The Canadian Identity • Canada has always been a land of immigrants. There is no evidence of human habitation in Canada that dates back hundreds of thousands of years (as is the case with Africa of Asia); any possible indication of pre-historic ancestors was scraped away by the glaciers of the Ice Age 10 000 years ago.
There is proof that people lived in Canada during the early post-glacial era, and it has been scientifically concluded that all peoples of Canada migrated here from elsewhere.
Three Stages of Immigration • Immigration into Canada took place in three stages. The first known immigrants to Canada were those whom we call “Native” or “First Nations” peoples.
The circumstances that led to their coming are unknown and unrecorded, but most theories hold that they crossed into North America from Asia when there was a land bridge across the Bering Strait.
The second era of immigration began in the European Age of Discovery, with the settling of the French, British and others. The third and most recent influx of people into Canada, which has taken place during the last century
or so, has coincided with the development of a “global community” and includes the arrival of people from almost every country and culture in the world.
Melting Pot • Canadians perceive their multicultural society to be different from most other societies in the world, and they are proud of the differences. The United States, which is a much larger and stronger society than ours (in almost every respect), is usually labeled a “melting pot”, where immigrants lose their separate identities and quickly become American.
Salad • Canada is often described as a mosaic, with each individual segment maintaining varied cultural traditions. (another description of Canada is a salad where each individual part retains its own unique “flavour”).
Canadians also like to think of their government as being sensitive towards the aspirations of minority cultures, very different from countries such as Russia that are dominated by a single strong ethnic group.
Our tolerance and promotion of varied cultures, religions and languages make us very different from countries such as the U.S., Russia, and China and make us a popular country to move to.
PROS AND CONS OF MULTICULTURALISM • There are many benefits of pursuing our self-made identity as an immigrant, multi-cultural, national community. Our different cultures give our society a richness and variety that other, more homogeneous peoples lack.
The presence of many minorities makes political moderation and toleration absolutely necessary if we are to live in peace; in this way our diversity brings out the best in us.
The First People – focus questions, pages 14-18 Write a well-organized paragraph that describes the pro’s and con’s of assimilation, integration and separation of Native People in regards to Canadian society. (12 marks) This should be approx. 2/3 of a page long. In point form, summarize the five aspects of Aboriginal culture and technology discussed on pages 17/18. (10 marks)
Each of our cultural groups offers a great deal to the Canadian community – much more than the image of costumes and special foods.
Distinct languages express different ideas and philosophies, some of which have a strong effect on the laws that are made, others bring special skills that they brought as immigrants (fishing, farming, etc).
There are also disadvantages to multiculturalism which need to be considered alongside the benefits. Canadians are often viewed as spending too much time trying to figure each other out and not paying enough attention to the rest of the world.
Our vast array of peoples can also make a country disunited, and can prevent us from moving and thinking as a mass (as the Americans do). Multiculturalism can also flare into multi-nationalism, where particular ethnic groups fight for special privileges or special recognition at the expense of other groups within society.
How has the scattered and ill-defined Canadian identity, which is alternatively praised and reviled by the people who created it come about?
Reassessment • First, immigration over such a long time period has created a constant change and reassessment of our national personality.
Ethnic Grouping VS Assimilation • Immigration in waves is another reason – throughout our history people have come to Canada in large groups and have tended to stick together after getting here, rather than assimilating immediately into a non-ethnic mainstream.
Local VS National Mindset • While these groupings have allowed language and tradition to be preserved, it has also led to making Canadians a “local” people due to its great distances and difficult climate.
After reading page 20 of your textbook entitled “Images of Aboriginal People”, answer questions 1,2,4 from the text, PLUS: • Write a short (6-8 line) paragraph explaining what some of the stereotypes of YOUR cultural group might be. Be sure to include both the positive and negative parts!
FIRST NATIONS BEFORE 1500 • Estimates of the Native population of N.A. at the time of continuous European contact have varied greatly, from 30 -100 million. This includes at least 50 distinct cultures encompassing 12 language groupings!
In the 16th century, the First Nations lived in societies ranging from the egalitarian Athapaskan tribes of the subarctic to the slave-owning, highly stratified societies of the West Coast.
One very important region was that of southern Ontario and New York State.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO • At first, this area had Aboriginal groups hunting caribou, but as time went on and the climate warmed, boreal forest replaced the tundra and deer replaced the caribou.
FOOD SUPPLY IMPROVES • As people began catching fish in nets and using milling stones and mortars to grind nuts, berries and roots the food supply became more varied and reliable.
WAR AND LEISURE • By the time Europeans made contact in this area life was much more sedentary – explorers encountering the Iroquois saw palisaded settlements of 1500-2000 people whose well-crafted pottery suggested that there was wealth (and leisure time) in the area.
INVENTIONS • During the 12000 years of habitation on the Prairies, inventions such as the atlatl, bow and arrow and buffalo pound increased the amount of time available for spiritual and leisure activities. Despite the obvious differences in their societies, there were some common threads found in the fabric of Native cultures.
COMMON CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS • In all Native societies, religion, as much as nature, regulated everyday life. Native religions are characterized by a belief in a divinity residing within all living creatures as well as within all natural objects.
First Nations people did not see themselves as the masters of their environment; rather, they believed that their communion with the spirits was the secret to any successes they might have in staking out a living and achieving happiness.
A common feature of Native societies was their knowledge of the uses of a wide range of materials found in the natural world. A familiarity with the properties of various types of wood and other natural materials led to the successful production of items such as canoes, snowshoes, toboggans, cooking utensils and weapons.
The Aboriginal peoples’ knowledge of their environment would prove crucial to the Europeans when they turned their attention to the profits available from exploiting the resources of North America.
Trade Items • Native willingness to trade with the Europeans reflected the already established lines of trade among themselves. First Nations traded for items their own areas did not have, and included items such as copper, iron, flint, walrus ivory, bird feathers and birch bark canoes.
Assignment #3 • In the textbook ,read the boxed passage on pages 24/25. • In complete sentences, answer questions 1,2,4,5 found on page 25.
NETWORKS • First Nations peoples also had well-established networks that moved items and information over long distances. When Europeans arrived, Native people introduced them to, and guided them along, the established water routes, forest paths and prairie trails.
Trade was the peaceful side of relations among Native groups, but warfare among neighbours occurred in every region. It is important to remember that while similarities existed among the different peoples of North America, each region developed unique cultural practices.
Assignment #4 - Powerpoint • People of the Plains – Powerpoint/Research Assignment • Make a powerpoint with photos that covers the following: • Title slide • 1 slide showing a map of the Plains Culture area • 2 slides covering the Blackfoot Confederacy • 2 slides on the Assiniboine and Sioux (general info) • 2 slides on food on the plains • Slides showing/explaining 10 uses of the buffalo to the Aboriginal people • 1 slide on the teepee • 1 slide on the Sun Dance • 1 slide on the use of dogs • 1 slide (minimum showing sources of information) • Effects & Extras: transitions with no sounds, varied backgrounds, pictures whenever possible. Listed number of slides represents a MINIMUM standard.
THE FIRST NATIONS OF THE ATLANTIC AND GULF REGION • The Mi’kmaq were the largest group in what is today Atlantic Canada. The region’s Algonkian peoples also included the Beothuk in Newfoundland and the Maliseet of what is now southern New Brunswick.
In Newfoundland, the rugged terrain and harsh climate limited the potential for population growth. The Beothuk (estimated to number about 1000 in the year 1500),
depended heavily on the caribou for food and clothing, which they hunted during the herds’ fall migration. As for other Aboriginal peoples in the Atlantic region, marine resources such as seals, seabirds, fish and shellfish were critical for survival.
The Mi’kmaq were relatively affluent, living in one of Canada’s more favoured geographical areas. Populations estimates ranged from 3500 to 35000 before 1500.
Assignment #5 • Identify these people, places and events and explain their historical significance to Canada’s developing culture and identity: • Iroquois • League of Five Nations (Haudenonsaunee) • Matrilineal society • Pemmican, pit houses, potlatch, kayak, the “three sisters” • To be researched using computers but hand written (in pen) using a title/point form format
Arctic Peoples: 900-1900 • The Inuit of the Canadian Arctic are a distinct people, different from other Aboriginal Peoples. They arrived thousands of years later than any other Aboriginal people did and have a much more noticeably Asiatic appearance.
Inuit Technology • The distinguishing characteristics of Inuit culture, was their way of life, which allowed them to live in the harshest conditions on Earth. Through resourcefulness, inner strength and a technology more complex than that of any other preindustrial culture, they lived independently and often comfortably on the Arctic tundra (north of the tree line).