CANADA’S FIRST NATIONS Some examples of their lives in the pre-European era Subarctic Atlantic Coast
Traits • Cedar homes and boats • Totem poles and very characteristic art • Reverence for the salmon and killer whale/orca • Sedentary fishermen/fishers, hunters, gatherers. • Potlatch-large festival/party where hosts gave guests gifts to show prestige
The Plains People Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta Example nations: Cree, Blackfoot, Blood, Dene (Canada) Sioux, Navajo, Cheyenne, Crow, , Lakota Sioux, Cherokee,Apache (U.S.A.)
The People Hollywood made famous! • They were a nomadic people, following the buffalo herds. • The Plains people hunted small and large animals. The main food they ate was the buffalo (bison). They dried the buffalo meat to make jerky. They also ate the liver, heart, kidneys and tongue. They did the same with the elk, deer, antelope and pronghorn. The other large animals they ate were wolf, bear and beaver. The small animals that they ate were rabbits, gophers, prairie chickens, ducks, fish, geese and grouse. They used the Buffalo for tipis and travois carts. They were known for their horses (which the Spanish introduced to Americas). • The tradition of the Sundance was a test of bravery and marked a passage into adulthood. • The Medicine Bundle was a tradition that was sacred. • After the 1600s, French explorers and the plains people intermarried and led to the Metis of today (mixed blood people).
The Sundance:This sacred ceremony was and is the spiritual core of Plains life. The participants, who endure three days of total fasting (without both food and water), pray and dance for the Creator to bestow blessings and health for their families and communities. Under the chest skin, pegs were inserted and tied to a central pole by a rope. The dancer would work themselves into a frenzy and pull violently away from the pole. The scars left when the dancer pulled away from the pole were signs of honour! OUCH!
Woodlands PeopleOntario and QuebecNorthern Cree, Huron, Montagnais, Algonguin, The Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy(Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondoga, Cayuga), Ojibway
Some semi-nomadic, some permanent farming settlements (Mohawk longhouses in Palisades villages-tall walls for protection) • Big and small game hunters and gatherers • Birch bark used in canoes and wigwams(homes) • Many wars: Huron vs. Iroquois • Fur trade • Dead elevated on platforms
Mohawk is an Algonquin term that means "eaters of men". In ancient times, the Mohawk sometimes practiced cannibalism in order to obtain the strength of their conquered enemies. Amongst themselves, the Mohawk considered themselves the "People of the Place of the Flint". Within the Iroquois League, they were the "Keepers of the Eastern Door" because they were the easternmost member of the League.
Atlantic Coast • N.S., N.B., PEI AND NFLD. • Similar to the woodlands. • Semi-nomadic. Summers by the ocean. Winters in the forest. • Hunters and gatherers. • Birch bark canoes and wigwams. • Dream catchers, sweatlodges, SWEET GRASS CEREMONIES, Glooscap and basket weaving. • Include Mi’kmaq, Malecite/Maliseet, Abenaki and the now extinct Beothuk of Newfoundland.
Mi’kmaq Creator Gloosecap Truro at Millbrook Parrsboro
The Arctic and Subarctic • The Central Inuit, Labrador Inuit, Northern Cree near Hudson Bay, Dene near Yellowknife, Ojibwa, Chipewyan, Naskapi, the Innu of Labrador-Quebec • The region of the Arctic is the coldest and harshest region in Canada. The temperatures average between minus twenty-nine and minus thirty-four degrees Celsius. Due to the coldness, very little vegetation grows in the Arctic.
Thus, the people had to adapt in very creative ways:Bone sunglasses, whale and sealskin clothing (ugh boots, parkas), whale oil lamps, igloos, dog sleds, skin boats (kayaks and umiaks), soap stone carvings, snow shoes
UMIAK • The "umiak" is a large open skin boat once widely used throughout the Arctic for whale hunting, or moving materials and groups of people. • It is sometimes called the "women's boat". When people or possessions were moved, women did the rowing or paddling - the man sat aft and steered. Otherwise, men usually used kayaks. • Capable of carrying large loads, these boats allowed whole families to change their dwelling places. Umiaks could carry so many people that when the Russians dominated the Aleutian sealskin trade, they forbade the use of them for fear that armed boarding parties might storm their ships. • Animal skins (usually walrus) were stretched over a wooden (driftwood) frame that had to be skillfully constructed to provide the strength needed for such a large boat. • At between 22-33 feet / 7-10 meters long and about 5 feet / 1.5 meters wide, umiaks could carry 10 to 15 people, and yet they were still light enough to be carried over ice or land by about six people.