorers and missionaries and fur traders but these people only observed the natives for less periods of times and were usually bias in their observations as native rituals were foreign to white Europeans and were considered barbaric and were animals acting on instinctsNative culture was not understood by Europeans and were hardly able to be judgmental as most Europeans still ate w their fingers bathed as seldom as possible and enjoyed amusement such as bear baiting hereticsnon conformistswere being tortured witches were being burned at the stake and thousands were being executed for their beliefs watching blind men beat each other in cages to the deathso very ironic that natives were accused to be savages Despite the bias and hypocrisy of European observers we do know a few things were as religious and spiritual as Europeans believed events on earth were controlled by many higher beings and spiritssnow storms by blowing thunder by running across the sky some spirits were evil however white Europeans were monotheistic and a god incapable of evil Natives believed all living things had souls or spirits that left the body when they died and could be reincarnated in another form spirits could be good and evil everything had to be treated w respect even nature or they could be reincarnated to other form and take revenge As a result of this belief Indians did not kills for sport or profit they only took what they needed from the land and made sure to show their gratitude to the spirits through religious rituals If proper religious rituals were not observed such as harvest time natives believed there would be widespread crop failure nonmaterialistic and did not seek to accumulate and practicality as most natives were nomadic and had to carry their possessions w them natives were communal minded and did not place on individual gain and wellbeing above the community and believed in sharing possessions and helping one another no poverty in native communities giving gifts and possessions
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