Exam Review Package
Indigenous Studies 3J03
January 31, 2014 Hannah Radford
January 31, 2014: “The Charge of Manslaughter”: Disease and Death, 1879-1946
J. S. Milloy
About the Author
John S. Milloy is a professor in the departments of Native Studies and History,
and Master of Peter Robinson College, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. The
chapter we are reading is from his book, A National Crime: The Canadian Government
and Residential School System, 1879-1986 which was published in 1999.
From the very beginning of the residential school system there was a blatant
disregard for the basic care and well-being of students. The Canadian Government’s
persistent underfunding of the program resulted in poorly constructed schools that were
also inadequately maintained throughout their existence. The ability of the schools to
complete their mission of “parenting” and civilizing children were undermined because
close to half of children that went through the system died as a result of unnecessary
exposure to tuberculosis. Shamefully, the government and church officials were
completely aware of the alarming conditions in which the schools and children were in,
but all failed to institute any meaningful reforms. “The devastation that the white plague
brought to the children in the schools and through their deaths to their parents and
communities drew out the fundamental contradiction between the persistent cruelty of
the system and the discourse of duty…” (p. 101).
i. Unmitigated Tuberculosis Epidemic
Although at the time this disease also plagued the non-indigenous population,
Aboriginal children were disproportionately affected and had higher death rates in
contrast to non-aboriginal people within Canada. The author attributes these higher
death rates to several factors: the overcrowding of schools, unclean and poorly
constructed facilities, especially the lack of proper ventilation systems, malnutrition
and improper diet, and deprivation of their cultures and indigenous ways of life. Children
already infected with tuberculosis were regularly permitted to enter into the school
system and proper containment procedures to prevent the spread of the disease were
i. Poorly Constructed Schools Built on Improper Sites and Inadequate
1 From the very beginning, the majority of schools were never properly constructed in
such a way as to permit students to maintain an adequate level of health. Church
officials running the schools consistently complained of the inadequacy of the facilities.
Although there may have been an effort on the part of these missionaries, the schools
themselves were so poorly flawed that this posed an almost impossible barrier to the
proper care of indigenous children.
i. Government Neglect, Apathy, and the “Discourse of Duty”
The Canadian Government created the residential school system to bring civilization
to “Indian” people. They were supposed to take on a caring and educating role that
would contribute to the development of children who would take on Western identities
and leave behind their indigenous ones. The attempt to assimilate these children into
broader Canadian society was the objective of the policy, however the government
failed to actually create a climate in which this goal was possible. Furthermore, and
although they took on a role of caregiver entirely because they chose to do so, it is
obvious that this policy of responsibility for the wellbeing of the children was simply a
façade. It did not matter what happened to these children because the government did
not want to help or care for these children; they simply wanted to ‘get rid of the Indian
i. Inhumane Treatment, Degradation, and Psychological Trauma
It is estimated that up to half of all children in attendance during this time period died
while attending or shortly after leaving the institutions. Living conditions at the schools
were beyond deplorable. Buildings were dilapidated and designed without the physical
or psychological health of the children in mind. The shock of being deprived of their
traditional languages, cultures, and access to the natural world led to their
demoralization and could have possibly contributed to their death in some cases. Even
when children were very ill from tuberculosis they were still forced to attend classes,
regardless of the fact that they would likely die before becoming “civilized”.
i. Government funding
Money plays a big role in why children were subjected to this horrible fate. The
government cut corners in every way in order to save money and this was especially
true during times of economic difficulty such as World War One. Furthermore, principals
were encouraged to increase enrollment in schools as much as possible. This was
because of the system in place that allotted funds based on the number of students in
attendance. This often led to the admittance of ill children in order to receive the largest
amount of government funding. Had schools been properly funded, they might have
been constructed properly and adequately maintained, leading to better health
outcomes for children.
i. What could some of the possible reasons be for the inaction of the government,
churches and broader society when made aware of the issue (outside of the
reasons already mentioned)?
2 ii. What does this look at residential schools tell us about the role of the Canadian
government as guardian of the indigenous population?
iii.How do we think that the survivors of these schools viewed Canadian society
and the government? What impacts would they have had on their communities
February 11, 2014
The Beginnings of Political Organization:
Themes from this chapter:
● resistance to policies of the Indian Act, by First Nations
● political organization of the First Nations
● North American Indian Brotherhood
● The Hawthorne Report
● National Indian Council
● Andrew Paull
● Peter Kelly
● Lieutenant F.O. Loft: veteran of the Great war, who held meeting to establish a league of
indians of canada at sault ste marie
● Edward Ahenakew
Key Concepts: What lead to their political organization
● The failure of residential schools began to be noticed by the people of the “Bible and the
Plough”. Quote and the aboriginal population began to decrease due to a poor diet,
conditions in residential schools and tuberculosis
● However, very suddenly in the 1930s, aboriginal population began to increase. This
increase in population meant two things:
○ 1. Indian policy to destroy aboriginal people was not working
○ 2. the Indians were becoming too expensive for the government and revising the
indian policy was inevitable
● The beginning of aboriginal organization and resistance, began with BC, formation of
groups such as:
○ Indian Tribes of the Province of British Columbia
○ The Nisga'a Land Committee
● Interference by Indian Agents only strengthened resistance
● Their role in both world wars to not only encourage resistance to federal policy that
oppressed them, but also to demonstrate their contribution to Canadian society.
● The leaders of the western Indians were Christian converts from residential schools.
Indians began to ask for freedom of religion, since Canada claims to be religiously
3 ○ *Q. Do you think that because these leaders were Christian converts from
residential schools, their religion and educations actually HELPED the
● The government's mistakes in trying to crack down on indian resistance only
strengthened it. Ex. The transfer of jurisdiction of crown lands from Ottawa to the three
prairie provinces actually worsened conditions for Indians. This is turhardened their
resolve to become politically organized and fight back.
○ *Q. Do you think had the government not tried to pull the wool over the eyes of
the prairie Indians that the Indians would not have fought back as hard?
The Role of WWII:
● World War II saw Indians again voluntarily enlisting. As well, the racial superiority and
genocide happening in Europe made many Canadians look at their treatment of the
Indians and draw parallels.
● This was the beginning of public opinion changing towards the Indians.
● Unfortunately, the beginning of public opinion change was very slow. In 1948 a
committee that actually met and consulter with indian groups recommended a
completely revision of the Indian Act. In this revision of the Indian Act, forceful and
coercive measures were to be removed. However, the committee assumed that
assimilation was still advancing and little actually changed.
● In the 1950s & 1960s economic boom from the exploration of raw materials saw a
change in attitudes when they saw the traditional ways many tribes were still living. A
greater appreciation for traditional economy
The Trudeau Era:
● The Hawthorne Report, “Indians actually deserve better treatment from Ottawa than
other Canadians. Because of their Aboriginal title and treaty rights they should be treated
as 'citizens plus'”.
● At the end of Pearson's administration, he committed the government to revise the
Indian Act after an elaborate consultation with Indian Organizations.
● 1969: The White Paper
The Meaning of Aboriginal Title
By: Kent McNeil
By Nicola Colterjohn
“The Aboriginal people of Canada have a legal right to those ancestral lands where their title
has been neither surrendered nor validly extinguished.” – Supreme Court of Canada
The question that remains is what do those rights include?
The Source of Aboriginal Title:
The Supreme Court has stated that Aboriginal title to land was not brought into effect by any
legislative act and it was a legal right that existed prior to colonization by the Europeans. This
indicates that their right to their land was not derived from any legal systems imposed by the
4 Europeans. However, despite this, there have been many conflicting opinions on the origin of
Aboriginal Title. This is an important issue as the determination of the source of Aboriginal Title
will help provide an understanding of the nature and content of aboriginal title.
This Article shares two main opinions on the debate of the source of Title:
v Aboriginal title is a legal right that is derived from the historical occupation and possession
of the land at the time the Crown acquired sovereignty
Ø This essentially means that Aboriginal people have a legal right to the land due to the fact that
they were there first
v Aboriginal title is awarded only if there is evidence of an organized society with Aboriginal
law stating ownership of the land at the time the Crown acquired sovereignty
Ø This states that the Aboriginal people must have had proof of legal systems in place that
governed land holdings
These two opinions form a second argument:
Was Aboriginal title created by the common law at the time of sovereignty or did it exist prior to
colonization as an entitlement arising from Aboriginal practices, customs, and traditions, and
was merely taken up and affirmed by the common law.
Justice Lambert was of the opinion that Aboriginal title existed prior to sovereignty and that the
introduction of the common law was to give them recognition and additional protection. He also
cautioned against using the word ‘right’ as it was a European term and he felt it was
inappropriate to use it to define Aboriginal rights.
Sui generis – is a Latin phrase meaning “of its own kind”, this was how Justice Lambert
referred to Aboriginal title
Though there are many conflicting opinions on the source of Aboriginal Title, no conclusion has
been reached in this article.
However, the Canadian Courts so far have chosen to not necessitate proof of specific Aboriginal
Laws and Customs to establish Aboriginal Title and have instead chosen to use occupation and
use of the land by an organized Aboriginal society.
The Nature and Content of Aboriginal Title
The Definition of Aboriginal Title remains unclear. In the case of St Catherine’s Milling and
Lumber Company vs The Queen, the Canadian government stated that “Aboriginal title
amounted to a complete proprietary interest, limited only by a restriction on alienation other than
by surrender to the crown”. Though the courts failed to determine what rights the complete
proprietary interest entails.
The main arguments here however are:
1. Whether the rights to the lands (while still inalienable other than surrender to the Crown)
should include the complete benefit to them, including both surface and subsurface rights
a. This view is consistent with the idea that Aboriginal Title is “a legal right derived
from the Indians’ historic occupational and possession of their tribal lands”.
Therefore, what is done with the land should depend on possession, not on the
specific uses to which the land is put
2. The second view is that Aboriginal title should only include rights that practice what was an
integral part of their culture at the time of sovereignty
5 a. This means that practices that had not been integral to the society and its
distinctive culture at the time of sovereignty, but which became prevalent due to
European influences would not qualify for protection as an Aboriginal right
This second view severely restricts Aboriginal rights as it does not allow any change in
Aboriginal practices since the time of sovereignty. It essentially requires Aboriginal people to
remain in the same state as the mid 1850s and does not allow for any cultural growth. This is a
hugely oppressive idea. It restricts the Aboriginal people from adapting their use of the land to
meet any sort of changes in society. Due to this, the Aboriginal people would most likely
eventually be forced to assimilate into the Canadian population. Though the article argues that
not every single act performed by an Aboriginal person can be defined as an Aboriginal right, a
balance between Aboriginal culture and modern practices must be found.
The Article concludes by saying “The better approach, therefore, is to define Aboriginal title as
an all-encompassing interest which is not limited to precolonial use of the land. This approach
accords with common law principles, avoids discrimination, and provides the Aboriginal people
with the opportunity to develop their lands in ways that meet the contemporary needs of their
1. Do you feel Aboriginal Tiltle existed prior to sovereignty? Is it inappropriate to expect proof of
some sort of legal system governing land ownership?
2. Which of the two views do you feel is more prevalent in today’s society? Are aboriginal rights to
their own land still very restricted? How has this changed?
March 9, 2014 Alfred and
Corntassel Being Indigenous: Resurgence against Contemporary Colonialism
● Post-Modern Imperialism - a policy of extending a country's power and influence
through diplomacy or military force.
● Colonial Discourse - Has discourse or communication that revolves around the
phenomenon of colonialism.
● Aboriginal - Is a state contracted identity of Indigenous peoples. It further integrates
indigenous people into state socio-political culture, practically consuming it.
● Zones of Refuge - Areas that are free of any political economic control of the state and
are strictly First Nations. Areas that are immune to the reaches of imperialism and
● Indigenism - Mobilization of Indigenous people in globe forums as they resist
encroachment by the state. Plays on victimology
● Ethnonationalist - refers to a particular strain of nationalism that is marked by the desire
of an ethnic community to have absolute authority over its own political, economic, and
social affairs. Therefore, it denotes the pursuit of statehood on the part of an ethnic
6 ● Peoplehood - a group of people that are bound together through land, spirituality,
language and sacred History [“without these factors you will cease to exist”] as a peoples
● Domestication of Indigenous issues
● Forced Federalism Vs. Confederacy
This paper is a mandate teaching people how to identify oppressive and assimilative
modern state colonialism and how to to reclaim nation-hood...
Alfred and Corntassel begin by discussion colonial legacy: through systematic assimilation of
“peoples” vs overt genocide
1. One of the ways in which this assimilation takes place is the state imposes concepts of
indigenous identity which are rooted in the culture of the state not as a practice of justice
for ethnic groups in attempt to gradually subsume Indigenous existences into its own
2. ‘Being aboriginal is being abnormal to the state’moving from cultural identity to a socio-
political identity constructed by the state “greatest assault” according toAlfred
3. Furthermore, forfeiting land and sovereignty is an inherit aspect to being indigenous
according to the state
Alfred believes ethnonationalist need to reclaim their identity avoiding
● Steps that put Indigenous culture at risk
○ We are you agenda
○ vote to legitimize economic development = state, new communities, agree to
avoid military repercussions
● Indigenism: accepting the victim role
Foundation of Resistance
● There must be leaders that pursue the truth
● Indigenous resistance is through unity.“Battles occurring amongst ourselves distract us
from the bigger picture of decolonization.”
● “Change through systems truly traditional and not mimik of state like institutions. What
we need is a cultural leave us alone agreement in spirit and fact” zones of refuge
● Strong families
● Grounding in community
7 ● Connecting to: land, language, storytelling and spirituality
Solutions to becoming Ethnonationalist or Radical Indigenism
● Use your own language
● Connect to the land
● Improve spiritual bond
● Knowdedge of history
● Decolonize diet
Domestication of Indigenous Issues and force federalism leads to non-indigenous governments
to encroached on Indigenous issues in the United States (USAcasino example).Are the lines so
black and white? Alfred suggests that this is problematic but fails to provide a suitable alternative
other than complete rejections and discoperation. Does this mean Indigenous people should go
back to living off the land as they did traditionally, hunting, fishing, so forth?
What would be the repercussions of not voting?
Are indigenous peoples really that passive to allow the state to recreate their identity or was the
identity adapted from Indigenous peoples? Do you agree or disagree withAlfred?
What are your thoughts on howAlfred would respond to the UNDRIP? (systemically being
controlled by the elite)
Should all indigenous people come together? is that their responsibility? Alfred/Corntassel say
“battles occurring amongst ourselves distract us from the bigger picture of decolonization.” Does
this include mothers/women not reporting domestic abuse or absent fathers to protect the image
of the community?
March 11-14th Hannah Radford
Frances Abele, “Northern Development: Past, Present and Future”
Frances Abele is a very well established academic, currently teaching and completing research.
She is based out of Carleton University. Her work focuses on the North of Canada, the
indigenous peoples who live there, and Canadian public policy.
Northern Development: Past, Present and Future
Historical Relationship between Northern Indigenous peoples and Canadian State:
Initial Pattern of Development
8 ● During this period there was limited contact between Northern indigenous
peoples and outsiders. Development and mineral exploitation occurred but its
impact was fairly minimal. It was the indigenous peoples who generally had the
upper hand as it was impossible for non-locals to survive in the harsh climate of
the North without the help of the locals. Federal government presence is highly
limited and its authority over or care for indigenous peoples is questionable.
Resource Frontier and Aboriginal Homeland (1941-1970s)
● Due to the ideals, needs, and policies that emerged from the Second World War,
the presence of the Federal government in the North increased dramatically. This
occurred on three major fronts:
1. The creation of the welfare state- providing social necessities such
as healthcare and education.
2. Protecting the Country from outside attack- the need to assert and
maintain territorial sovereignty. Army situates itself during WWII and
stay afterwards due to the supposed threat of Russian invasion.
3. Maintaining and strengthening the war effort- extracting minerals
and energy necessary. The construction of pipelines, roads and
other developments have major impact on most indigenous
communities and traditional ways of life.
● Greater contact with non-locals and their ways of life leads to health problems.
The attempt to offer social services to Aboriginals was accompanied by their
resettlement. Resettlement allowed for the government to offer these services
more effectively. These changes brought about serious challenges to traditional
ways of living and threatened to erode cultural and spiritual values. Introduction
of new technologies altered the indigenous peoples’ relationship to the land.
● This period also saw an increase in the drive to exploit resources and develop
the North. “For the North’s Aboriginal peoples, northern resource development
often meant disruption, relocation and the loss of lands important for subsistence
and for spiritual well-being. The opening of mines and associated roads and
airstrips further reduced the isolation of Aboriginal communities. Settlements
were relocated to make way for these projects, while hunting and trapping was
disrupted in many more areas. Employment opportunities drew some local
interest but an anticipated northern Aboriginal labour force on the model of that of
southern Canada did not emerge” (p. 27).
Responsible and Representative Governments
● World War Two brought significant numbers of new comers to the North for
military and other activities mentioned above and these newcomers came
equipped with all the necessary articles and methods for survival. The indigenous
populations, that would have originally had the upper hand because they ensured
survival in the harsh climate, became largely irrelevant. “They (the newcomers)
9 required little from northern Aboriginal peoples other than that they get out of the
way” (p. 31).
Political and Economic Reforms after 1970
● It came as a surprise to non-northern people that Northern aboriginal peoples
would develop any collaborative political response to further attempts to develop
the North. The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline was the project which acted as a
catalyst for the politicization of these indigenous groups, who were adamant that
the project not go forward. All over the North, Indigenous groups began to
organize and to create political associations to represent their needs and
aspirations. In fact, between 1968-1973 all groups had created organizations for
● Consequences of this activism include:
■ The recognition of aboriginal rights
■ Securing of benefits from proposed development
■ Treaty negotiations were reopened for areas of Canada that had
not yet dealt with them
■ The entrenchment of Aboriginal Rights in the Constitution Act, 1982
■ A redesign of Northern political boundaries and institutions,
including the very practice of Canadian federalism (in relation to the
● Political institutions that better serve the needs of indigenous peoples in the north
The New Northern Landscape
● Due to the need to form organizations and new political structures, indigenous
peoples in the north now possess structures that enable them to have much
more effective control over their own territories
■ However, there are of course issues present:
■ Issues with successful and meaningful implementation of modern
■ Federal control over resource development is still very strong
Major Themes and Concepts
1. Strategic importance of the North to Canada
2. Natural Resource Extraction
10 3. Changing historical relationship between Canadian state and Aboriginal peoples
of the North due to increased pressure from the State to develop lands and
encroach on territories of indigenous peoples
4. Economic activity pursued by Canada entirely based on natural resource
5. Resistance of indigenous peoples to unmitigated natural resource exploitation
6. But, overall inability of indigenous peoples to control and prevent development
even with treaties, agreements and greater political autonomy
7. Importance of mixed economy allows indigenous peoples to integrate traditional
lifestyles and economic pursuits with “modern” ones being introduced through
development and exploration. It is adaptive and practical.
8. Overall integration of indigenous and non-indigenous political systems,
economic pursuits, and ways of life
9. Issues with sustainability of develop and government funding of northern
10.The complexity of the economy of the North means that creating sound policies
and institutions poses a challenge
The two key themes that we should take away from this reading are :
1) Changing historical relationship between Canadian state and Aboriginal peoples of
the North due to increased pressure from the State to develop lands and encroach on
territories of indigenous peoples… (this relationship will likely continue to change as
new natural resources are discovered and extracted…)
2) Importance of mixed economy allows indigenous peoples to integrate traditional
lifestyles and economic pursuits with “modern” ones being introduced through
development and exploration. It is adaptive and practical. (This is one possible way to
protect the survival of indigenous cultures in the climate of accelerated resource
development and increased external pressure to integrate into the canadian/global
March 18th, 2014 Bryn Sutherland
Except from “Fantasies of the Master Race”
1. Indians as a creature of time and place
2. Seen one Indian seen 'em all
3. The only good indian..
4. Voice of the voiceless & Those cavaliers in buckskin
5. Ravages by savages & Lust in the Dust
6. Cowboys and Indians
11 Indians as a Creature of Time and Place:
● This article makes two points about time and place
● A.) That western movies use plains and western areas as backdrops with no hints of
● B.) Setting movies in plains or western areas but then having the Indian tribe being from
eastern USA, etc.
Seen one Indian seen 'em all:
● Western movies mixing Indian cultures, “Florida Everglades-dwelling seminoles wearing
Plains feathered bonnets and battling bluecoated cavalry on desert buttes.”
● “Lakotas depicted in the film should wear an array of hairstyles rangthose typical
of Assiniboin to those of their mortal enemies thCrows. Their tipi design and
decoration is also of a sort unique to Crows. Bout the only thing genuinely Sioux about
these supposed Sioux is the name and even there there is absolutely no indication
as to which Sioux they are suppose to be” (107).
● Creation of this vacuum has, in turn, allowed filmmakers to figuratively reconstruct native
culture (s) in accordance with their own biases, preconceptions, or sense of expediency
● The article discusses how in movies, Indians were taught how to cultivate cofrom
● This continued the narrative that Indians could not be civilized becacivilized
people do not now how to cultivate and have agriculture.
The Only Good Indian:
● Good Indians vs. Bad Indians
○ Good Indians help European people
○ Bad Indians resist European people
● Five or six Indians die by one bullet.
● Lone Ranger
○ critique of the newest Lone Ranger: “Bailey notes that, despite Depp's lip service
to a Tonto who would break with tradition, the character as played still "maintains
the most culturally damaging element of the role, his definite article-free dialogue,
with lines like, 'Do not touch rock. Rock cursed.'" Bailey describes the plot
line of The Lone Ranger as a narrative that has been "twisted ... into pretzels" to
try not to be racist -- and yet still is. The entire concept of the Lone Ranger and
Tonto -- a team up that was historically unlikely, to put it mildly -- might just be
Voices of the Voiceless & Those Cavaliers in Buckskin
● Either gave a voice to Indians in movies that was made up gibberish, or were
● The lack of having a voice, continues the narrative that Indians were uncivilized.
● Another perception is that Indians picked fights with settlers.
○ Ex. a film The Indian Wars Refought, depicted defenceless Lakotas had
themselves “picked a fight” with the hundreds of well-armed soldiers surrounding
12 them. The Indians has thus brought their fate upon themselves, so the story
went, the troopers having “had no choice” but to defend themselves.”
● The sympathetic idea that there were good and bad guys on either side.
Ravages by Savages & Lust in the Dust
● Indian men could not control their urges to rape women, especially white women.
● Indian men would rape white women, while Indian women were objects for white men.
● Also the narrative that Indian men could not control their urges was another
justification for attacking and trying to extinguish the Indian problem, if not, they
would rape and kill your wives and daughters.
● Modern example, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, the Indian character Cloud
Dancing's son sacrificing himself to save the white heroine from being raped and
murdered by Dog Solider Renegades. Not only enforcing the gender and sex roles but
also reinforcing the idea of the “good indian”.
● The idea of “halfbreeds”. Better than full Indians but still less than white people. “Injuin
blood aint in me for nothing” as an excusefor evil deeds. The Indian half is the “evil
Cowboys and Indians:
● the idea that “Euroamerican cinema's defending aestheticians have typically sought to
skirt such issues by asserting, as Robin Wood did in 1971, that however erroneous and
unpleasant, the dominant society's portrayals of Indians, they are nonetheless
indefensible in mythic terms.
● important term, mythic:
○ page 117
○ To put it bluntly, what apologists mean by a “mythic” dimension in western film is
that part of it which they know to be a lie but which for whatever reason they still
wish to embrace.
● Extreme example of mythic ideology, is we have lots of movies on World War Two and
concentration camps, showing the treatment of jewish people by the Nazis.
● Hollywood should “show the other side” and make a movie about Nazis and try to justify
why they did what they did.
April 1st Atleo
It’s Time to End the Indian Act
● Self-formation of political organizations of indigenous peoples in North America
● Work in conjunction with the crown and rcmp members to improve overall lives of Indigenous
● Holds an annual Convention of the Assembly of First Nations
National Indian Brotherhood
● AFN emerged out of the NIB
13 ● Collapsed in 1967
● Strong opposition against government
● Split into three separate groups
Chief Shawn Atleo
● AFN Chief
● Assumed office in 2009
● Is a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation
● From Ahousaht, BC
● Apart of the commission that drafted UN Declaration (has worked on many other initiatives)
To move away from the Indian Act and towards a more appropriate form of government that reflects:
● The UN declaration
(Does not mention that it would better reflect Indigenous epistemology)
Failures of the Indian Act can be reversed effective immediately through effective methods of change;
some Indigenous people have already adopted. Notable plans include:
● A comprehensive plan for change
● A legislation affirming ‘Aboriginal Tittle’
● Reshaping fiscal relations
● Reconstructing the Department of Indian Affairs to
○ better serve the Indigenous population
○ improve it’s mandate
CHAPTER TWO - January 7th - Bernice
Miller describes the first ‘failed’ attempt at colonization by Norseman from Iceland and Greenland. This
occurred about the first millennium after the birth of Christ
. He notes that conflict between the Norse and Indigenous peoples of the east (likely the Beothuk who are
now considered extinct) eventually led to the abandonment of European settlers of land in the east and set a
pattern for Aboriginal -European relations in both the Atlantic and continental areas of Canada. Future
attempts to farm in what is now Newfoundland was met with resistance by the Indigenous people.
Contact afterwards became intermittent and commercial for almost five centuries. An important Norse
contribution was not that they had frequent contact with the Native population but that they had established
clear sailing routes that others would follow and then they would encounter North America’s Indigenous
14 Early European contact was motivated by the search for sea products. Fish was important to the European
diet. For almost 5 months of the year, due to religious taboo, the faithful abstained from meat eating and so
fish was the alternative diet source. Other motivations included the economic value of cod - it was less
expensive and high demand for whale whose meat, fat and oil were considered valuable. (Interesting to note
that the Inuit taught Europeans how to whale more bountifully.)
During the 15th century - ships arrived from many European countries with the primary goal of acquiring sea
Late in the 15th century - another motive emerged which was to search for the gateway to East Asia.
Explorers such as John Cabot (1494) mistakenly assumed that North America was Asia. They continued to
search for a northwest passage to Asia and during this time, made contact with the Native people.
By the 16th century, early interest in trading furs with Native peoples for European iron ares and other
commodities had expanded. This trade was viewed as attractive and beneficial for both sides. For the
Indigenous people, they were able to barter their used clothing for ornamental and utilitarian European
products. For the Europeans, they acquired another useful lucrative opportunity beyond exploring and
These encounters were not without problems though. Mi’kmaq women hid when European ships arrived
which indicated previous problems. French aspirati