Week 2, Due 20/9/2013
Reading Log 1
In Rodney Bobiwash1, the excerpt states that aboriginal people were living in Toronto
since 9000-5000 BC as the oldest prosperous society. They were thriving and had great
hunting lands and resources at the Great Lakes, where the fur and fisheries trade was
being flourished, especially the three major cultural groups, Iroquois, St. Lawrence
Iroquois and Algonquian. In 1600s, the first non-native fur traders and missionaries
settled in Canada. The first Europeans brought an epidemic with them; which wiped out
50% of the native population leaving no leadership, low productive capacity, low native
spirituality and the natives were being undermined at their fur trades.
British-Aboriginals and French-Aboriginals had many land, wars and power struggles, in
which pacts were made. Aboriginals formed strategic alliances with both Europeans and
first nations for their own purposes but still had great problems getting their fishery
rights. Due to settlement pressures from the French and British, there was decline of
‘game’ hunting and deprivation of land. Since the chiefs of the native communities
became prominent Methodist leaders, all strong agricultural communities developed
around schools and churches, where native people adopted a culturally defensive strategy.
On the other hand, Viktoria Freeman2, states in her Thesis dissertation that there is not
much important or academic historical writing and research on indigenous peoples. She
conducted interviews where she asked about the relationships of natives to their family
history and ancestral knowledge. As Viktoria states, I believe we need to academically
understand the aboriginal culture of struggle and how they have been marginalized, to
understand the capacity in which we can properly share our lands and resources with the
natives. By dividing lands and resources against the aboriginals we are only loosing the
battle against saving our planet from utter destruction.
1 Rodney Bobiwash, “The History of Native People in the Toronto Area: An overview”,
Frances Sanderson and Heather Howard-Bobiwash eds, The meeting Place: Aboriginal
Life in Toronto (Toronto: Native Canadian Centre, 1997) 5-24.
2 Viktoria Freeman, “Toronto Has No History! Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism and
Historical Memory In Canada’s Largest City” Urban History Review 38:2.: 21-36.