AMBERT CHAPTER 2 History and Cultural Diversity
The first families in Canada were of the Aboriginal First Nations people
They lived in settled villages and engaged in some trade
Aboriginal nations were mostly Hunter- Gatherers and followed a nomadic
experience because of the need to pursue migrating game
Nations such as the Pacheenaht on Vancouver island were Patrilineal
Patrilineal : They recognized descent and inheritance through the father’s line.
Iroquois in the St. Lawrence Valley were Matrilineal
They followed the mother’s line of descent and inheritance for future generations.
The basic social unit for all First Nations people was FAMILY
These families were communal and the concept of sharing responsibilities and
resources Childrearing and obtaining food dominated their lives.
Case Study Examples:
Plain Cree family:
- They were mainly Patrilineal families of Nomadic Nature
- The Tribes were taken care of by men, their brothers and sons
- If the band encountered difficulties the entire band would move, usually to a join
with another band of a relative.
- They had traditional division of labor and structured gender roles like the men
hunted and the woman were involved in childrearing and taking care of the
- Orphans or Boys who’s families were in trouble could live with the chief’s family
or of any other male of a high rank
- These families were mostly Matrilineal line of descent and inheritance.
- The male moved in with the female after marriage, who owned all the land
- The Females actively engaged in Agriculture as Men went hunting and fishing.
Warfare was the main vocation of the Men.
- Their settlements were heavily fortified
- There were the two things prominent in Iroquois families Producing food and
- Woman chose male leader or SACHEM from the warrior settlers for political
- Iroquois Families were structured around Gendered Equality and shared
responsibilities between men and woman.
Families of New France
Change in the history of Canadian Families began in 1535
Jacques Cartier discovered lower St. Lawrence River Valley became a part of new
France in 1608
With fewer than 30 people Samuel De chaplain establish New France , which is
Quebec City today In 1763 the English Regime began in Canada
Groeth of people also constituted to population growth with the high rates of
Childbearing and increasing Nuclear families
The first French Canadian colonists were Fur traders or “Coureurs de bois”
- They took woman as wives called – femmes du pays (In union outside the church)
- These woman contributed n the households as well as in the fur trade with their
knowledge about skinning and preserving Fur pelts, their ability to use first
nations languages and their peoples traditions as traders.
Between 1663 and 1673 rance send about 800 woman 9the kings daughters) to marry the
settled bachelors in New France.
The earlier Aboriginal- European Marriages gave rise to Metis
By 1700 4 major events had relegated woman to a typical family role in society:
1) A Nuclear family structure was essential in the life of a farmer and his family,
as the fur trade declines.
They preferred large families in order to have more workers on the farm
Land concessions were given depending on how many children a couple a had – so
the woman had to be involved in Child bearing.
France’s minor nobility SEIGNEUR owned the lands and the Tenants worked on it
2) The second event was government policy which encouraged and promoted large
families in order to build the larger colonies against foreign invaders from Britain –
Rather than encouraging immigration from France, the French preferred to promote
higher fertility to increase population.
Because of this Nuclear families became the norm and being a single woman was less
socially acceptable now
There were incentives given to woman under the age of 16 and men who married
under the age of 20.
3) Expanding Authority of the Roman Catholic church
As farming communities grew the church gained more power over the colonies.
The church controlled education and developed a gender specific curriculum –
through which woman were taught to be pure and good wives and mothers.
The church was responsible for implementing the Crowns prenatal agenda.
4) A Peace settlement with the Iroquois families in 1701 produced a more
Agrarian societies typically have a family as the base of the society therefore the role
of the woman within the household was advanced. Characteristics of families in New France
1) Sex Segregated roles
2) Self-selection mating (with approval of their parents)
3) Neolocal Nuclear households
4) Pro-natalist (To encourage more births through incentives) attitudes
5) Kin Interaction
British Conquest of Quebec happened in 1759
British settlers in North America had surpassed the French in terms of wealth and
They encourage immigration from Scotland, Wales and Ireland and entire families
were part of the is Emigration
Emigration: Permanently leaving ones country to settle in another
British colonies before 1759 witnessed a transition from Fur trade to Agriculture and
Military success thus opening up more territory for settlement.
Families in upper Canada were different than those in Quebec
The British colonies experienced faster industrialization and urbanization than
British Colonists had the right to own private property – allowing them to move from
a preindustrial agricultural economy to an Industrial and Capitalist economic system
Many Loyalist families fled from the USA and settled in the British colonies after
1782 leading to social stratification in the colonies
There was a rise of classes of merchants, artisans, professionals, farmers and laborers.
There was an Aristocratic element in the British Colonies – the British noblemen
moved to Canada to lead the Army and Navy and establish Estates.
Tilly and Scoot: The Household was the center around which resources, labor
and consumption were balanced.
Families in Upper Canada and Maritimes:
Roman Catholic Church was central religious power in New France.
British families in Upper Canada and the Maritimes were based strongly on principles
of Christianity and patriarchy.
British Common Law gave rights to Men as heads of the Family. The men were
expected to work outside the home.
Woman were restricted to the home and taking up domestic tasks such as cleaning,
cooking and caregiving.
Divorce in upper Canada was only common after 1839 and men received better
treatment from the law including retaining custody of their children.
Children only got married once their economic contribution to the family unit was no
longer required therefore The Maritimes and upper Canada had a higher marriage
age than Quebec.
Woman contributed to the advancement of the economy with their contributions on
the domestic front and the development of a distinctive British colonial society
This society was individualistic with its Capitalist and Property owning nature
Social integration was present in the Maritimes and Upper Canada based on
Kinship and colonists place of origin (Where they come from in England) Quebec under the British Rule
Confederation occurred in 1867 when Upper Canada, Quebec and the
Maritimes joined together to form an independent Canada.
The British controlled post-conquest Quebec
In order to let this French economy remain Stable the British allowed the Quebecers
to use their own French Language, they put no strictures on the Roman Catholic
Church and even allowed the French civil law to be continued to be used.
French Speaking government officials and the Church promoted Family growth and
the patriarchal system of family life.
Old French Seigneurial Law had not been replaced More sons were needed to
ensure control of tenant controlled land.
Montreal became a large industrial city with growing population from Europe
Between Confederation and the establishment of British Rule increasing