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HIST 101
Willeen Keough

Canada: A Bird’s Eye View 9/21/2012 8:39:00 PM The Physical Environment Atlantic & Gulf region  Appalachians consist of ancient rounded hills  Fertile plateaus (i.e. Annapolis-Cornwallis Valley in Nova Scotia, all of PEI) attracted European settlers  Submerged perimeter forms a continental shelf in which is home to (believed to be) inexhaustible supplies of fish, oil and natural gas. The Great Lakes (e.g. St. Lawrence Lowlands)  Dominated by gently rolling hills  Lakes and rivers provided accessible transportation routes  Before arrival of European settlers, Aboriginals possessed an abundance wild life thus allowing their population to increase  In order to accommodate population growth, Native groups began planting crops Canadian Shield  40% of Canada’s land mass  Hills interspersed with areas where land, soil and drainage offer good farming possibilities  Cool summers & limited number of frost-free days prevents agricultural development  Abundance in wild life supported dispersed Aboriginal communities- encountered little competition from European settlers Interior Plains  Consists of excellent soil for farming, however, climatic conditions limit yields (i.e. experiences harsh winters)  Growing seasons often short and unpredictable  Lack of rain further curtails agriculture (Especially in Southwestern Saskatchewan & southeastern Alberta)  Abundance in wild life (especially buffalo) and vegetation supported Aboriginals Western Cordillera  Sustained a relatively large Aboriginal population  Region consists of six mountain ranges-these ranges formed barriers to contact among Aboriginals and later with European settlers  Home to an abundance of animals  Temperate climate attracted a large human population North  Consists of a variety of sub-regions  Sub-arctic, areas somewhat colder and less fertile in comparison to the Cordillera and the Interior Plains  Arctic, home of the Inuit, no trees, little soil and long, harsh winters o Underground permafrost creates problems for the construction of buildings o Only small concentrations of people dispersed around the Arctic could be supported without depleting the animals they depended on for survival o Europeans initially regarded the region as a barren wasteland-suitable only for exploitation of furs o Overtime, Europeans come to understand the importance and significance of the region-metals and energy resources First Peoples Before 1500 9/21/2012 8:39:00 PM First Nations Before 1500 Diversity The Aboriginal societies varied greatly from one another. However, there also exists similarities in outlook and practice can be found. These similarities exists due to the extensive trade networks across the Americas in which allowed cultural borrowing.  50 cultural groups  12 language groupings  Nomadic Sedentary - Nomadic: Search for game forced frequent relocation, following resources - Sedentary: Success of agriculture lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, stayed a build villages and dug gardens  Egalitarian (All people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities) Stratified-complex organizations and institutions - Egalitarian: Small communities work as units to obtain food- equally dividing what was produced - Stratified: due to better food and greater material wealth, inequality persisted and intensified-relatively large corporate households protect their resources; complex social organizations o chiefs set rules for distributing food and other materials o slaves were personal possessions of the chiefs o chiefs-central figures in systems of trade, marriage, warfare and competition with other corporate households  Patriarchal/Patrilineal/Patrilocal (Wife moves in with husbands family) – Male domination over women Matrilineal/Matrilocal (Husbands live with wife’s inlaws) - Women with some degree of power-sometimes quite extensive power The Physical Environment  Mi’kmaq- Located in the Atlantic region. They were seasonal hunters-would go where food and resources were, relatively egalitarian - both men and women carried out tasks, they prized individual liberty, produced formal governance structures that included entire Mi’kmaq people – local chiefs were assisted by council of male elders. Consent of the Mi’kmaq people ensured Mi’kmaq government in place without need for courts or police.  Ojibwa- Lived around the Canadian Shield, small dispersed bands, significant cooperation with other First Nations, some organization existed within the tribe, permanent villages, no concept of ownership to land, communal territory, some sexual division of labor based on what you could contribute to the tribe, inter-racial marriage existed, women had little say in terms of marriages.  Blackfoot- Interior Plains. Semi-nomadic existence, big hunters, possessed guns and horses obtained through trade from the South, deemed more powerful due their possessions, therefore, displaced other First Nations – had formal structures to police their communities, hold elaborate religious ceremonies (e.g. Sundance), somewhat less egalitarian customs - women not as powerful as men, however, women participated in ceremonies – not a case where men have all power and women have none. Moving towards patriarchal system.  Iroquois- Great Lake of Saint Lawrence, moderate climate. Less dependent on hunting due to more fertile land, much more sedentary - large villages, permanent long houses where extended families live together, welcoming to population growth, formal government structure, some social hierachy - develop confederacy, the Five Nations (Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca & Cayuga) or Iroquois Confederacy, mostly male council but voted by women. - formed as a response to cycles of violence resulting from blood feuds - clan matrons selected chiefs, sachems – they were responsible for settling disputes between villages or clans - confederacy had no permanent officials, unanimity was required to before decision could be approved – not very effective as a result - matrilineal and matrilocal in running long houses, women have a lot of say in distribution of resources, more rigid social hierarchies than other Aboriginal groups  Haida Gwaii – Matrilineal, property inherited through female line, marriages arrange by men, women central in food production and distribution, women expect to submit to husband’s authority, older women involved in trade – to make livelihood, wives consent to carry out trade  Inuit- North. scarce resources, small mobile groups – go wherever they could find food, self-sufficient, cooperation essential for survival – had a bit extra, offer assistance, mutual support, egalitarian – work is divided along sex lines to an extent Common Cultural Characteristics  Religion and Nature o Cree ancestors studied traditions, teachings and laws which they believed tied them directly on Mother Earth-establishing a connection with the Creator and His Creation. This very connection brought forth the blessings bestowed on them by the Creator, however, with that connection comes certain disciplines, processes and procedures. o Spiritual belief held center stage in all North American societies. For instance, when game was scarce, many believed that the Creator was punishing them for their failure to give sufficient respect to each other, animals and plants. o Something sacred in all living creatures.  Knowledge of Natural World o Unlocked medicinal uses of plants, appropriate materials needed for various tasks o Understood movement of the sun and stars in which governed their seasonal cycles o Production of various mode of transportation (canoes, snowshoes, toboggans), practical housing, warm clothing, cooking utensils, tools and weapons. All of which were achieved due to their familiarity with the properties of various trees and other natural materials  Trading Networks o Been trading with each other for years o Natives developed extensive trading networks – Algonkian hunters traded fur for the corn and tobacco grown by the Iroquoian-speaking people in the Great Lakes region along with the Mandans of the southern Plains. Those residing in the Prairies traveled to the summer trade fairs in Missouri where they could buy handicrafts and dried corn. Natives in the Pacific Coast traded prod
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