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Roots of Our Population. As we go through this information, make sure you highlight everything highlighted here. The population of Atlantic Canada is made up of many different cultures. Aboriginal Peoples.

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roots of our population

Roots of Our Population

As we go through this information, make sure you highlight everything highlighted here

aboriginal peoples
Aboriginal Peoples

While there is some dispute about the origins of Aboriginal people in Atlantic Canada, all lived in harmony with their environment.

Different groups developed distinct spiritual traditions, languages and cultures.

group 1 the innu
Group 1: The Innu
  • Lived in Newfoundland and Labrador for thousands of years.
  • Today the Innu don’t recognize the border between Quebec and Newfoundland.
group 2 algonquin nations
Group 2: Algonquin Nations

Three Algonquin nations lived in what is now called Atlantic Canada.

  • Mi’kmaq
  • Maliseet
  • Passamaquoddy

Hunting, fishing, trapping and trading were their livelihoods.

group 3 the inuit
Group 3: The Inuit

Archaeologists believe that Palaeoeskimo groups crossed the Bering Strait from Siberia reaching Labrador about 3800 years ago.


Palaeoeskimos are ancestors of today’s Inuit people in Northern regions of Canada and Newfoundland.

Inuit people were once known as “eskimos,” an offensive term that is no longer used.

group 4 the beothuk
Group 4: The Beothuk

The Beothuk people lived in Newfoundland. They hunted inland and fished on the coast.

This culture suffered complete extinction as a race in 1829 when the last member died of tuberculosis.


Why did this culture go extinct?

  • Susceptible to European diseases
  • European presence; took their land and food supply
  • Conflict with Europeans ended in slaughter
mary march desmasduit
Mary March Desmasduit

Mary March Desmasduit was captured by the Europeans to help improve the relationship between the two groups.

She taught them her Beothuk language, and they made her “European.” Mary March is a name they gave her.


A list of Beothuk words obtained from Mart March.

Mary March died of tuberculosis, a European disease, a year after she was taken.

mary march desmasduit1
Mary March Desmasduit

After her death, her body was returned to her people and buried beside that of her husband who had been killed at the time of her capture.

effects of contact
Effects of Contact

The first Europeans who came to the region learned from Aboriginal peoples how to cope with the harsh environment.

Not prepared for our long, snowy winters, many Europeans faced starvation.


Ethnocentrism of the Europeans often kept them from appreciating and understanding the Aboriginal people of the area. As a result, problems developed.

  • Ethnocentrism:

The belief that your culture and beliefs are better than those of another culture.


Regulations were put into place by the Canadian government that forced Aboriginal peoples off traditional lands and onto reserves.


  Many aboriginals are beginning to claim back lands and the right to self-government.

Aboriginal leaders and federal and provincial governments continue to negotiate settlements to such claims.