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022513 Coming Off The Land & Land Claims.doc

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GEO 605
David Atkinson

GEO605 Geography of the Canadian North 022513 Coming Off The Land & Land Claims EUROPEAN CONTACT • From Martin Frobisher in the 1570's to the search for the missing Franklin expedition in the 1850 - European's began contact with the Inuit o First European contact began with Martin Frobisher believing he found gold o Contact was limited because population was not extensive • Informal trading brought introduction of iron o Improves lives of the Inuit for hunting o Harpoon heads o Knifes WHALERS (1850's - 1900) • 1850s: the North Atlantic commercial whaling industry o Europeans reliant on Whale industry, including oil (for lighting lamps) and bones o Whaling is seasonal • Large-scale operations, killing thousands of Whales • They hired hundreds of Inuit to work on their ships as hunters and seamstresses o A huge range and quantity of manufacture goods entered Inuit society, everything from rifles and tent canvas to whale boats and flour • Increase in manufactured goods in Inuit Society that are useful to survival o Coffee, sugar, and tobacco; items with longer shelf life • In addition to manufactured goods, the whalers brought infectious diseases • The Inuit had no natural immunities to these diseases and hundreds, even thousands, died • The population of the western Canadian Arctic Inuit (Mackenzie Delta) (called Inuvialuit) fell from an estimated 2000-2500 in 1850, to 150 people in 1910 o As people get sick, they cannot hunt; therefore they starve THE BAY, THE MOUNTIES, AND THE CHURCH • These three factors started to change from living on the land to living in communities • The Hudson's Bay Company began to take an active interest in the northern fur trade o Beaver pelt was a fashion statement o HBC spread from east to west to north because desire for fur changes (i.e. demand for arctic hairs for clothing and fashion o Introduction of fixed trading posts with season times  Creates point in space where you can only travel so far • After the First World War (1914-1918), the fur trade moved north to encompass the entire Arctic o Thinking about time frame, it was in the last 100 years • With the fur trade came the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches • As trading outpost were established other services followed • RCMP - first in the Yukon o 1903: Herschel Island (near Mac Delta) stopped whalers from "supplying Eskimos with liquor" o Fear and sense of wanting to preserve Inuit way of life, so send RCMP o Many early connections remove sense of empowerment and sense of control because of the RCMP o RCMP tell them how to live and what to do o Discovery of gold during the gold rush and Canadian government concerned about the Yukon would be overrun by Americans, thus creation of RCMP • 1912: first "permanent" Catholic Mission in Chesterfield GEO605 Geography of the Canadian North • 1920s: Hudson Bay Company • In the 1950s everything changed - post WWII created new world and environment in the north INUIT RACISM • How they lived was dedicated by the government and the church • Large conversion to Christianity, that results in change in culture and loss in history o Before they lived in a shamanistic lifestyle (connection to spirits and nature) o Christianity is a fixed way of life (i.e. following the calendar and going to church every Sunday) • Inuit have oral culture, where history and way of life is passed on through stories o Moral components of the stories of how you should act and live o Christianity is a draw to "hear new stories" to gain a connection  Conflict in Christianity where if you listen to the stories, you must follow that way of life END OF LIVING ON THE LAND • After the Second World War (1939-1945) the Canadian government took active interest in Inuit welfare o Canada becomes middle ground between Russians and Americans  Takes into consideration of the concept of sovereignty, based on who discovered it first and being able to govern the area  Part of interest of the north is to protect the land from the Russians • The government began to actively encourage people to give up their nomadic or "wandering way of life" o Active encouragement for fixed locations and permanent settlements  It will be easier to administer social welfare (education, work, etc) • They encouraged permanent settlements because it seemed to be the easiest and least expensive way of administering social welfare ADMINISTRATIVE RELOCATION (PEOPLE OF HEBRON, LABRADOR) • Hebron was founded as a Moravian mission station in 1830 o Moravian is broader Christian group o Set up the initial church, which brought in trading posts and creates fixed location  People become semi-fixed and eventually dependence on the community increases • Spanish flu epidemic of late 1918 hit many of the northern communities o Believed to have wiped out a third of the 1200 member Inuit population of Labrador  Increases desire for health care and is what draws people to communities • Inuit congregated near the Hebron mission because it provided education and medical services • By 1920s most families lived on the land but came to vista for trade and Christian Holidays • 1950s questioning viability of northern Labrador communities  Discussions involved  Department of public welfare  Division of northern Labrador affairs  The Moravian mission  International Grenfell Association (medical provider) o Very little of the discussion about the viability of Nutak and Hebron involved the Inuit • Northern Development (Distant Early Warning line and others) drew people to wage labor • The question was do you encourage: o Traditional harvesting economy o Community amenities should be developed to improve health and educational standards so that people would have a better opportunity to gain employment  To keep up with the new wage economies moving into the north  Traditional harvesting economy does not work GEO605 Geography of the Canadian North • Church attributed the high rate of tuberculosis infection to poor housing standards o Other diseases other than Spanish flu o Thus, health, housing and community structure offset the advantages of the local resource economy • Between 1953-1965, 115 communities were closed under the provincial program and 7,500 people were relocated o Cannot afford to administer so many social welfares for all communities o The communities need to be centralized o All services were removed and people are forced to move to where services are available • Inuit were led to believe, a better life with easier access to education, health services and employment opportunities await them • In 1959 the church closed followed by the go
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