Canadian History/Printable version

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
< Canadian History
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Canadian History

The current, editable version of this book is available in Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection, at

Permission is granted to copy, distribute, and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.


The following is a Wikibook textbook on Canadian history. It is comprised of information compiled from various sources listed within the Bibliography by individuals like yourself. A Wikibook can be edited by anyone who wants to expand the usability and correctness of the work, however, please do not contribute any works that you do not hold the copyright to.

If you find that this textbook is incomplete, feel free to fill in the blanks.

Continue to the Introduction


Back to the Preface

An Introduction to Canada

Click through for an animated map of changes to Canada's provincial boundaries.

Canada is a land of vast distances and rich natural resources. Canada was founded in 1867 and retains ties to the United Kingdom through the Commonwealth agreement. Canada has strong historic ties with both France and the United Kingdom and has traditionally supported and sided with these nations during international conflicts. Recently however, Canada tends to side with the United States of America when international issues arise. Such a relationship with the United States results from the strong economic ties between these two neighboring nations.

Major social and political issues within the nation include funding of the armed forces, taxation levels, healthcare and education funding and the relationship between the province of Quebec, known nationwide for its uneasy political relationship with the federal government.

Forward to the First Settlers

First Settlers

Back to the Introduction

The Coming of the First Settlers

The theorized migration path of the immigrating people.

As there are no written records maintained from the era prior to the coming of Europeans to North America, there is no exact information on how the people now referred to as First Nations came to the continent. There have been theories proposed to explain the coming of the people, with one being generally accepted as the most plausible; the Landbridge Theory.

During the most recent of the Ice Ages large portions of the northern hemisphere were coated in ice. This ice covered much of what is now Canada. As all of this ice was formed the water levels around the world lowered, causing land masses previously inaccessible to become available. One such landmass was located where the Bering Strait is today: Beringia which formed a link between what is now Siberia and Alaska. This newly formed landmass is estimated to have been 1000 kilometres wide and 90 kilometres long (the modern distance between the two continents).

With the increasing cold, plant life in the northern lands was dwindling and causing an exodus of wildlife. Animals began roaming farther in search for sustenance. As the people of the time were dependent on both, they were forced to follow or die. Those that moved across Beringia were a nomadic people which followed their prey into the previously untapped lands which now include Alberta and parts of the Yukon and British Columbia. This migration of people happened some time between 100,000 and 30,000 years ago.

About 17,000 years ago the temperatures in North America began to increase once more, and the ice, which is thought to have been upwards of 3 kilometres thick in locations over the Rocky Mountains and Hudson's Bay, began to melt off. With the receding of the ice at the end of this time, the scars in the land carved by the coming of the glaciers and their movement were filled with the water produced by the melting. This is used to explain the creation of what is now the Great Lakes of Ontario and the myriad of other small bodies of water through Canada.

Beringia, the Bering Strait landbridge, ceased to exist approximately 10,000 years ago with the rising of water levels.

A secondary theory that is accepted to a lesser degree is the Watercraft Theory, which states that Asian people could have created rafts in order to travel on the ice-free Pacific Ocean into what is now California.

The reason that these two theories are accepted over theories of Africans moving to South America and then into North America is the links between Asian and North American species and the physical resemblances between Asians and Native Americans. All three of these theories of American infusion have since been correlated via genetic sampling, as well as archaeological evidence. Genetically, Native North Americans are almost entirely Asian in origin, while Native South Americans are largely African in origin. The archaeological evidence is illustrated by technological jumps reached by the North American tribes and nations via the Pacific at various times.

Forward to the Land Prior to the Europeans


Back to the Introduction

Upon reaching North America these newcomers found an abundance of prey and land and spread across the continent ...

Discuss how they spread, then in the next chapter talk about the various "Native" people.

Forward to the People of the Lands

The Wildlife of the Lands

The geography of Canada is an diverse as the cultures that now exist in it. From the rainforests in British Columbia to the tundra in the Northwest Territories to the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.

Appalachian Region[edit | edit source]

Today some of the best and most extensive broad-leaved deciduous forests in the world still flourish in the Appalachians. To the north are the conifers (red spruce and balsam fir, which grow at the highest elevations) and the northern hardwoods: sugar maple, buckeye, beech, ash, birch, and red and white oak. The western slopes of the Great Smokies, with their abundant rainfall, produce trees that have reached record maximum height and diameter. Among these are the yellow poplar, buckeye, eastern Canadian hemlock, and chestnut oak.

The Appalachian forest is a highly complex interdependent system. It forms one of the great floral provinces of the Earth. There are the trees that bear luxuriant bloom, such as serviceberry, redbud, hawthorn, yellow poplar, dogwood, locust, sourwood, and many others. Among the numerous shrubs with particularly showy flowers are the rhododendron, azalea, and mountain laurel. Certain summits of the southern Appalachians are called heath balds—open meadows or grasslands interspersed with thick growths of heath.

Ferns, mosses, and mushrooms of many species also are part of the complex Appalachian plant life.

Bison, elk, and wolves, used to be common in the Appalachian, but now they, like caribou and moose, are mostly found in the northernmost corners of the region. Scattered through other areas are the black bear, white-tailed deer, wild boar, fox, raccoon, beaver, and numerous other small animals.

Coastal Plains[edit | edit source]

The Atlantic coastal plains support a diverse waterfowl community including dabbling, diving, and sea ducks as well as geese. Key species include black duck, blue-winged teal and common eider. Millions of seabirds also use this area throughout the year and an estimated 4.8 million shorebirds travel through the Atlantic Provinces every fall.

Many plants inhabit the sandy areas. These plants are small, slow-growing, and adapted to living in areas where many other plants cannot survive. The conditions where they grow are low in nutrients, and subject to disturbance by the wind, waves, and changing water levels. They do not compete well with other more aggressive plants and therefore can not establish in undisturbed, fertile areas. An example of a habitat where Coastal Plain Flora could thrive is an exposed, gently sloping, sandy or gravel lake shores. Pine forests cover the land.

Great Lakes[edit | edit source]

The Great Lakes region are filled with birds amphibians and mammals. Black bears, moose, Canadian lynx, bobcats and timber wolves roam the Northwoods of Lake Superior and northern Lake Michigan and Huron. The small pockets of deciduous forests ringing the lower Great Lakes are inhabited by white-tailed deer, eastern chipmunks, red squirrels, cardinals, wood thrush and screech owl. Throughout the region, migrating waterfowl, song birds, sandpipers and plovers rest and refuel along the region’s streams, rivers and wetlands, and various types of frogs and salamanders crowd in the wetlands.

This biodiversity is set in an diverse range of ecosystems, including deep and shallow aquatic systems, wetlands, streams and rivers, tall-grass prairies, deciduous forests, coniferous forests, boreal forests, cliff faces and beaches.

St.Lawrence Lowlands[edit | edit source]

Although the vegetation is typified by a broadleaf forest of sugar maple, American beech, basswood, white oak, red oak, shagbark hickory, black walnut and butternut, farm fields and man-altered sites are the norm today. Wildlife that thrives in this zone today must be able to take advantage of agricultural crops and suburban habitats. Many common species, such as white-tailed deer, grey squirrel, coyote, starling, house sparrow and ringbilled gull, are recent arrivals to this region. Reptiles include several endangered species (eastern spiny soft-shelled turtle, Blanding's turtle, box turtle, and fox snake, among others) and eastern Canada's only lizard, the five-lined skink. The climax forest in the deciduous forest zone is dominated by sugar maple and American beech, with hemlock dominant on shady north-facing slopes. White pine, red pine and red oak dominate the dry ridge tops.

In the mixed wood forest zone, undisturbed sites consist of sugar maple, yellow birch, eastern hemlock and white pine. Boreal species such as white spruce, black spruce and balsam fir dominate in cool, damp habitats. Moose and wolf, snowshoe hare, martin, spruce grouse and other boreal species intermix with species more typical of southern areas such as the cardinal, white-tailed deer and raccoon.

Interior Plains[edit | edit source]

Trees and shrubs are most commonly found in the eastern region. Trees found in the Prairies include white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, tamarack, water birch, Bebb willow, peachleaf willow, wolf willow, lodgepole pine, box elder, choke cherry, black cottonwood, eastern cottonwood, bur oak, trembling aspen, and balsam poplar. Just a few of the other plants that grow here are spear grass, wheat, blue grama grass, sagebrush, yellow cactus, prickly pear, buckbrush, chokecherry, Saskatoon berry bush, alkali grass, wild barley, red sampire, sea blite, Parry oat grass, June grass, yellow bean, sticky geranium, bedstraw, chickweed, needle grass, thread grass, snowberry, American silverberry, rose, silverberry, dryland sedge, black hawthorn, greasewood, plains larkspur , death camas, wild lupine, smooth aster, prairie sedge, and cattail.The only large carnivore in the Prairies is the black bear.

Large herbivores include whitetail deer (a recent invader), mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk, and moose. Small carnivores include coyote, badger, red fox, longtail weasel, mink, river otter, black-footed ferret, and striped skunk. Rodents are numerous, such as the black-tailed prairie dog,white-tailed jack rabbit, snowshoe hare, Richardson’s ground squirrel, Franklin’s ground squirrel, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, least chipmunk, northern pocket gopher,olive-backed pocket mouse, Ord's kangaroo rat, white-footed mouse and beaver.

Some of the birds of prey are the ferruginous hawk, red-tailed hawk, Swainson’s hawk, burrowing owl, northern saw-whet owl, short-eared owl, long-eared owl, and turkey vulture. Songbirds include black-billed magpie, northern oriole, Audubon’s warbler, grasshopper sparrow, lark sparrow, ruby-throated hummingbird, cedar waxwing, lark bunting,chestnut-collared longspur, and black-billed cuckoo. Birds of the forest that are found here include ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, sage grouse, northern flicker, downywoodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, and western meadowlark. Some of the waterfowl found here are the American avocet, great blue heron, snow goose, Canada goose,northern pintail, blue-winged teal, mallard, gadwall, redhead, western grebe, lesser scaup, ring-necked duck, canvasback, Eskimo curlew, piping plover, and whooping crane.

Among the amphibians that can be found here are the northern leopard frog, striped chorus frog, plains spadefoot, American toad, great plains toad, and tiger salamander.

The area has several species of snakes and lizards, including the plains garter snake, gopher snake, western rattlesnake, western terrestrial garter snake, short-horned lizard, and prairie skink.

Predatory fish in the Prairie waterways include northern pike, carp, and sauger. They prey on such fish as the lake whitefish, goldeye, lake chub, brassy minnow, emerald shiner and yellow perch.

Just a few of the insects are the German cockroach, boreal spittlebug, silver-spotted skipper, spring azure, American copper, monarch butterfly, mourning cloak, eastern black swallowtail, migratory grasshopper, and pallid-winged grasshopper.

Three of the mollusc species in the Prairies are the valve snail, umbilicate promenetus, and globular pea clam.

Canadian Shield[edit | edit source]

The Boreal Shield[edit | edit source]

Trees to the north are coniferous, but broadleaf trees appear further south and trees normally found in much warmer climates, such as the yellow birch and sugar maple, can be found in the south of the ecozone. Bogs and other wetlands, cover one-fifth of the land. Tree species that can be found here include the white spruce, black spruce, balsam fir, tamarac, trembling aspen, balsam poplar, white pine, red pine, jack pine, eastern white pine, red maple, mountain maple, eastern red cedar, eastern hemlock, black ash, speckled alder, pin cherry, and paper birchwhite birch. Some of the other plants that grow here are shrubs, like sphagnum moss, willow, alder, Labrador tea, blueberry, bog rosemary, feathermoss, cottongrass, sedges, kalmia heath, high bush cranberry, baneberry, wild sarsaparilla, bunchberry, shield fern, goldenrod, water lilies and cattails.

Some of the characteristic large herbivores of the region include woodland caribou, barren-ground caribou, white-tailed deer, and moose. The larger carnivores in the Boreal Shield are the black bear, lynx, bobcat, and wolf. Small herbivores and herbivores include raccoon, striped skunk, eastern chipmunk, beaver, muskrat, snowshoe hare, red-backed vole, red squirrel, least chipmunk, porcupine, woodchuck, southern bog lemming and arctic hare. They are in turn preyed upon such smaller carnivores as the marten, short-tailed weasel, fisher, ermine, mink, river otter, coyote, and red fox.

Aquatic mammals found off of the eastern coast of the ecozone include grey seal, harp seal, hooded seal, ringed seal , sperm whale, orca, Atlantic pilot whale, fin whale, blue whale, northern right whale, bowhead whale,and humpback whale.

Birds of prey in this ecozone include the boreal owl, great horned owl, hawk owl, bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture, and broad-winged hawk. The yellow rumped warbler, blue jay, evening grosbeak, gray jay, common nighthawk, raven, mourning dove, cardinal, wood thrush, rock ptarmigen, willow ptarmigan and white-throated sparrow are just a few of the songbirds found here. The forests hold such species as spruce grouse, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and the pileated woodpecker. Spring brings large flocks of waterbirds to nest and breed in the wetlands or just to feed for the rest of their migration further north. They include the common loon, sandhill cranes, hooded merganser, American black duck, wood duck, Canada goose, great blue heron, ring-necked duck, and bufflehead. Shorebirds and seabirds found off the eastern coast include the herring gull, double-crested cormorant, and Atlantic puffin, along with various murre, eider, tern and pelican species.

Many species of reptiles and amphibians live in the Boreal Shield. Some of the frogs and toads include the spring peeper, wood frog, mink frog, and northern leopard frog. Yellow-spotted salamanders, blue-spotted salamanders, eastern redback salamanders, and eastern newts can be found in moist areas. The common snapping turtle and painted turtle are two of the turtle species that live in the ecozone. Two types of garter snake, the maritime garter snake and common gartern snake, as well as the redbelly snake, make their home here.

Predatory fish in the ecozone include the lake sturgeon, brook trout, lake trout, northern pike, muskellunge, largemouth bass, sauger, and walleye. Some of the fish that they prey upon include cisco, (lake herring), blackfin cisco, lake whitefish, rainbow smelt, lake chub, golden shiner, and yellow perch. Anadramous fish, which live in the ocean but enter freshwater to spawn, include the silver lamprey, northern brook lamprey, American brook lamprey, sea lamprey, alewife and Atlantic salmon.

The valve snail, ordinary spire snail, eastern elliptio, arctic-alpine fingernail clam, and globular pea clam are just a few of the mollusc species in the Boreal Shield.

Insects are common in the Boreal Shield; some of the species include the German cockroach, red turpentine beetle, boreal spittlebug, spring azure, American copper, monarch butterfly, mourning cloak, and bush katydid.

Taiga shield[edit | edit source]

A patchwork of wetlands, meadows, and shrublands covers this area. The northern edge of the ecozone is delineated by the tree line, and it is north of this that the more typical arctic tundra begins.

Trees in the Taiga Shield include black spruce, jack pine, green alder, paper birch, willow, tamarack, white spruce, balsam fir, trembling aspen, balsam poplar, white birch, and dwarf birch.

Other plants in the area include ericaceous shrubs, cottongrass, lichen, moss, sedge, sphagnum moss, Labrador tea, feathermoss, northern Labrador tea, yellow pond lily, cattail, water parsnip, water smartweed, water horsetail, water arum, marsh five-finger, ground juniper, kinnikinick, lichens, goldenrod, grass of Parnassus, shrubby cinqfoil, sweet gale, northern comandra, wild rose, wood horsetail, wild chives, twinflower, feathermoss, soapberry, cupidberry, crowberry, bearberry, high-bush cranberry, fireweed, fire snag, rock harlequin, fragrant shield fern, creeping juniper, prickly saxifrage, mountain cranberry, and gooseberry.

About fifty species of mammals are found in the Taiga Shield, including the large herbivores barren-ground caribou, woodland caribou, and moose. Wolves, black and grizzly bears and the lynx are the larger predators. Smaller predators include the coyote, red and arctic fox, muskrat, wolverine, weasel, mink, marten, otter, and least weasel. The smaller herbivores include the snowshoe hare, beaver, brown lemming, red-backed vole, northern red-backed vole, and red squirrel.

Spring migration brings a multitude of bird species through this region, including various ducks, geese, loons and swans. Some stay, but others continue north to the arctic to breed. Representative birds of prey are the osprey and bald eagle. Shorebirds and seabirds found here include northern phalarope, Bonaparte’s gull, arctic tern, greater scaup, mew gull, Characteristic waterfowl are the arctic, pacific, and red-throated loons, red-breasted merganser, and the green-winged teal. Forest birds in the ecozone include northern shrike, tree sparrow, gray-cheeked thrush, raven, red-breasted merganser, red-winged blackbird, yellow warbler, common redpoll, white-crowned sparrow, flicker, and yellow-rumped warbler. Two representative ground-dwelling birds are the spruce grouse and willow ptarmigan.

Three species of amphibians, the mink frog, wood frog, and blue-spotted salamander live here, but there are no reptiles.

The American copper butterfly is found here, as are the molluscs muskeg stagnicola, arctic-alpine fingernail clam, and globular pea clam. Those are the animals.

Intermountain Region[edit | edit source]

The Canadian Intermountain is a landscape of varying elevation and climate that has resulted in a tremendous diversity of habitat types, including desert, grasslands, shrub-steppe, riparian, wetlands, dry and moist coniferous forests, and alpine tundra. Since there are enormous variations in climate and vegetation, there are many different kinds of animals, ones that can survive in dry, desert areas, others that can live in wet, rain forests and other that habituate high mountain altitudes. The alpine tundra is too harsh for trees, yet plants and animals nestle near the ground. Although harsh in climate, there are hot springs occasionally dotting the mountains. In the subalpine area, trees are small and stunted, mostly fire and cold tolerant conifers. The bent and gnarled bodies of spruce and fir trees tell the story of hard summers and harder winters near the mountain tops. There are forests of both coniferous and deciduous trees thriving in the moderate climate. Trees such as Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, yellow cedar, white spruce, lodgepole and Ponderosa pine, birch grow in great variety because of the long growing seasons and temperate climate.

The region hosts a diverse range of wildlife: over 1,500 species of native vascular plants, 373 bird species, 43 species of native freshwater fish, 29 species of amphibians and reptiles and 94 species of native terrestrial mammals. As many as 24 waterfowl species occur here, totalling an estimated 1.6 million breeding birds. The region is frequented by 198 types of landbirds, 17 waterbird species and 18 breeding shorebird species.

Western Cordillera[edit | edit source]

Plants in the ecozone are as varied as the landforms they grow on. Vegetation that may be common in one area are often completely absent from another. Trees in the area include Engelmann spruce, alpine fir, interior Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, western white pine, Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine, trembling aspen, western hemlock, Rocky Mountain red cedar, balsam poplar, paper birch, black spruce, white spruce, and western larch. Some of the other species found here are sagebrush, rabbitbrush, antelope-bush, mountain avens, bunchgrass, pine grass, and bluebunch wheat grass.

The large herbivores include caribou, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, mountain goat, California bighorn sheep, and American elk. The large carnivores are the black bear, grizzly bear, wolf, lynx, bobcat, and cougar. Some of the small herbivores here are hoary marmot, yellowbelly marmot, Columbian ground squirrel, beaver, golden-mantled squirrel, yellow pine chipmunk, redtail chipmunk, beaver, northern bog lemming, and pika. Small carnivores that are found here include coyote, red fox, marten, wolverine, muskrat, badger, marten, mink, pallid bat, and striped skunk.

Birds of prey such as northern saw-whet owl, short-eared owl, long-eared owl, burrowing owl, cooper's hawk, red-tailed hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, northern goshawk, and turkey vulture are found here. The shorebirds and seabirds of the area include long-billed curlew, spotted sandpiper, American bittern, common snipe, killdeer, and black tern. Songbirds of the Montane Cordillera include Steller’s jay, black-billed magpie, sage thrasher, white-throated swift, red-winged blackbird, cedar waxwing, cassin's finch, house finch, purple finch, brown creeper, and American dipper. Waterfowl that are found here include sandhill crane, northern pintail, blue-winged teal, mallard, gadwall, redhead, ring-necked duck, canvasback, and Canada goose. The birds of the forest include blue grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, spruce grouse, chukar, California quail, Lewis' woodpecker, and downy woodpecker.

Some of the characteristic frogs and toads of the area are the wood frog, spotted frog, and western toad. One of the salamander species present here is the long-toed salamander. Snakes found in the region include rubber boa, common garter snake, racer, western rattlesnake, night snake, and western terrestrial garter snake. One of the lizards found here is the western skink.

Fish species that live in the ecozone include lake whitefish, chiselmouth, lake chub, peamouth, leopard dace, and redside shiner. White sturgeon and sockeye salmon both come to freshwater to spawn.

Molluscs found here include pig-toe, western-river pearl mussel, western floater, and arctic-alpine fingernail clam.

A few of the insects that live here are red turpentine beetle, boreal spittlebug, spring azure, mourning cloak, and migratory grasshopper.

Arctic Region[edit | edit source]

Arctic Cordillera[edit | edit source]

Not much can grow in the harsh conditions, where killing frosts can come at any time during the year and even soil is rare. Three-quarters of the land here is bare rock; and even lichen have a hard time to grow. Trees here are barely recognizable, always stunted versions of themselves. Plants that do grow here are usually tiny species that often grow in thick insulating mats to protect themselves from the cold or are covered in thick hairs that help to insulate and to protect them from the bitter wind.

Some of the plant species found are arctic black spruce, arctic willow, cottongrass, kobresia, moss species, wood rush, wire rush, purple saxifrage, Dryas species, sedges, Diapensia, arctic poppy, mountain avens, mountain sorrel, river beauty, moss campion, bilberry, and arctic white heather.

The conditions here are far too harsh for reptiles and amphibians to survive, and insects are also rare here.

Muskoxen and barren-ground caribou are the only large herbivores in this ecosystem, while polar bears and the arctic wolf are the only large carnivores to be found here. Smaller herbivores include the arctic hare and the collared lemming. Arctic foxes and ermines are some of the smaller carnivores found here. Marine mammals include narwhals, beluga whales, walrus, and ringed and bearded seals.

The furry-legged rock ptarmigan is a common bird in this desolate place. Characteristic birds of prey include the gyrfalcon and snowy owl. Some of the more common shore- and seabirds are the thick-billed murre, black-legged kittiwake, ruddy turnstone, red knot, black guillemot, common ringed plover, little ringed plover and northern fulmar. Songbirds found in the Arctic Cordillera include the hoary redpoll, common redpoll, snow bunting, and lapland longspur. The snow goose, common and king eider, and red-throated loon are some species of waterfowl that live here.

Northern Arctic[edit | edit source]

The entirety of the Northern Arctic lies above the tree line, so no full-sized tree species can be found here. Very few plant species can survive in these conditions. Plants are generally stunted and become more so to the north.

Some plants found here include purple saxifrage, mountain avens, arctic poppy, arctic willow, Dryas species, kobresia, sedges, cottongrass, moss, dwarf birch, northern Labrador tea, Vaccinium species, alder, alpine foxtail, wood rush, wire rush, moss campions, white arctic heather, arctic bladder campion, yellow oxytrope, mastodon flower, arctic lousewort, mountain sorrel, pygmy buttercup, river beauty, chickweed.

Only about twenty mammal species live here. The largest are the carnivorous polar bear, and arctic wolf and the herbivourous barren-land caribou and muskox. The smaller carnivores found here include arctic fox, ermine, and wolverine, while smaller herbivores include the snowshoe hare, arctic hare, brown lemming and collared lemming. Aquatic mammals that live in the waters off the coast include walrus, ringed seals, bearded seals, beluga, narwhal, and various other whales.

Most of the bird species migrate to the Northern Arctic in spring to mate, leaving in fall. Birds of prey that can be found in the northern arctic include gyrfalcon, rough-legged hawk, and snowy owl. Waterfowl include snow goose, brant, Canada goose, eider, oldsquaw duck, red-throated loon, arctic loon and king eider. Shorebirds and seabirds include the red phalarope, parasitic jaeger, red knot, dunlin, long-tailed jaeger, northern fulmar, glaucous gull, white-rumped sandpiper, black-bellied plover, and ruddy turnstone. Some forest birds of the ecozone are the willow ptarmigan, rock ptarmigan, hoary redpoll, snow bunting, lapland longspur, and horned lark.

No reptiles or amphibians can survive the conditions here.

Southern Arctic[edit | edit source]

The southern edge of the Southern Arctic is the tree line, a transition zone north of which no full-sized trees are found. Anything north of the tree line is defined as the arctic. The low temperatures, low precipitation, and high winds in most of the ecozone encourages low plants. Stunted forms of tree species such as dwarf birch, alder, arctic willow, white spruce, black spruce, tamarack, least willow, net-veined willow and blue-green willow grow here.

Other plant species that grow in the Southern Arctic include the heath, lichen, northern Labrador tea, Dryas, sedge species, sphagnum moss, cottongrass, ericaceous shrubs, Vaccinium, fragrant shield fern, shrub birch, crowberry, bearberry, moss campion, blueberry, mountain cranberry, cloudberry, and alpine club moss.

North of the tree line, life becomes difficult for animals as well as plants. Most impressive of the animals here is the caribou and their massive migrations. Many birds also migrate, though they fly over the ecozone as much as land in it.

Larger carnivores in the Southern Arctic include the grizzly bear, black bear and polar bear as well as wolves. The most common large herbivores are barren-ground caribou, woodland caribou, moose, and muskox. Smaller carnivores, such as the red fox, arctic fox, lynx, coyote, weasels, wolverine and ermine prey on smaller herbivores, which include the arctic ground squirrel, brown lemming, snowshoe hare, arctic hare masked shrew, tundra redbacked vole , and beaver. Aquatic mammals include walruses, various seals, belugas, and narwhals.

Many birds migrate here in the spring to breed, but spend the long cold winters further south. Many others pass over the Southern Arctic during their migrations to breed still further north. Four characteristic birds of prey include the snowy owl, gyrfalcon, osprey, and rough-legged hawk. Waterfowl that can be found here include Canada goose, yellow-billed loon, arctic loon, red-throated loon, tundra swan, whistling swan, snow goose, oldsquaw duck and sea ducks. Some common shorebirds and seabirds in the Southern Arctic are the semi-palmated plover, red-necked phalarope, lapland longspur, parasitic jaeger, and semi-palmated plover. Songbirds also live here, including the snow bunting, raven, American tree sparrow, and hoary redpoll. Willow ptarmigan, rock ptarmigan and spruce grouse are a few of the ground-dwelling birds.

This ecozone is too harsh for either reptiles or amphibians to live in.

Three species of molluscs that live in the Southern Arctic are the muskeg stagnicola, arctic-alpine fingernail clam, and globular pea clam.

Sources[edit | edit source]

The Geography of the Lands

Geography of the Lands[edit | edit source]

Canada is the second largest country in the world, encompassing 9,970,610 km² of land. It is surrounded by three oceans, the Arctic, the Pacific, and the Atlantic. Canada is comprised of ten provinces and three territories, the provinces all lying in the South, and the territories in the North. Canada’s climate is fairly moderate, with temperate weather to Arctic conditions in the North. It also has a mild terrain, generally having flatlands, with mountainous areas in the West, and lowlands in the East. There are eight physical regions in Canada, the Appalachian Region, the Coastal Plains, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Interior Plains, the Canadian Shield, the Western Cordillera, the Intermountain Region, and the Arctic. When Europeans came to Canada, they altered the physical environment, changing the wilderness to a more urban setting.

Coastal Plains[edit | edit source]

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Coastal Plains are a low-land area along the East coast. It is separated from the inland by other features (mountains, rivers). It is roughly 3200 km long, and 50 to 100;km wide.

Topography[edit | edit source]

Consists of flat or gently rolling hills. As well, swamps and marshes are common because most of the land is between 30 and 200 m above sea level. The Mississippi Delta is found in the gulf of the Coastal Plains. It creates a great stretch of fertile land. Rivers carry sediment across the plains. This sediment is either; left behind in places and eventually forms floodplains, or carried to and left in river mouths/shallow water and form deltas.

Climate[edit | edit source]

The climate in the coastal plain region varies greatly. In the North there are long and snowy winters, and hot, humid summers. In the South, there is a sub-tropical climate, with mild- warm winters. There are also hurricanes from late summer to early winter, violent storms with winds between 120 and 240 km/h, formed over large bodies of water.

Vegetation[edit | edit source]

The soils in the Coastal Plains region are extremely sandy; therefore the plants that grow there adapt to that environment.There are a variety of species in the Coastal Plains The land was originally pine forests, but in some places, such as Mexico, lush rainforests have grown.

Interior Plains[edit | edit source]

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Interior Plains are very diverse, and one of the biggest regions. It also includes the "Tornado Alley", in the central area of North America. It extends northwards to the Arctic, and goes south to Mexico.

Topography[edit | edit source]

Elevations are separated by escarpments (a sharp change in elevation). The elevation gently rolls downward from west to east. The height of the land changes from 600 to 1500 meters above sea level.

Climate[edit | edit source]

The climate of the Interior Plains is very diverse. Weather is very extreme; up north, long winters and summers are short and cool, and down south, summers are long and hot and winters are cold, however there is very little precipitation. Air from the Gulf of Mexico flows north, colliding into air from Canada, creating sudden and violent weather, such as tornadoes, blizzards, and hailstorms.

Vegetation[edit | edit source]

Much diversity as with climate; up North is Tundra, which is treeless area where the ground is always frozen, and down south there are deciduous and evergreen trees. In the Prairies there are tall grasses and even some that can grow to the height of a person.

Canadian Shield[edit | edit source]

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Canadian Shield is more than 2 billion years old. It contains volcanic mountains levelled by erosion. The Canadian Shield covers Labrador, the Great Lakes, and the Interior Plains of Canada, and surrounds Hudson Bay and James Bay. It has valuable mineral deposits easily found due to glaciers stripping the top layer of the land.

Topography[edit | edit source]

There is barren rock left behind by glaciers in the Ice Age. Glacier debris dammed up rivers and forced changes in the direction of their flow, resulting in a chaotic pattern of rivers, lakes, swamps, and muskegs, also known as bogs. Elevation ranges from 100 to 500 metres above sea level. The elevation is low in the centre and north, but higher in the south. Hudson’s Bay and James Bay are clay-covered lowlands, with rivers flowing in.

Climate[edit | edit source]

In the North, there are long, cold winters, and short, cool summers.

Vegetation[edit | edit source]

Boreal forest is the common vegetation. Flora in the Canadian Shield is more suited to the thin, sandy soil. There are some deciduous trees, which benefit the pulp and paper industry due to being small and weak. There are no trees above tree-line due to; the growing season being too short, lack of precipitation, and permafrost.

The Arctic Islands[edit | edit source]

The Arctic Islands is the northernmost region of earth and generally considered to be all areas above the Arctic Circle (66° 33’N). It encompasses parts of Canada, the US, Russia, Scandinavia and the whole of Greenland.

The Arctic Islands is a formidable place of bitter cold and barren lands. During the winter, its landscape is dominated by 15 million square kilometres of polar sea ice, extending between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. This is reduced to six million square kilometres during the summer. Massive glaciers, such as the 2.8 million cubic kilometres of the Greenland Ice Cap, inhabit the Arctic’s northern mountains and surround the Arctic Ocean.

Arctic Islands climate and vegetation varies greatly between regions. The Innuitian Region, a triangular shaped area mainly comprised by the Queen Elizabeth Islands, is mountainous and presently covered by glaciers. It contains the great Innuitian Mountains, composed of three ranges. In contrast, the Arctic Region consists largely of tundra (very flat lowlands). Trees cannot withstand the tundra’s low precipitation, harsh temperatures, and nutrient-poor soil, frozen with permafrost. Instead, short plants such shrubs, lichens, grasses, and 400 flower varieties sprout during this area’s 50- to 60-day growing season. Arctic plants are adapted to cold temperatures and a very short growing season. They grow rapidly in spring and remain short and clustered, sheltering each other, to survive harsh winds.

Because of the Arctic Islands' distance from the equator, the climate is very cold and there are large differences between both solstices. For part of the year, the sun either never rises or never sets. During the 10-month winter, the average Arctic temperature is – 40° C. This rises to an average of 3 to 12° C in the summer. Most areas in the Arctic receive less than 50 cm of rain per year, making this region a desert.

Western Mountain Region[edit | edit source]

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Canadian Western Mountain Region is one of Canada's most ecologically diverse regions.

The Western Mountain Region is an area that lies between the Rocky and Coast Mountains. This region is thinly populated. It consists of some deserts, high plateaus, and mountains. Many of the rivers in this area flow into somewhat salty lakes. There are only a few areas suitable for agriculture.The habitat ranges from moist coniferous forests to desert. This diversity supports a strong resource economy and abundance of wildlife. The forestry, agriculture, and mining industries, as well as the energy sector and tourism, have created a high quality of life for the region, and provide benefits elsewhere. This prosperity, however, has come with considerable land development and conversion. The Canadian Intermountain is a landscape of varying elevation and climate that has resulted in a tremendous diversity of habitat types, including desert, grasslands, shrub-steppe, riparian, wetlands, dry and moist coniferous forests, and alpine tundra. Since there are enormous variations in climate and vegetation, there are many different kinds of animals, ones that can survive in dry, desert areas, others that can live in wet, rain forests and other that habituate high mountain altitudes.

Eastern Border: The Rocky Mountains[edit | edit source]

The high jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains are due to that they are not very eroded down yet, for they are still young -- for mountain ranges. They are twice as high as the Appalachian Mountains. Signs of alpine glaciations are widely evident and in many places valley glaciers remain active. The alpine tundra is too harsh for trees, yet plants and animals nestle near the ground. Although harsh in climate, there are hot springs occasionally dotting the mountains. In the subalpine area, trees are small and stunted, mostly fire and cold tolerant conifers. The bent and gnarled bodies of spruce and fir trees tell the story of hard summers and harder winters near the mountain tops.

North Interior:[edit | edit source]

The lower region has three mountain ranges (the Columbias, the Selkirks and the Purcells) and is bordered by two others (the Monashees and the Rockies), making it a land of peaks and valleys connected by rivers and lakes. Climate conditions vary according to the nearness to water. The geography creates rain shadows where one side of a mountain may get a lot of rain or snowfall and the other side gets little or none. It also creates micro-climates, where temperatures may be warmer in valleys than at higher elevations. The winters are snowy and summers warm. The average temperature in winter is -10 °Celsius, and in summer it is 20 °C. In the southern part of the region summers are warmer and drier, with temperatures climbing to 30 °C. The average snowfall in the southern part of the region is about 170 centimetres, or 67 inches, and in the northern part it is about 200 cm, or 80 inches. The valleys to the west Grand Forks and to the east Cranbrook are considered semi-arid, because they get less precipitation than the mountains and other valleys in the region.

In the higher region, the climate consists of light precipitation, freezing winters and cool summers with long days. In the northern reaches of this region temperatures range from -13 degrees Celsius in winter to 19 °C in summer.

Mid-Interior: Wet forests and high plateaus[edit | edit source]

There are forests of both coniferous and deciduous trees thriving in the moderate climate. Trees such as Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, yellow cedar, white spruce, lodgepole and Ponderosa pine, birch grow in great variety because of the long growing seasons and temperate climate. Geographically positioned in the centre of the province on a high plateau and surrounded by mountains,the summers are dry and warm and there is much snowfall in the winter. Temperatures range from -15 degrees Celsius in winter to 22 ° Celsius in summer. While some areas are sheltered and do not receive much rain and snow, the mountains will receive high amounts, especially at higher elevations.

South Interior: Desert[edit | edit source]

The rain shadow effect greatly reduces the rain fall of the in the leeward slopes: the deserts. The rain shadow means the moist air (heavy cloud) wrings itself out on the windward side of the mountain because of condensation, and when the moist air gets to the leeward side, the opposite happens because the warmer air on that side can hold more moisture before having to dump it. The leeward side is warmer, therefore able to hold more moisture. The Thompson Okanagan Region has a plateau in the centre, and is bordered by the Cascade mountains to the west, the Cariboo mountains to the north and the Monashee and Selkirk mountains to the east. The south is dry, but the climate cools and becomes wetter heading north. This region has a four-season climate with less precipitation and more moderate winters than many other areas of the province. The summers in this region are warm, reaching 30 degrees Celsius or higher. Rainfall amounts vary from one part of the region to another, but the average annual precipitation in the valleys is about 280 millimetres. Winters are snowy, with cool temperatures that average -7 °C. Spring and fall are with warm days and cool nights because of the desert area. This region enjoys warm days and cool nights from May to September, and mild winter temperatures from November until April. The mountain ranges receive abundant snow in winter. The dry conditions in the southern part of the region create a true desert in the area around the city of Osoyoos.

Wildlife and Vegetation of this Region:[edit | edit source]

Plants in the ecozone are as varied as the landforms they grow on. Vegetation that may be common in one area are often completely absent from another. Trees in the area include Engelmann spruce, alpine fir, interior Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, western white pine, Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine, trembling aspen, western hemlock, Rocky Mountain red cedar, balsam poplar, paper birch, black spruce, white spruce, and western larch. Some of the other species found here are sagebrush, rabbitbrush, antelope-bush, mountain avens, bunchgrass, pine grass, and bluebunch wheat grass.

The large herbivores include caribou, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, mountain goat, California bighorn sheep, and American elk. The large carnivores are the black bear, grizzly bear, wolf, lynx, bobcat, and cougar. Some of the small herbivores here are hoary marmot, yellowbelly marmot, Columbian ground squirrel, beaver, golden-mantled squirrel, yellow pine chipmunk, redtail chipmunk, beaver, northern bog lemming, and pika. Small carnivores that are found here include coyote, red fox, marten, wolverine, muskrat, badger, marten, mink, pallid bat, and striped skunk.

Birds of prey such as northern saw-whet owl, short-eared owl, long-eared owl, burrowing owl, cooper's hawk, red-tailed hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, northern goshawk, and turkey vulture are found here. The shorebirds and seabirds of the area include long-billed curlew, spotted sandpiper, American bittern, common snipe, killdeer, and black tern. Songbirds of the Montane Cordillera include Stellar’s jay, black-billed magpie, sage thrasher, white-throated swift, red-winged blackbird, cedar waxwing, cassin's finch, house finch, purple finch, brown creeper, and American dipper. Waterfowl that are found here include sandhill crane, northern pintail, blue-winged teal, mallard, gadwall, redhead, ring-necked duck, canvasback, and Canada goose. The birds of the forest include blue grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, spruce grouse, chukar, California quail, Lewis' woodpecker, and downy woodpecker.

Some of the characteristic frogs and toads of the area are the wood frog, spotted frog, and western toad. One of the salamander species present here is the long-toed salamander. Snakes found in the region include rubber boa, common garter snake, racer, western rattlesnake, night snake, and western terrestrial garter snake. One of the lizards found here is the western skink.

Fish species that live in the ecozone include lake whitefish, chiselmouth, lake chub, peamouth, leopard dace, and redside shiner. White sturgeon and sockeye salmon both come to freshwater to spawn.

Molluscs found here include pig-toe, western-river pearl mussel, western floater, and arctic-alpine fingernail clam.

A few of the insects that live here are red turpentine beetle, boreal spittlebug, spring azure, mourning cloak, and migratory grasshopper.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Lowland[edit | edit source]

The great lakes and the St. Lawrence Lowland are a small region in eastern Canada spanning the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. They were created by glacial movement during the last Ice Age. This region is the smallest in North America, only 180,000 km².

Topography[edit | edit source]

The Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Lowland have a rolling landscape created when the glaciers retreated and corroded the landscape. Elevation varies from 100 to 400 metres above sea level.

The St Lawrence Lowland has flat plains on either side of the St. Lawrence river. These flat plains rise into the Canadian Shield and the Appalachians Although it is small, it is the home of Canada's most populated cities/area, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. The Great Lakes are Canada's biggest source of fresh water, however, it is contaminated from surrounding cities.

Climate[edit | edit source]

The great lakes region is very humid because of the Great Lakes. They store heat in the winter and cold in the summer.This climate allows for good growing season for crops. On average, around 100 cm of rain or snow is received every year.Winters get down to -30 degrees and up to 35 degrees in the summer

Vegetation[edit | edit source]

The long growing season and fertile lands left over from the glacier allow for lots of crops and fruit to be grown. Some of the crops grown in Western Ontario and Southern Quebec are tobacco, peaches, cherries, grapes, apples, hay, vegetables, such as carrots, corn, onions, beets, peas and beans. St Lawrence Lowland has lots of ranching which supply butter, cheese and meat for the region. The Great Lakes are home to a broad leaf forest, and the Lowland has a mixed forest of conifers and deciduous. Grass is also plentiful. Although not vegetation, fresh water is also a huge resource to the Great Lakes region.

The Appalachian Highlands of Canada[edit | edit source]

The Appalachian Highlands of Canada is a vast, mountainous area along the east coast. Some of the oldest fold mountains in the world (created by colliding plates) traverse the land in an almost unbroken line. The region extends through Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Climate[edit | edit source]

The Appalachian Highlands climate is controlled by two major ocean currents. The Arctic sends cold water south through the Labrador Current, bringing freezing winter temperatures to the Northern areas. Warm Caribbean water is propelled through the Gulf Stream to the coast of North America by before diverging towards Europe. The meeting of these two water bodies – warm and cold- offers an abundance of plankton and microscopic organisms, encouraging the growth of fish populations. In colonial days, the multitude of fish found in the Appalachian Region was a chief attraction for colonization. Although chronic over fishing has virtually eliminated many of these stocks, the Appalachians still boast a diversity of species sustained by the converging currents and climates.

Geography[edit | edit source]

The stunning Appalachian Highlands scenery is diverse, containing mountains, river valleys, parallel ridges, and volcanic rock. Many years of erosion have reduced the once jagged and steep mountains to low, rolling hills. Early colonization was slowed by this natural barrier. Rivers crisscross the hillsides, providing easy transportation. This network of waterways was once a beckon for settlement. Agriculture flourishes in the fertile plateaus and valleys. Deep in the sedimentary layers of the rock, vast reserves of oil, gas, and coal can be found. These reserves continue to be discovered and exploited.

Flora and Fauna[edit | edit source]

A wide range of vegetation and animals can be sighted in the Appalachian Highlands of Canada. Mixed forests include deciduous and coniferous trees. Star flowers, violets, aspens, mountain ashes, red spruces, white pines, hemlocks, apple trees and sugar maples dot the rocky land. Hidden among the forests and waters, many species such as bears, moose, beavers, red wing black birds, white tailed deer, blue jays, raccoons, and eastern bluebirds peek out in existence. Rich in flora and fauna, the Appalachian Highlands are a largely fertile and productive region.

The People of the Lands

Aboriginals[edit | edit source]

Modern historians believe that Aboriginals arrived from Asia 30 000 years ago by way of a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska. Some of them settled in Canada, while others chose to continue to the south. When the European explorers arrived, Canada was populated by a diverse range of Aboriginal peoples who, depending on the environment, lived caca nomadic or settled lifestyles, were hunters, fishermen, or farmers.

They lived in every region of the country. Often their survival in Canada's harsh climate depended on cooperation, sharing, and respect for the environment. They probably migrated over the Bering Sea from Siberia after the last ice age, between 10 000 and 30 000 years ago. At the time of European contact, they had developed distinct nations throughout what is now Canada with a total population of perhaps 350 000.

The Constitution Act of 1982 recognized three main groups of Aboriginal peoples in Canada: the First Nations and the Inuit, who were the first Aboriginal groups in Canada, and the Metis, who emerged after the settlement of Canada. Today, there are more than 53 distinct languages spoken by Aboriginal peoples. Most of these languages are found only in Canada.

People of the First Nations lived in all areas of Canada, and were very diverse in their cultures and lifestyles. Those who lived on Canada's coasts depended on fishing and hunting while those who lived on the prairies moved with buffalo herds which they hunted for food, clothing, and tools. First Nations people who lived in central and eastern Canada hunted and grew vegetable crops. Today, more than half of First Nations people live on reserves, where they continue to practice their traditions and cultures. Others live and work in cities across Canada, living with the rest of the general population, although some may choose to continue some First Nations practices.

The Inuit lived and settled throughout the northern regions of Canada. They adjusted to the cold northern climate and lived by hunting seals, whales, caribou, and polar bears. The majority of Inuit people live in the new territory called Nunavut and some still hunt for food and clothing.

Many of the early French fur traders and some English traders married First Nations women. Their children and descendants are the Metis people. The Metis were an important part of the fur trade and they developed their own distinct culture on the prairies.

When Europeans arrived in what is now Canada, they began to make agreements, or treaties, with Aboriginal peoples. The treaty making process meant that Aboriginal people gave up their title to lands in exchange for certain rights and benefits.

Most of the agreements included reserving pieces of land to be used only by Aboriginal peoples. These pieces of land are called "reserves". Today, Aboriginal groups and the Canadian government continue to negotiate new agreements for land and the recognition of other rights.

Aboriginal peoples in Canada are working to keep their unique cultures and languages alive. They are trying to regain control over decisions that affect their lives - in other words, to become self-governed. Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in building the future of Canada.

SOURCE: Citizenship and Immigration Canada

The People of the Lands/Inuit

Inuit refers to a large aboriginal group that live in the Arctic Regions. The Arctic is definitely a challenging climate to live in, long, bitter winters and short, cool summers. However,the Inuit have been doing it for a extraordinarily long time; this native group can trace their ancestry back to thousands of years BCE. They are also wrongly referred to as Eskimos.

The Inuit people are not actually considered to be part of "The First Nations." This term usually refers to the other indigenous people of Canada. The Inuit are included under the Constitution Act (1982) as Aboriginal peoples of Canada however.

Early History[edit | edit source]

The Inuit's history was first recorded when they conquered the previous people, the Tuniit, when they started moving east from Alaska, across the Arctic Circle at around 1000 AD. The Inuit reached the Atlantic Ocean around 1400 AD. They had an advantage over the other groups who had settled in the region because they had dogs and boats.

Because of the Little Ice Age happening around 1408 AD, the Inuit were forced to move to souther Greenland in search of food. By that time, the Inuit were struggling with their main way of living. The weather made it too icy to hunt whales in the northern Arctic, and they could not afford to live in houses of sod like they had before. Instead, they were forced to travel farther and farther down south and had to live in tents and igloos for most of the time. By 1500 AD, the Inuit had reached southern Labrador, and started their new life.

Diet[edit | edit source]

The Inuit regularly hunted, fished, and gathered their food. Tribes that lived on the coast depended more on seals, walrus and whales, whereas inland tribes hunted more caribou and musk-ox. Both tribes ate fish. They consumed a diet high in meat because it kept them warm, strong, fit, and healthy. Another reason was that they had no choice, for vegetation was extremely limited in the Arctic and trees were hardly taller than shrubs.

Every part of an animal was carefully used, including the fat. This fat was collected and used for oil in soapstone lamps. These lamps were essential for heat and light, however, soapstone lamps were hard to cook with and meat was generally eaten raw and/or frozen. The Inuit ate two meals a day, though these were informal meals and no one was expected to join in, as well as several snacks throughout the day.

The seal was the largest and most important part of the Inuit diet. Inuits ate harp seals, bearded seals, and harbour seals. Seal blubber provided a necessary source of protein and energy. During the winter, these seals were hunted through the ice. When a seal broke the ice to come up for air, they were skilfully harpooned. During the summer months, hunters went out onto the water in kayaks. Inuit hunters strongly believed in a bond between person and seal. The agreement was that seals could only be hunted to feed the hunter's family.

Other sources of protein included walrus, the Bowhead whale, caribou, and (of course) fish. Walruses were hunted in the winter and spring by groups of hunters, for the they were much to large for a single hunter. The Bowhead Whale, one of the largest animals in the world, could feed an entire Inuit community for almost a year. Nothing was wasted- every part of the whale was put to use.

Caribou were one of the few land animals hunted by the Inuit. Hunters had to carefully pursue and spear these animals. Every year, herds of caribou would follow specific migration routes, so they were easy to track. However, these animals only crossed the inland regions twice a year so hunters had to be ready. Hunters would use inuksuit (large, human figures made of stone and used for landmarks) to lure the caribou toward a shallow pit where hunters waited, or lakes and rivers where they were trapped and easy to hunt. This caribou hunt supplied the Inuit with enough meat to last the winter as well as hides and sinew (connective muscle tissue, used for cord and thread) to make clothing with, as well as antlers to make tools with. If the hunt failed or the caribou changed their migration route, the tribes faced potential starvation throughout the winter months.

Fish created an important supply of food for both inland and coastal Inuit tribes. The Inuit fished by jigging. Instead of using a hook, they would use a fake fish on their line. The bait was jerked around until other fish came to investigate, and then the fisherman could use his spear to catch the fish.

Housing[edit | edit source]

In the Arctic, the temperature can drop below -30 degrees Celsius so quality of shelter is extremely important. It must trap heat and resist the weather as best as possible.

During the winter, snow was used to build igloos, dome-shaped houses made of snow. An igloo can be built within an hour by two skilled men working with long knives. These igloos form excellent insulators for people. They are warmed by the body warmth of its occupants as well as seal oil lamp. Even though these homes are not permanent, they are safe, secure and easy enough to rebuild. Inside an igloo were low platforms made of snow and covered with twigs and fur that the people could sleep on.

When the snow started to melt in the summer months though, igloos were impossible. Instead, Inuit families moved into tents made of animal skin.

Clothing[edit | edit source]

The Arctic is a harsh, and extraordinarily cold climate so warm clothing is essential. The Inuit layer parkas, coats, trousers, stockings, and hoods all mostly made of caribou skin. Caribou fur is great for warmth because the each hair is hollow so it traps the air inside, forming an insulator. The inner layer of clothing would be worn with the fur facing outward and the outer layer facing inward to create maximum warmth. The people wear furry hoods on their heads to keep warm. Sometime babies are even carried in the convenient pouch of a hood to stay warm. Duble boots made from sealskin and mittens made from caribou hide added the finishing touches to the Inuit's winter outfit. These many layers of tough skin and fur provided plenty of warmth.

During the cool, Arctic summer, the Inuit wore the same type of clothing and simply removed the outer layer(s).

Transportation[edit | edit source]

The Inuit traveled by komatik, kayak, or umiak. At sea, they used the stars to navigate their way and on land they used landmarks. If these landmarks were inefficient, the Inuit would build inukshucks, tall human like figures made of stone.

When traveling across land, the komatik (also known as the dogsled) was used. It consisted of a light but sturdy sled frame made of either animal bone or wood that was light and could glide across the snow easily. The sled had reins that were attached to about six huskies that pulled the sled. These dogs helped tribes by not only pulling sleds but also guarding villages and using their noses to find the seals.

Kayaks were a one-person boat that was effective for hunting. It glided gracefully and quietly through the water and was waterproof. The passenger steered himself by using a long rod with a paddle on each end.

Umiaks were larger boats they could carry groups of people or families. It was 35-40feet long and covered in animal furs. For its size it as quite light though. Two men could carry its light frame.

Language[edit | edit source]

The Inuit's language, Inukitut, means "like the Inuit."

It refers to and includes the different dialects spoken by the Inuit across Canada (mostly in Nunavat). Inukitut has even been recognized as an official language in the Northwest Territories and Nunavat.

There are roughly 35,000 Inukitut speakers in Canada.

Government[edit | edit source]

Before the Canadian legal system, customary Law was nonexistent in Inuit society.

In 1954 Hoebel concluded that only rudimentary law existed for the Inuit peoples. These laws are as follows:

maligait refers to what has to be followed piqujait refers to what has to be done tirigusuusiit refers to what has to be not done

"We are told today that Inuit never had laws or "maligait". Why? They say because they are not written on paper. When I think of paper, I think you can tear it up, and the laws are gone. The laws of the Inuit are not on paper." --Mariano Aupilaarjuk, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, "Perspectives on Traditional Law"

Beliefs[edit | edit source]

The Inuit practiced a form of animism; they believed all living creatures contained a spirit. These spirits could be pleased by acting in a certain manner and so the people relied upon the Angakkuq in their community. This was not the leader of the tribe but rather a healer or priest who could give advice, treat wounds, and invoke the spirits inside of people to help them. They had the ability to see and interpret the subtle and unseen. Angakkuqs were not trained for this role, they were simply born with the ability. People strongly believed that the aurora borealis or northern lights were a way of seeing their lost family and friends dancing in the next life. It was their connection with their ancestors.

The closest thing the Inuit people had to a deity was the old woman of the sea, called Sedna. Sedna is the underwater goddess of marine animals, especially seals. The sea was believed to contain many great gods as it was such a major source of food. In order to please the Goddess Sedna, after catching a seal, hunters would remove the bladder of the animal and place it back in the sea.

Community[edit | edit source]

People in Inuit communities did have different jobs depending on their gender, however it was not always strictly followed. In general, men were expected to hunt and fish whereas women were expected to care for the children, home, clothing, and food.

Marriage was common for men once they became successful hunters and for women when they reached puberty. Divorce and remarriage were acceptable however in some communities, consent was needed from the elders.

Some communities believed in patrilineal bonds, meaning a newly wed couple would stay with the man's family and their children would be named after the man's family tree. Before moving in here however, the couple would first live with the woman's family for a year in order to let the husband and father of the bride work together.

The elder males of a family were the leaders and together formed a leading council for the community. They had the important role of passing on beliefs, history, and stories.

Modern Culture[edit | edit source]

As Inuit societies are thrust into the modern world, they are forced to adjust. Some changes have occurred however traditional storytelling, myths, and dancing still play an important role in the communities. Time spent with family and friends is still highly valued.

The visual arts have always been highly regarded for the Inuit and it continues to be. In 2002 the first film in Inukitut "Atanarjuat," was released. Mitiarjuk Attasie Nappaaluk wrote the first published novel written in Inuktitut.

Many individuals are working to keep this traditional language alive but it is slowly fading away within Inuit societies today. Technology is beginning to play a greater role in the lives of youth causing communication with the elders to be limited. Less and less Inuit people are learning to speak Inuktitut. This loss of language is part of the identity struggle among the younger generations of Inuit today. As youth are exposed to both the culture of their tribe and more and more culture of they rest of the world they begin getting confused as to what to believe, how to live. This has lead to greater suicide rates among the Inuit people.

The People of the Lands/Metis

The Métis people are a group of indigenous peoples, and the results of marriages with members of the Saulteaux, Cree, Menominee, Ojibway, Algonquin, and Inuit, to Europeans (mainly French). The Métis are also known as Bois Brûlé, mixed-bloods or half-bloods, or Anglo-Métis. They are one of the three Aboriginal groups in Canada that are officially recognized as a Native group. The Métis live in Central Canada and the Northern United States of America. The word Métis means "mixed race" in French.

History[edit | edit source]

In the 17th and 18th centuries there were two groups of Métis - one English speaking and one French speaking. Both originated during the fur trade of the 17th and 18th centuries. The English and Scottish traders and trappers of the Hudson’s Bay Company and Northwest Company often married women of indigenous nations, especially the Cree and Ojibwa. The Métis lived near Hudson Bay trading posts, often working there. At first the Métis people were not respected very well and often had to take low paying jobs with the Hudson Bay Company. These people lived originally in the Canadian Shield, a large region of central and eastern Canada that is drained by rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. French fur traders also married the native peoples in the prairies as well, making the origin for the French speaking Métis population. The French-speaking Métis populations developed in two main areas—the Old Northwest (which is now the American Midwest) and Canada. In the Old Northwest, they were the principal entrepreneurs in the fur trade. Some of the fur trade posts they established became great cities, such as Detroit and Chicago. In the early 19th century, the French-speaking Métis in the Old Northwest either moved out or were absorbed into the culture of the American farmers who moved into the area. In Canada the French-speaking Métis lived in the prairies and in southern regions of the Canadian Shield, where they overlapped somewhat with the English-speaking Métis. Métis identity as a separate nation began to take shape during conflicts with the Red River colony, a farming community established on the Red River south of Lake Winnipeg in 1812. By this time the hunting of buffalo was a major part of the Métis economy, and the Métis feared that new settlers to their land would result in them not being able to hunt the buffalo. Action was taken by certain individuals to ensure that the Métis people would have a voice on the red river region and economy. The Métis also had a large part to play in the Red River Rebellion. At the end of the rebellion, the Manitoba act was created giving the Métis freedom to live in their lands.

Territory[edit | edit source]

Other treaties also led to Métis freely living in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, Ontario, and the North West Territories, North Dakota, North West Minnesota and Montana. The Métis largely canoed to get around in their territory through river and lakes systems.

Food and hunting[edit | edit source]

The Métis lived primarily off of buffalo that lived in the prairies and also other deer and wildlife that they could trap or shoot. They also fished in the rivers and lakes, and picked berries and other vegetation. The Métis usually hunted bison with bows and arrows or they stampeded down cliffs on them. Their main food was pronghom antelope, moose, elk, mule deer, prairie bush rabbits and wild birds. They usually fished salmon, trout and pickeriel. Usually Métis women gathered berries too, and they were added to special meals.

Religion[edit | edit source]

The Métis got their religion from the settlers that came to their land. The English speaking Métis primarily followed Protestant Christianity, and the French speaking Métis primarily followed catholic Christianity. Since the Métis people were made from European settlers, they don’t really have native religion like some of the other first nation peoples.

Identity[edit | edit source]

There is a large amount of controversy over the definition of a Métis, and who qualifies and should be recognized as a Métis. The only three factors used to legally identify a Métis are: · self-identification; · ancestral connection to a historic Métis community; · community acceptance.

When the term was first created, ‘Métis’ referred to descendants of a marriage between one partner of Cree descent and another of French. Most often, it also referred to the descendants of the French Catholic Red River Métis. However, over time, the term Métis has come to refer also to those of other European and Native descent as well.

It has been debated whether the term 'Métis' should refer to people of only Cree and French descent, or of all descendants of Native and European marriage. As a compromise, 'métis', with a lower case 'm', is used to describe those of European and Native blood, while 'Métis' is used to describe those of French and Cree descent.

The People of the Lands/First Nations

The "First Nations" is the name given to the peoples descended from those who inhabited Canada at the time of its discovery by European explorers. The First Nations are organised into a number of different tribes, each with its own unique social structure and beliefs. It is believed that they arrived in North America via an ice bridge between Alaska and eastern Russia during the last ice age. Differences in geography have divided the First Nations into five major groups, each of them having different resources, technologies, and spiritual stories. Within those major groups, there are multiple tribes. The five major groups are as follows:

Inuit[edit | edit source]

The Inuit people live the farthest north of all the First Nations. Inuit ancestry goes back hundreds of thousands of years in the Canadian Arctic. Staying alive while living in the Arctic was difficult, and people lived on every last resource they could find.

Northwest Coast[edit | edit source]

The People of the Northwest Coast were very "spoiled" as far as natural resources go. They had plenty of food that could easily be stored and preserved. This allowed them to develop a complex social structure and gave them the ability to live in either their winter or summer houses.

Plains[edit | edit source]

The people of the plains moved from place to place following buffalo, their main source of food and tools. Obviously, they lived on the great plains of Canada and the United States.

Plateau[edit | edit source]

The people of the plateau lived in western Canada, but not as far west as the Pacific Ocean. They had winter pit houses and relied on hunting, gathering and fishing for food.

Iroquois[edit | edit source]

The Iroquois were located in present day southern Ontario and around the Great Lakes. They used agriculture as a primary source of food and lived in large towns sometimes containing as many as 1000 people.

The People of the Lands/Chipewyan

Overview[edit | edit source]

Chipewyan comes from a Cree term meaning ‘pointed skins,’ but they called themselves ‘Dene’ which means people. They speak a language which belongs to a branch the northeastern Athapaskan language family. Their ancestors were the Taltheilei.

Fur trade[edit | edit source]

Before the Europeans’ arrival, they inhabited the Northwest, an area dominated by the Canadian shield, along with three other nations: the Ojibwa, the Assiniboin, and the Cree. Historically, the Chipewyan lived on the tundra for parts of the year and hunted the migratory herds of Barren Ground caribou. Families would gather to form hunting groups that would coalesce and disperse with the herds. Leaders were chosen for ability, wisdom and generosity and had limited authority. Later, lured by the fur trade, they left the tundra to take up year-round residence in the boreal forests to the south. This opened up a gap in the tundra for the Caribou Inuit who had traded their traditional marine lifestyle to follow the caribou.

Because of the location of their land, the Chipewyan played a large part in establishing the fur trade. In the 1770s, guides from the Chipewyan nation helped guide Samuel Hearne’s exploration of Rupert’s Land. As posts were built around Lake Athabasca, they became the main suppliers. According to Chipewyan tradition, it was a young woman named Thanadelthur who introduced her people to the Europeans. This successful meeting led to the establishing of Prince of Wales Fort, or Churchill, in 1760 by the Hudson Bay Company for the Chipewyan fur trade. Competition in the fur trade created hostility between many first native groups, including the Chipewyan with their southern neighbours, the Cree and the Inuits, who were to the north.

Expansion[edit | edit source]

By the early 19th century, the fur trade has expanded west from Hudson Bay to Great Slave Lake. Likewise, the Chipewyan extended their territories south to the full boreal forest, where fur-bearing animals were more abundant. Some even ventured into the northern edge of the parkland to hunt bison. Not all Chipewyan worked in the trade business though, some only traded for food provisions. By late 19th century, they were occupying most of the regions they do today.

Exposure to disease[edit | edit source]

The Chipewyan’s close contact with Europeans exposed them to deadly diseases for which they hadn’t built up an immunity for. Smallpox and measles were two of the most deadly and contributed largely to native population decline. An example is the outbreak of smallpox in 1780-82 which killed off much of the Chipewyan and Cree population around Hudson Bay.

Sources[edit | edit source]

Horizons: Canada Moves West by Michael Cranny, Graham Jarvis, Garvin Moles, and Bruce Seney

The People of the Lands/Tlinkit

The Tlingit (also sometimes known as the Tlinkit although this name is considered inaccurate) were a seafaring group of first nations who lived on the many islands and the coast of Alaska.They are closely related to the Haida.

Environment[edit | edit source]

The Tlingit are the most Northern group of the Northwest coast peoples who range from Alaska all the way down to Oregon. They live in the Alaska Panhandle, surrounded by the tidewater and many coastal mountains. The heavy rainfall creates tropical rainforests and a temperate climate. The many islands off the coast of Alaska form a protected waterway, called the Inland Passage, that is ideal and regularly used for transportation and communication.

Language[edit | edit source]

Tingl, an Alaskan language traditionally spoken by people of the Tlingit ancestary, although there are many dialects of it. Today, there are approximately 700 Tinglit speakers left, most of whom are elders. Some people are still struggling to keep their native alive and learn it while they are young however.

Food[edit | edit source]

The Tlingit ate a lot of fish, mainly salmon, halibut, and oolakan. Also in their diet was seal and deer as well as an abundance of berries, roots, and seaweed. If food became an issue during the winter, they relied on clam beds. During the summer, tribes would stock up of food and dry or pickle it so it would last them throughout the winter.

Housing[edit | edit source]

People lived in large plank houses built from cedar wood.

Totem Poles[edit | edit source]

Carved from cedar wood and up to 20ft tall, totem poles had many purposes. They could be used as decoration, door posts, welcoming posts, or memorials to the dead. These poles were used to tell stories about the village or a particular family. They were commonly decorated with carvings of crests or animals such as the beaver, bear, wolf, whale, raven, eagle, and frog.

Potlatch[edit | edit source]

This is a huge ceremony and feast celebrated by all first nation groups of the Northwest Coast. The host would invite many people from different villages to come sing, fest, dance, and tell stories for several days. The host would give gifts and try to impress his guests. This potlatches were usually held to celebrate a wedding or birth of a son.

Society[edit | edit source]

The Tlingits are divided into two different tribes, the Ravens and the Eagles/Wolves. Both of these tribes have many smaller clans within it. People must marry outside of their clans; Raven members can only marry Eagle members and vice versa. When born, a person belongs to their mothers clan.

Modern Culture[edit | edit source]

Today the Tlingit share a common government with the Haida and the two groups are very similar. Most people either work in fishing or logging industries or have moved to larger cities.

Sources[edit | edit source],M1

The People of the Lands/Haida

Location[edit | edit source]

The Haida are situated on the Queen Charlotte Islands, an archipelago off the mainland of British Columbia, which they affectionately call Haida Gwaii[1] (Land of the People).[2] A few Haida are also situated on southern Alaskan islands.

Social Organization[edit | edit source]

Haida society is matrilineal. Everything is passed down through the maternal side. This includes property, titles, names, crests, and even such things as performances and songs. Out of all the Haida, there are two moieties (formerly known as clans), the Eagle and the Raven. Marriage was to occur across clans. Members of the Eagle moiety married members of the Raven moiety, and vice versa. One's membership in a clan was inherited matrilineally. Going even further still, each clan was divided into lineages, of which there are now approximately 40 occupying the two main villages Skidegate and Old Massett. Lineages are groups of families with common ancestry.[3] The chief (a title inherited from the maternal uncle) of the lineage, was responsible for lineage property.

Villages[edit | edit source]

Each Haida village was politically independent, but the Haida people have much pride in their clans, which are common ground between villages. Clan membership was promulgated through crests carven on totem poles, war canoes, masks, and other such objects.[4] Haida villages are often built on shores, in one or two rows of houses. This is due to fish being a significant factor of Haida diet and economy. Their houses were often constructed of planks of red cedar, and corner posts supported the framework of wooden beams. The entrance was often a doorway carved either into the front of the house, or into a massive totem pole in the same location, one that was decorated elaborately with lineage and moiety crests.[5]

Sources[edit | edit source]

[1]"Haida." Encyclopedia of British Columbia. 2000. Harbour Publishing. 23 Mar 2009


[2]"Haida Gwaii Tourism, Queen Charlotte Islands Tourism, Island, Information, BC, Canada." Haida Gwaii Tourism. Haida Gwaii Tourism Association, Queen Charlotte Islands. 23 Mar 2009


[3]"Haida Culture and Ocean." Virtual Museum of Canada - Musee virtuel du Canada. 24 Mar 2009


[4]Gessler, Trisha. "Haida (Native Group)." The Canadian Encyclopedia (including the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada). 2009. Historica Foundation. 25 Mar 2009


[5]"Haida Houses." Canadian Museum of Civilization. 08 June 2001. Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. 25 Mar 2009


The People of the Lands/Musqueam

The Musqueam[edit | edit source]

The Musqueam – people of the river grass- have flourished and dwindled over the past nine thousand years, just like the river grass. Before the arrival of Europeans, they lived to the rhythm of the land. They fished, hunted, gathered, and trapped for subsistence along the shores of Burrard Inlet, the Mouth of the Fraser, and the borders of English Bay.

Food[edit | edit source]

The Musqueam enjoyed a varied diet in the prosperous Greater Vancouver area. Salmon, the Musqueam’s staple diet, were caught using specialized equipment like trawl and dip nets and weirs. They were then cooked with hot stones in wooden troughs or smoked for winter. Bows, arrows, nets, and snares were used to catch deer, elk, bear, goat, and birds. Cleverly designed harpoons contained heads tied to lines that separated from the shafts upon contact. These enabled the hunting of seal, porpoise, and sturgeon. Shellfish, edible roots, berries and the wapato (a type of native potato) were gathered and harvested as well.

Winter[edit | edit source]

Their vast stores of preserved food allowed the Musqueam to live in comfort during the wet, cold winter. Elders recounted stories before smoldering fires. Ritual dances were performed accompanied by singing and drumming. These dancers often wore feathered costumes or plumed, bug-eyed skhwaykhwey masks. Feasts were savored and a host of games were played. Work that could be performed indoors was also done. Stones, bones, and wood were carved into sacred and utilitarian objects. Clothing was also sewn and objects such as nets repaired.

Village Structure[edit | edit source]

Cedar plankhouses, divided into rooms by mats, served as spacious dwellings for family groups. Outside, totem poles with life sized statues of people, birds, and beasts guarded the homes. Holes carved at the base of these totem poles allowed comings and goings. Separated from the plankhouses, smoke and sweat houses served ritual purposes of cleansing.

Trade[edit | edit source]

Trade was an important element of Musqueam life. With neighboring tribes, they traded decorative and ceremonial items - dentalia shells, mother-of-pearl, copper, iron and jade. Foodstuffs, textiles, and domestic materials were also readily exchanged.

Class System[edit | edit source]

Kinship patterns dictated the lives of the people, determining a family’s fishing, hunting and gathering rights. At the bottom of the hierarchy, slaves, captured during inter-tribal warfare, performed menial tasks for high ranking chiefs.

Death[edit | edit source]

The Musqueam did not bury their dead. Wrapped in a blanket or mats, the deceased was ceremoniously laid to rest on elevated platforms built on treetops.

Beauty[edit | edit source]

Beauty to the Musqueam was very different from today’s cover girl. Cedar boards were tied to the heads of infants and secured with a strap to the cradle in order to bend the skull into a pointed shape and attain a flat, wide forehead. Men kept their hair cropped at shoulder length. When at war or working, it was pinned in the back. Otherwise, they left it down. Women braided their hair in two from a center part. At puberty, a girl’s hairline was slightly raised through plucking.

Clothing[edit | edit source]

Clothing was fashioned from skins or cedar bark. In the summer, men went about naked while women wore a knee-length skirt of wool, deerskin, or shredded bark. Clothing for cooler weather consisted of a large animal skin, usually with the fur on. A hole was cut in the middle and a belt tied the garment to the waist. Difficult to prepare and rare, buckskin was mostly reserved for the winter dancers. Goat skin, even rarer than buckskin, marked a person’s status. Only the wives and daughters of rich men could afford to wear the aprons produced from this material.

Sources[edit | edit source]

Retrieved from ""

The People of the Lands/Cree

The Cree were a First Nations people that mostly lived on the territory of modern Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba, though they spread as far east as Quebec. Their culture and lifestyle were that of the Plains people, a large group of tribes living in the Interior Plains. There were three general types of Cree-the Plains Cree, in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Woods Cree, in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Swampy Cree, in Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

Plains Cree[edit | edit source]

The culture and lifestyle of the Cree depended largely on the bison. Bison made up a large part of their lives, including clothing, shelter, and food. Items such as clothing, cups, spoons, teepees/tipis, strings, and weapons were created using the various parts of the bison, among others.

Cree Language[edit | edit source]

The Cree language was a language of the Algonquian family. Despite not developing a written syllabary until the early nineteenth century with contact with Europeans, by the beginning of the twentieth century the Cree had one of the highest literacy rates in the world.

Spirituality[edit | edit source]

Cree spirituality was based on interactions with animals and other spirits that appeared in dreams, as was common among Native Americans.

An event called the Thirsting Dance by the Cree, and the Sun Dance by other Plains Nations, was central to Plains spirituality. The Sun Dance was an annual event, taking place in the summer generally right before the big bison hunt, as that was when most members of a nation were present in one place. The sponsor of the event would often be either a much-admired woman or a man who had experienced success in a war raid.

A lodge would be built for the ceremony, and when it was completed, the dances would begin. The dancers were those who had made a vow to the tribe. Without food, drink or rest, they danced for the several days the ceremony took place. Staying on the spot, they danced with their eyes permanently focused on the top of the centre pole. To prove themselves, the young men of the tribe would have their chests pierced with skewers of bone, which were attached by a rope to the centre pole. While dancing, they would lean back until the skewers were ripped out.

Cree in Modern Times[edit | edit source]

Today, the Cree is the largest First Nations group in (Canada), with 200,000 people members and 235 registered bands. A Cree band, the Lac La Ronge band, is the second largest in Canada.

References[edit | edit source]

Minnesota State University

Canadian Encyclopedia

Michael Cranny,"Crossroads: A Meeting of Nations"

The People of the Lands/Sekani

A bark lodge present in the few Sekani family that settled in one place more for longer than a week.

Diet[edit | edit source]

Living in the Rockies, food was hard to come by. The most common foods were:

Moose - Moose were one of the most common game in the Sekani area. Caribou - Just like moose, Caribou was very common. Bear - The Sekani's hunted bear as much as they could manage. It was very tasty and put up much more of a fight for the hunters. Porcupine - Many Sekani's were injured trying to hunt this tricky animal. It was only after they actually got one that they found out it wasn't very tasty. Beaver - Like Porcupine, the only reason that these were hunted would be lack of food or the tough skins that beavers yielded. Fish - Fish was the thing the Sekani's hated the most. It didn't fill them up, and they only hunted fish out of necessity.

The only reason the Sekani did not continually hunt Moose, was because they were in scarce quantities. Almost everything else was hunted out of hunger.

Most of the Sekani diet was constructed of protein, with very little vegetables present. Some sources say they ate medicinal herbs, to ease pain or induce sleep.

Technology[edit | edit source]

Even though these aren't Sekani hunters, it still gives you the general idea of the fishing techniques.

Bow and arrow were the prime hunting weapon, as they provided excellent speed and range. A common hunting technique would have around 10 hunters all fire arrows aimed at the head of the prey. This tactic worked very well, except on smaller animals, where accuracy was vital. They used bow and arrows on fish, where sheer numbers of arrows would be the deciding factor on the kill.

Nets constructed of willow bark or nettle fibre were used to catch fish when they could not find any other food. They did not use very many boats. The small lakes iced over enough to allow the nets to be dragged across the lake, yielding plentiful catches of ice fish. Another effective method was shallow water trident fishing.

The Sekani preferred to use almost every material but stone. The only things they used stone for were the fishing tridents and the animal hunting arrows and spears. The most popular material for a blade was a beaver tooth filed to a sharp point.

Environment[edit | edit source]

As the name suggests, these people live in harsh conditions that are the Rocky Mountains, sleeping in caves and open, unprotected brush huts. Although they almost always dwell close to clear, clean rivers, they never bathe in them because they are much too cold. Even when taking water from such streams, they must bring it into a sheltered area to let it increase in temperature before drinking.

Most prefer to stay in the plentiful area at the base of the mountain, just a few kilometers from the treeline, where the water is warm and the berries are plentiful. It is a mystery to most historians why some would choose to stay in the harsh conditions of the upper mountains. Some suspect that no competition from other tribes would be a great factor in this choice. Also the fact that the journey up to the upper Rockies is treacherous for large groups of people.

The Tse'Khene (Sekani) territory. If you compare it to the map on the left, it matched exactly with the rocky mountain estimate. (Tse'Khene is an alternative name for the Sekani.)

A rough area estimate of the Rocky Mountains.

Culture[edit | edit source]

The Sekani People have their own unique language, yet it is very similar to most Athabaskan languages. Some very brief rules are listed below:

Tone[edit | edit source]

Sekani has two tones, low and high. High is the default. That is, syllables normally have high tone. Syllables phonologically marked for tone are low.

Even though most Athapaskan tribes used tattoos, the Sekani People did not. Paint did not seem to be discluded, as it was freely seen on their ceremonial clothes and headdresses. The Sekani People lacked major gods. Instead, they believed in the connections between man and animals. They believed that each animal had a minor god associated with it. The Sekani's believed that each man had an animal protecting his spirit, and that the traits of that animal were present in that man's abilities. A man with a black bear spirit would be very strong and have a large build. Each band had a shaman. A shaman was like the witch doctor of the Sekani tribes. The shaman knew of medicinal herbs and was said to be able to cure illnesses with spirits. On the flipside, if someone offended a shaman, he could inflict sickness upon the offender.

Clothing[edit | edit source]

This Sekani pattern would have showed a family of great status. Notice the massive amounts of purple dye used in this piece.

The Sekani people used skin from every animal they hunted, including fish. They found that the skin on the heads of the fish, once dried and sewn together, makes tough, durable shoulder and knee coverings. The reason this worked for them was because the fish they hunted were used to the cold and had tough, hard skin.

Paint was a major part in clothing for this tribe. Different colors often showed how rich each family was. Purple is the most blatant example of this, as purple paint was difficult to come by. It first had to be harvested from crushed bugs, then cooked at just the right temperature so that it would turn a purple color. Too long/short to cook would mean that it would turn an ugly brown color, which is the worst possible outcome, because brown was the most common color of paint.

Books[edit | edit source]

Hargus, Sharon. (1988). The lexical phonology of Sekani. (Outstanding dissertations in linguistics). New York: Garland Publishers. ISBN 0-8240-5187-4 Mithun, Marianne. (1999). The languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-23228-7 (hbk); ISBN 0-521-29875-X.

Websites[edit | edit source]

The People of the Lands/Nootka

The name, Nuu-chah-nulth, means: “All along the mountains”.

Tribes[edit | edit source]

When Captain Cook first met these people, he referred to them as the Nootka, a mistaken name that has stuck with them for years. He grouped a bunch of tribes together all under the Nootka, yet they were different people. They all spoke the Wakashan Language with different variations from their own culture. (See language) Today, each Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation includes several chiefly families, and most include what were once considered several separate local groups.

Fourteen Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are divided into three regions:

  • Southern Region:Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht, Hupacasath, Tse-shaht, and Uchucklesaht
  • Central Region:Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Toquaht, and Ucluelet
  • Northern Region:Ehattesaht, Kyuquot/Cheklesahht, Mowachat/Muchalaht, and Nuchatlaht

Homes[edit | edit source]

Nuu-Chah-Nulth houses could be as long as 30 metres and were built with cedar beams and hand-split boards according to the same principles as Coast Salish houses. An example Nuu-Chah-Nulth house belonged to the head chief of the Tsesha'ath people who live near the present-day town of Port Alberni, at the head of Barkley Sound. The house stood in the 1800s. Although Nuu-Chah-Nulth houses were often set broadside to the beach, this house faced the beach. Below its large round doorway are ten round holes, representing ten moons. Above the entrance, two Thunderbirds face each other, and above each Thunderbird is the figure of a Lightning Snake, the supernatural servant of the Thunderbird. Above the Lightning Snake are two supernatural Codfish, facing each other.

Language[edit | edit source]

Wakashan is one of the eleven native language families in Canada. The Wakashan language family is one of the six found in British Columbia alone. Wakashan has two main branches, Kwakiutl and Nuu-chah-nulth. Nuu-chah-nulth itself is divided into three languages. The northern and central Nuu-chah-nulth groups speak dialects of one language, while the southern group (Ditidaht and Makah) speak separate but closely related languages.

Social Organization[edit | edit source]

The social organization of the Nuu chah nulth people was based on a stratified local group or lineage. The chief was at the top and his oldest son was to inherit everything, including becoming the title. The chief title was hereditary, and only men could be chiefs. Primogeniture. That's what it was. The Chief's younger sons and their families made the middle class and the other families were the commoners. They also kept slaves. No slave or commoner could ever become a chief. Families were grouped and within those families, there was a recognized head of the family. Families were very important. Also, there was status within the families.

Leadership and Government[edit | edit source]

The house chief, as the central authority figure, had charge of resources within his territory, and was entitled to receive a share of everything harvested in them. Although he was powerful, maintaining his high standing was heavily dependent on the support the chief and his family obtained in the community. The chief had to provide adequate protection for his people, and if he did not, they could leave him for a better chief. Also, since he would get a share of everyone's crops and gatherings, he could live well and have big potlatches (parties). Protection and these parties appealed to the people the most. The relationship between a chief and his group can thus be referred to as a total social relationship: the chief relies on the members of his group to harvest the resources within his territory, and they rely upon him for his ability to provide them with ritual and economic security.

Religion[edit | edit source]

Although whaling was more of a hunting ritual than a religion, it was part of their religion nevertheless. The whale harpooner was a person of high rank, and families passed down the magical and practical secrets that made for successful hunting. There was also a whale ritualist using ceremonial procedures, caused whales that had died of natural causes to drift ashore. Many features of this whaling complex suggest ancient ties with Eskimo and Aleut cultures. Their religion centred on shamanism and animism. The most important Nuu-chah-nulth ceremony was the shamans’ dance, a re-enactment of the kidnapping of an ancestor by supernatural beings who later gave him supernatural gifts and released him. The ceremony served to define each individual’s place in the social order. The public performance ended with a potlatch.

With the principle of "hish-shuk-ish-tsawak" which means "All things are one or everything is connected", everything was important. Singing and dancing was part of their way of life. Story telling was important and community and family gatherings were important. Feasts and Potlatches were important.

Dress[edit | edit source]

Both genders wore cedar-bark or fur robes pinned together at the right side, and women had in addition bark aprons extending from the waist to the knees.

Food[edit | edit source]

The bulk of their food came from the sea: clams and urchins collected near the shorelines; salmon caught from the canoes as well as in and around spawning streams in fall; halibut fished in deep water far offshore; and sea mammals such as whales, seals and porpoises, all hunted from the canoes.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Dugout canoes, sturdy and heavy because they went hunting and traveling on the sea, where the waves were much bigger than in rivers and lakes. Also, they had to be strong enough to take some of the weight of whales, because they drag the whale back, tied to a team of canoes, to the village after hunting.

Keeping track of time[edit | edit source]

They actually had names for each month of the year. The moon, especially was useful in keeping track of the time of year. Obviously, the four seasons also had names. For example, summer was "tluu-piich". Knowing the four seasons served to keep one aware of one's age. Also, a coming of age for a female was very important and was marked by teachings for women delivered prior to a ceremony which marks one's coming of age (ready for womanhood). There was also a coming of age for manhood.

Jobs[edit | edit source]

Prior to contact, the communities were fully self-contained, which means that most tribes wanted for almost nothing. If there was a need, then trade was conducted with tribes who were better able to provide. Each member of the tribe were trained to perform their specified tasks. In some cases, special training took place for river keepers and for speakers, as an example.

Death ceremonies[edit | edit source]

In the old days, very little ceremony was conducted, when someone passed away, except for Ha'wiih (hereditary chiefs) or people of stature.

External links[edit | edit source]

The Nuu-Chah-Nulth: Interview with Clifford Atleo Sr., President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal council, a member of the Ahousaht.

The People of the Lands/Ojibwa

The Ojibwa are the third largest group of First-Nation Indians above the Mexican Border. The tribe currently consists of around 219,000 members. The Ojibwa are also known as the Chippewa and as the Saltueurs by the French. The tribe was associated with the name Chippewa because of a different pronunciation. If you place an "O" in front (forming O'Chippewa) the relationship is more apparent. The Ojibwa were the largest and most powerful Great Lakes tribe [1]. They were formerly located at the outlet of Lake Superior, mainly around the Sault Ste. Marie area. The Ojibwa are now located primarily in the United States of America and Canada. Ojibwa who moved to the Prairie provinces of Canada are known as Saulteurs. The tribes who were originally from the Mississagi River and moved to southern Ontario are called the Mississaugas

Food[edit | edit source]

All Ojibwa were hunters and gatherers. The hunting was done with bows, arrows, spears and clubs. Spearfishing was done at night in a birch bark canoe with the aid of flaming torches which attracted the fish. Traps, snares and deadfalls were also used to catch prey, such as deer, moose, elk, bears and small animals and birds. Fish were plentiful, along with berries, nuts, roots, seeds and the most important crop: wild rice. Their diet was low-carb and consisted of lots of protein and seasonal fruits, plant stocks and roots. The Ojibwa in the south had all of the foods above, but the climate and terrain made it suitable for agriculture. They could grow gardens of corn preservatives so they mixed their food with maple syrup as seasoning. Fishing was very important for the Woodland Ojibwa and fish, such as the sturgeon, was a big part of their diet. They rarely used horses or hunted buffalo. Dogs, however, were the only domestic animal to be served at their feasts.

Religion[edit | edit source]

The Ojibwa religion was mainly self centered and focused on the belief in power received from spirits during visions and dreams. Some of the forces and spirits in Ojibwa belief were benign and not feared, such as Sun, Moon, Four Winds, Thunder and Lightning. Bad spirits, like ghosts, witches and Windigo (a supernatural cannibalistic giant) were feared. The Ojibwa believe that the natural world was inhabited by both good and evil spirits, some of which required special treatment. A Shaman would cure the ill and perform Shaking Tent rites to communicate with the spirits. A Shaking Tent rite was a popular ceremony among the Ojibwa, Innu, Cree, Penobscot and Abenaki. The client would pay a Shaman to build his or her tent and the Shaman would enter it at dark. Singing and Drumming was used to summon the Shaman's spirit helpers, whose arrival was signaled by the shaking of the tent and animal cries. The spirits were used to cure the ill and for anti-sorcery [2]. Due to the missionization by the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church in the nineteenth century, the religious orientation of the Ojibwa was a mix of Christian and traditional native beliefs by the mid-twentieth century [3].

Clothing[edit | edit source]

Before the first European contact, the Ojibwa wore animal skins (primarily tanned deerskin.) The women wore deerskin leggings, moccasins, dresses and petticoats made of woven nettle or thistle fibers. Girls and women decorated their clothing with bones, feathers, shells, stones and dyed porcupine quills using thorn or bone needles and thread made from nettles or animal sinew. Megis Shells were used for bead work and jewelry, and also for trade and barter. The men also wore leggings and moccasins, along with breech cloths. Animal bones, claws, and teeth were strung into necklaces. Moccasins, leggings, bandolier bags, and aprons were decorated with beads and quill work. Men and women normally wore their hair long and braided. In times of war, men might change their style into a scalp lock. The Ojibwa began to wear woven clothing after European contact. The Europeans also introduced glass beads to the Ojibwa.

Language[edit | edit source]

The Ojibwa speak a Central Algonquian language which is closely related to Algonquian, Ottawa, Cree and Potawatomi. As of 2000, Ojibwe is spoken by 69,868 people[4]. There are 5 main dialects: Northern Ojibwe, Southern Ojibwe, Eastern Ojibwe, Western Ojibwe and Ottawa. Speakers of different dialects can easily converse with each other because the languages are closely related[5].

Homes[edit | edit source]

A Wigwam with a domed roof.

The typical home for an Ojibwa person was a wiigiwaam (or a Wigwam) with either a pointed roof (called a Nasawa'ogaan) or domed roof (called a Waginowaan.)It was constructed out of birch bark sheets , juniper bark and willow saplings. Wigwams are not like tipis. The structure usually took longer to put up and it was not portable like the tipi.

War[edit | edit source]

The Ojibwa often scalped other enemies, but did not torture as a rule. There was ritual cannibalism of their dead enemies, like other Great Lake warriors. As previously mentioned, the Ojibwa men would often wear their hair in a scalplock during a war.

References[edit | edit source]


The People of the Lands/Haudenosaunee

Location[edit | edit source]

The Haudenosaunee were located primarily in present-day New York, between Lake Erie and the Hudson River. They inhabited a forested area below the St. Lawrence.

The Six Nations[edit | edit source]

Iroquois isn't to be confused with the Ontario Iroquoian, which was made up of the Huron, Petun, and Neutral, along with other Iroquoian groups that lived along the St. Lawrence River, who were in fact, enemies of the Iroquois Confederation.

The confederation is made up of the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk, otherwise known as the Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee. In the early 1700s, one more Iroquoian group, the Tuscarora, joined the league so they changed the name to the Six Nations. Within the confederation, each tribe had a role to play. For example, the Mohawks were charged with defending the Eastern territory of the Iroquois Confederation. As well, the tribes weren't allowed to start a conflict unless the entire confederation was in favor of war.

Society[edit | edit source]

The Iroquois were very democratic. In fact, when Europeans settled in Canada, they started to emulate the model that the Iroquois followed. The governing system became a large influence on democracy as we know it today.

Iroquois people were also matrilineal and matrilocal. Women were generally responsible for crops and their harvest. Other duties included curing hide to make clothes, taking care of the children, cooking, and weaving baskets. Men, on the other hand, did more of the heavy work. They were in charge of clearing the land. They were also to build the longhouses, as well as hunt and carve things like snowshoes, mortars and pestles, war clubs, bowls, bows and arrows, and ladles. After marriage, Iroquois couples went to live with the bride's family. The women of each clan selected a clanmother, who in turn selected the chiefs. Even though men were hunters, statesmen, protectors, and warriors, the women were responsible for almost everything else, and tended to be the heads of their families.

The Iroquois were led by two very different types of people: the chiefs and the sachems. The Chiefs were chosen for their great skill and courage as a warrior but the sachems had to be both wise and knowledgeable about their tribe. Their strong government was carefully organized, and council meetings and gatherings were often held to discuss issues. This united system gave the Iroquois nation their power.

Villages[edit | edit source]

Certain things were taken into account when the Iroquois build their villages. A village should be built on hilltops so they could see enemies approach and utilize the height to defend themselves, in a clearing in a forest so the surrounding trees could be used to build longhouses and serve as firewood, near a supply of fresh water and near a river so that transportation would be easier.

The early Iroquois built villages of anywhere from 20 - 100 longhouses. The longhouses were built in random patterns so that if one of them caught on fire, the entire village wouldn't be burnt to the ground. Each longhouse was home to an extended family. Each nuclear family (family of mother, father, and children) occupied their own hearth within the longhouse. The villages were walled in by log palisades and surrounded by their fields, which were essential to their lives. The palisades had shelves built in, to hold rocks which would be used as a defense against enemies, and buckets of water to put out fires with.

Shelter[edit | edit source]

Longhouses, typically 30 to 200 feet long, 15 to 25 feet wide, 10 to 20 feet high were the primary shelter of the Haudenosaunee. They were made of elm bark, tree trunks, and deer tendon. They start out as a rectangular frame of wooden poles that the Iroquois worked and bend to fit in the right places. Then the frame is covered with sections of bark. Holes in the roof let smoke from cooking fires escape but they could be covered with animals skins whenever it rained or snowed. Animal skins also covered the doors at the ends of the longhouse. Finally, directly above the door opening, the Iroquois would make a mark to show which clan they belonged to.

It was dark inside the longhouses due to the lack of windows. Bunk beds lined the walls; they doubled as benches during the day. Above the beds were shelves that held things like animal skins, clothes, pots, baskets (made of wood splints), food, bowls, corn husks, and tools. Sometimes there were woven screens that would divide the longhouse into sections to give families their privacy. Those families shared a cooking fire down the center path, which would also provide them with warmth and light.

Food[edit | edit source]

The Iroquois life was very much centered around agriculture. As well as supply food, crops such as the Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) were valuable exports. Nuts and wild berries were collected and their diet was augmented by meat. The Iroquois even had maple sugar to sweeten their bread with. Only the men hunted deer, bear, rabbit, squirrel, raccoons, and fowl. After a boy killed his first deer, he was allowed to join in. Many of the plants in the forest provided them with medicine to cure deadly diseases.

Clothing[edit | edit source]

Deer supplied most of the material for their clothing. Shirts, vests, wrap-around skirts, and moccasins (which could also be made of corn husks) that women wore were made of deerskin. In the colder areas up north, they were replaced with leggings and breechclothes. Women sometimes wore necklaces of shell beads and animal teeth. During the winter, rabbit fur capes and shawls kept them warm. The men wore breechclothes during the hot summers and changed to leather leggings and tunics when cold weather came. Clothing was a large part of the Iroquois culture. They were decorated with porcupine quills, shell beads, and dyed hair, and often showed symbols representing the owner's clan.

Tools[edit | edit source]

The Iroquois made many tools to help them with their daily lives. Items such as woven baskets were used as storage or a carrying case. The mortar and pestle crushed corn to make cornmeal. Wooden cradle boards could be strapped onto a mother's back so she can tend to her infant while working. Hollowed-out log canoes made transportation a lot easier. A sharpened piece of rock tied to a minute carved piece of wood served as a knife, which had many uses, like cutting bark and scalping enemies. Spears, and bows and arrows, were used in hunting and fishing, but they were also useful in battles. Another important tool was the snowshoe. They were basically wooden frames onto which moccasins could be strapped. Snowshoes helped the Iroquois travel in winter by spreading out body weight thus keeping them from sinking into the snow. Life was hard for the Iroquois, but these tools and many others made things easier.

Recreation[edit | edit source]

Games were a very important part of the Iroquois's culture, not only as entertainment, but also to practice skills that helped them in their adult lives. One example is the game of darts. It was played during the summer between two teams. Each player would have 6 darts or spears and the point of the game was to get it through a rolling hoop. The team with the best accuracy won. A favourite among the Iroquois was lacrosse. It was played with a stick with a net at one end, a ball (usually made of wood or animal skin), and a goal post at each end on the field. The players pass the ball around and try to score points. Sometimes these games go on for 2-3 days straight. Lacrosse improved the players' aim, strength, and speed. That game is still played today even by non First Natives.

Most of the children's games involved doing things the adults did. The boys role-played as hunters and warriors, using miniature bows and arrows to shoot targets. The girls played with faceless dolls. These dolls were made of cornhusks and lacked features because the Iroquois believed that if they did, a spirit would be harmed. Playing house prepared the young girls as future nurturers. Skills gained from playing the many games and sports help the Iroquois children throughout life.

Culture[edit | edit source]

The Iroquois celebrate 6 big festivals every year. They were the New Year Festival, the Maple Festival, the Corn Planting Festival, the Strawberry Festival, the Green Corn Festival, and the Harvest Festival (Thanksgiving). Most were held in accordance with when they harvest corn, crops, strawberries, sap, and maple syrup, or during the planting season, except for the New Year Festival, which was the biggest and last 4 days. During the festivals, the Iroquois thanked the good spirits for health, clothes, food and happiness. They sang, danced, prayed and played games to the drumbeat and the shaking of rattles made from gourds and turtle shells.

A large part of native religion was curing. The Iroquois believe curing restored an individuals or a community's well-being by driving off the evil spirits that caused sickness and death. The False Face Society was perhaps one of the best known curing societies in the lower Great Lakes region. They wore masks of mythological beings carved from specially selected living trees, then painted and decorated with fibers of hair. The False Faces were believed to have powers and held ceremonies at certain times of the year to ward off disease. They danced and chanted and rubbed ashes on the heads of the sick to cure them. In return, they were paid tobacco and hot corn mush. The members were always men, however their leader and keeper of the False Faces was always a woman. The performers had to be initiated into the originally secret society either by seeing them in a dream or being cured by them.

Warfare[edit | edit source]

The Iroquois were mighty warriors. Other tribes looked to them for protection or as a deadly menace. During the French and Indian War (1754-1763) between the French and the English, they sided with the British and many historians promote the idea that if not for their involvement, North America would have been divided between the both French and the English. As it turns out, Britain conquered what is now America (later, America gained her freedom during the American Revolution) and Canada (who created its own constitution without warfare).

Mahicans/Mohawks[edit | edit source]

The Mohawks and the Mohicans hated each other so they were constantly at each others' throats. The perpetual warfare made them fierce, aggressive tribes. When they both sided with the British (against the French), the Mohicans and the Mohawks entered a state of strained peace.

In 1609, the arrival of the Dutch brought an abundance of valuable European goods. The location of the Mohican land in the Hudson River Valley made them appealing partners for trade. The Dutch/Mohican economic alliance brought prosperity to both nations. The Dutch got rich off the beautiful beaver pelts which were very popular in Europe. Likewise, the Mohicans got firearms which made them both powerful and wealthy, as they now controlled the trade monopoly in the area between the Hudson River Valley and Lake Champlain which was controlled by the French.

These factors combined stirred the Mohawks into retaliation because they were jealous of the Mohican's success, hated the pro-French Indians, were frustrated with their exclusion from the trading with the Dutch and the wampum produced in Delaware. (Wampum is a string of creamy white shells from channeled whelk; they were highly valued by the First Natives and later, the Europeans used them as a medium of exchange).

The constant Mohican/Mohawk wars were bad for business so the Dutch negotiated an agreement where the Mohawks paid the Mohicans a toll to travel through their lands so they could trade with the Dutch. The Mohawks were resentful about paying the Mohicans but this arrangement managed to last for six years, until 1624, when the Dutch trading company traded hands. They began to seek out other tribes to trade with because the beavers in the valley were disappearing from over-trapping, so the Mohicans contacted the Algonkin and Montagnais (in the northern St. Lawrence region), who were allies of the French, thus enemies of the Mohawks. When the Mohawks found out, they attacked.

In the past, the Mohicans were victorious against the Mohawks but now the Mohawks were stronger and armed with guns. The next two years were a downward spiral as the Mohican population declined to approximately 1000 and were forced to pay a toll to the Mohawks until the weakened nation surrendered its sovereignty in 1672 and become the first of the Mohawk's Covenant Chain. In the end, the Mohawks took over the control of trade in the Hudson River Valley and the Dutch were defeated by the British, who took Fort Amsterdam in 1664.

Sources[edit | edit source]

"Canada's Aboriginal Peoples: The Iroquois." UXL Multicultural. Online ed. Detroit: UXL, 2003. Student Resource Center - Gold. Gale. Gleneagle Secondary School. 11 Mar. 2009

"Iroquois." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Ed. Thomas Carson and Mary Bonk. Detroit: Gale Group, 1999. Student Resource Center - Gold. Gale. Gleneagle Secondary School. 11 Mar. 2009

Crossroads: A Meeting of Nation by Michael Cranny with contributions by Graham Jarvis

The People of the Lands/Okanagon

Region[edit | edit source]

The Okanagan people occupy a region spanning 690,000 sq. kilometers form Modern day Revelstoke to Orville Washington, and from the Nicola valley to Kootney lake. They used the Okanagan and Columbian rivers to transport through their territory. In 1846, the American tribe branched off in the Oregon Treaty, and although they are officially Okanagan first nations, they have little to do with the Canadian tribes.

Tribes[edit | edit source]

Westbank First Nation (Kelowna) Lower Similkameen Indian Band (Keremeos) Upper Similkameen Indian Band (Keremeos) Osoyoos Indian Band Penticton Indian Band Okanagan Indian Band (Vernon) Upper Nicola Indian Band (Merritt) - also part of the Nicola Tribal Association Conferated Tribes of the Colville (USA)

Government[edit | edit source]

The Okanogan people have formed the Okanogan Nation alliance, and the American portion managed by the Colville Indian reserve. Tribes in the Okanogan Nation Alliance include the Okanagan Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band and Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands and the Colville Confederated Tribes on areas of common concern. Each community is represented through the Chiefs Executive Council (CEC) by their Chief or Chairman.

The ONA mandate is to work collectively to advance and assert Okanagan nation Title and Rights over the Okanagan Nation Territory.

Food[edit | edit source]

The Okanagan people were hunters and gatherers, collecting local berries, fruits, and hunted deer, salmon and rabbit. The lands rivers and lakes proved very popular for hunting, and the fertility it gave produced lots of fruits and vegetables ( i.e. Apples)

Hunting[edit | edit source]

Knives or bows and arrows were used to hunt deer, elk, big-horned sheep, caribou, black bear, and grizzly bear. Smaller animals included rabbits, beaver and marmots. young boys hunted squirrels. Spears were used for beaver, and nets and hooks for fish. There were four big hunts every year. In the spring they hunted for sheep and deer. In the fall long distances were covered for sheep, elk, bear, and deer. Sometimes the hunters would be away for two months. In the middle of winter, another hunt took place for deer, and in the early spring, the last hunt was for sheep.

Shelter[edit | edit source]

The Okanagan People used brush wood and animal skins to makes shelters. They would cover wooden frames with animals skins or bunches of foliage. In the winter, more animal skins were used or underground shelters were created. A shelter would typically house two families, or a hunting party. Their shelters were beside a river in the summer, or near hunting grounds in the winter.

Language[edit | edit source]

The official language of the Okanagan people is Nselxcin , and is spoken in all Okanagan tribes.

Festivals[edit | edit source]

The only main festivals were dinners around an event that consisted of feasting and dancing. Drums and rattles were used for instruments, and although no regalia were used, there was deer rattles tied to the feet and ankles. There were usually four big dances in the year - the war dance, put on before a fight, the scalp dance, where people shared their accomplishments , the guardian spirit dance, where boys became men, and the religious dance. A sun dance was also performed on the longest and shortest days of the year.

Clothing[edit | edit source]

The full dress of the men consisted of moccasins, long leggings with belt, breechcloth or apron with shirt, cap or headband. The women wore moccasins, short leggings, long dresses with cap or headband and sometimes a belt. deer, elk, buffalo, antelope, caribou, and moose were used to make the clothes.

Religion[edit | edit source]

The Okanagan people worshiped land gods who provided them with their land and prosperity. Sacred to them is Spotted Lake, where medical miracles are said to happen.

European encounters[edit | edit source]

Europeans started to settle the Okanagan valley in the 1700s for its warm weather for growing conditions. Although no treaty has been made, there have been few conflicts between the first nations and European settlers.

From first contact the influx of settlers was slow and yet steady, and both the Okanagans and settlers worked towards a living arrangement. It was understood that the Okanagans would continue to use their traditional hunting, fishing and gathering grounds.

As settlement of the Okanagan increased, the establishment of an international border, and the colony of British Columbia joining confederation, put considerable pressure on the Provincial government in B.C. to designate reserves for Native people. This would allow for the settlers to formally own the lands they settled on.

Reserves were finally established in the early 1900′s. The Okanagan people opposed the establishment of the reserves without first having negotiated a treaty. Today the Okanagan people still affirm that the land is theirs, as no treaty has been negotiated.

References[edit | edit source],

Viking Contact

Back to North America before Europeans

The Viking Landings, talk about Red and Eriksson, the Scandinavian colonization of Iceland, Greenland and temporarily of Vinland.

Mention the historical notes of white skinned natives in Labrador and Newfoundland, also the proposed reasons for the colony's failure.

Leif Ericsson[edit | edit source]

Christopher Columbus was not the first European to discover North America. Nearly five hundred years early, Leif Ericsson or “Leif the Lucky” heard of a mysterious land to the west. He set off in search of this place and discovered the land he called Vinland. This expedition is documented in two sagas: Grœnlendinga saga and Eiríks saga rauða. They describe Erikson establishing a Norse settlement in Vinland.

Leif Eriksson grew up with his father’s adventuresome spirit and urge to travel bred within him. When he was only 13 years old, Leif’s father, Erik the Red, was banished from Iceland and so the family voyaged to Greenland. It was then that Leif first learned how to man a ship. At the age of 24, he captained his first expedition – a trip to bring gifts for King Olav in Norway. Leif came back Christian and restless for another voyage.

In an attempt to prove claims of land to the west, Leif Eriksson set off on his second expedition. Bjarni Herljulfsson, a Norse trader, had been blown far off course during his last voyage and described seeing a lush, forested land. Leif Eriksson was enticed by these tales and bought Bjarni’s ship. With a crew of 34, he sailed for 600 miles before landing on a flat, glacier covered area. Leif named it Helluland after the flat rocks. The barren place (now thought to be Baffin Island) was disappointing and he left in search of a more fertile land. Leif travelled south and came to a wooded territory with white beaches. He named it Markland or Woodland. Yet, this too did not match Bjarni’s descriptions and he sailed on once more.

Leif and his crew journeyed for two days and arrived at another land, which is now believed to be somewhere near Newfoundland. According to the Grœnlendinga saga, the salmon were bigger than they had ever seen, there were abundant pastures for cattle, and rich forests grew. One of the crew members went missing while exploring the area and came back babbling about a patch of grapes. For this reason, Leif named it Vinland (Wineland). He built at least one permanent settlement and stayed in Vinland for the winter. The next spring, Leif and his crew returned to Greenland. There are no records stating that Leif Eriksson ever came back to Vinland.

Sources[edit | edit source]

A Viking Voyage by W. Hodding Carter

The Canadian Encyclopedia: Viking celebration

BBC - History - Vikings ( )

Forward to First Contact

New France

Jacques Cartier[edit | edit source]

Jaques Cartier departed on his first voyage in 1534. He was in search of a passage to East Asia around North America. After twenty days at sea, he arrived on the coast of Newfoundland. There, he entered the Straight of Belle Island, explored the Bay of St. Lawrence, crossed to the Magdalene Islands and circled Prince Edward Island. In the Chaleur Bay, he met fifty Micmac and returned to their village to celebrate and trade. Disappointed that the bay was not the route to China as Cartier had hoped, he continued onwards. Along the coast of Quebec, Cartier surprised a fishing party of two hundred Hurons headed by Chief Dannaconna. The Hurons welcomed Cartier and he returned to their village. At that point, Cartier decided to sail back to France and bring Donnaconna’s two sons with him: Domagaia and Taignagny.

The following year, Cartier set forth once more, spurred by rumors of a large river further west. Perhaps this was the route to Asia that evaded him the year before. Cartier sailed to the Huron Village of Stadacona in present day Quebec. Dadaconna greeted him affably, but refused him passage further west. Three Huron medicine men disguised themselves as devils and warned him to travel no further. Cartier laughed and continued heedlessly. Soon, he reached Hochilaga: another Huron village. Extensive festivities followed. A few days later, Cartier decided the St. Lawrence was not the route to China and returned to Stadaconna for the winter.

Over the winter, Cartier’s men became very ill from scurvy. Out of one hundred and ten men, less than ten were strong enough to look for food. Afraid that the natives might attack them if they discovered that the French were ill, Cartier ordered his men to make a lot of noise as they traveled through the forest. This, he wagered, would make it sound as if the number of hunters were greater. If not for Domagaia, Cartier and his men would probably have perished. Domaigaia, after eating the bark and needles of a white cedar, became healthy once more. He shared this news with Cartier and a week later all of the men were cured.

Knowing that the French liked tales of riches, the Hurons told storied of a land called Saguenay wealthy in gold and treasures further north. These stories were not true but the French were easily fooled. Cartier headed back to France and kidnapped Dannaconna and his sons so that they could tell these stories to King Francois I.

Cartier hoped to launch another voyage, this time to find Saguanaya, but was impeded by France’s war with Spain. He was unable to depart until 1541. This time, Cartier was forced to serve under Jean-Francois de la Rocque, sieur de Roberval. The French visited Stadacona and built a fort at the mouth of Saguenay. The men collected what they thought were diamonds and gold, but were in reality quartz and iron pyrite. Cartier wintered at the fort (Charlesbourg-Royal). Over the winter, thirty five men were killed by Hurons angry that the French were setting up fort on their land.

The following spring, Cartier met Roberval in Newfoundland. Roberval attempted to convince Cartier to help him continue exploring. Instead, Cartier snuck back to France. There, Cartier remained. He lived in St. Malo and his nearby estate until his death in 1557 at age 66. The areas Cartier discovered would remain largely untouched by Europeans until the next century.

Sources[edit | edit source]


Canada's Obligation[edit | edit source]

By the 1860s, Great Britain became really concerned that Canada was more of a shining star than an asset to the Empire. British politicians did not like the expense of providing for the defence of the North American colonies from real or perceived threats from the Americans. The American Civil War only heightened fears in Canada of a potential invasion.

Americans, on the other hand, always seemed to have a group of people willing to go to war with Britain and invade British North America, often in high places (for example, Lincoln's Secretary of State, Seward). Britain's trade with the United States at this time had simply become too valuable to jeopardize by maintaining a colonial system in British North America, so prominent British politicians began the process of pushing Canada "out of the nest," so to speak.

However, the process was not simple. British North America consisted of no less than seven colonies, and the vast territory of Rupert's Land owned and run by Hudson's Bay Company. Uniting this area would prove to be difficult.

--- The following passage is inaccurate -- Confederation was achieved for many reasons. Canada West and Canada East felt that uniting the colonies would help make all of the colonies stronger, more economically stable, and would make the government system more fair. The maritimes, who were having a boom period, were disinclined to join confederation. They wanted to join together the maritime colonies and have a separate country for only them, however, the Americans had just finished the Civil War, and had about as many soldiers as all the colonies that were thinking about confederation did combined, and posed a real threat to the colonies. The maritimes thought about it, and with the help of a conference with John A. Macdonald decided to join confederation. The only maritime colonies that didn't join were Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, which would join later on. At the Quebec conference, representatives from all the participating colonies came together and constructed the 72 Resolutions which outlined all of the laws that the new country Canada would have.

Macdonald Era

The Prairies[edit | edit source]

Rupert's Land, now called Manitoba and North Dakota, was a 300,000 square kilometer designation. This land was given to Lord Selkirk by the H.B.C. to supply food. However, the Scottish settlers had many conflicts with the Metis. The Metis felt that the settlers were on their land. In order to keep the Métis at bay, the John A. McDonald government decided that Manitoba would be allowed to be a province under specific conditions. Manitoba was founded as a province with the heavy influence of Louis Riel. He proposed Manitoba be created for the Métis, and the government obliged with the Manitoba act in 1870. The Métis were to receive title to all the land they had already farmed and an additional 5,700Km2 so their children could live on the same soil. However, McDonald then laid the foundation for a military expedition to the new founded “province” of Manitoba to control the Métis. This allowed white settlers to displace the Métis who were still waiting for the deeds to their land grants. In the same year, Riel was exiled from Canada and fled to the United States. This left the Métis without a leader. After much abuse and being subject to discrimination, the Métis fled westward into what is now Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The few Métis that stayed in Manitoba, were subject to oppression and deception. the province of Manitoba was settled by Europeans more who relied heavily on the land for their food and meager economy. When Europeans saw the vast areas of fertile land in Manitoba, they were committed to finding a way to get this land for their farms and towns. The process of negotiating the numbered treaties began in 1871 and continued until the eleventh treaty was negotiated in 1921. The Indian Act was passed in 1867. The Indian Act described an official way of trading with the native populous of Canada. Under the conditions of the Indian Act, Europeans were banned from taking land that natives owned and told to plan meetings between the natives and the European settlers if there was any trading or selling to be done. Unfortunately ,the rules set out by the treaties were rarely followed. This left the native peoples in an unfavorable state as they had little choice but to honor treaties as they had no resources to fight the Europeans with.

References:[edit | edit source]

Canadian Pacific Railway

Creation of the Railway[edit | edit source]

At the start, nobody was quite clear as to what the railway would look like. One of the main reasons for the Canadian Pacific Railway to be built was the fact that British Columbia would only join Canada if transportation between the East and West coasts was improved. As a result, John A. MacDonald promised that a transcontinental railway would be built in less than 10 years. It is thought that if MacDonald had known what the end cost would be, he may not have made the promise of a railroad. It was mostly a scheme to measure up to the United States at the time, which could only be achieved by building transportation and communication links. First, MacDonald had to find people to do the building for him. This was done, of course, in exchange for financial benefits during and after the building of the railroad. He also hired thousands of Chinese workers who would work hard, long and cheap. It is estimated that 1,500 Chinese Railroad Workers died during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway[1]. Following the initial hiring and planning, frantic railway building began. Technology to go through mountains was not available back then, and an appropriate mountain pass had to be found in order for the railway to be completed.

Many industrialists, including Jay Cooke, began to see that this railway had great economic potential. However, the only industrialist that had the money to finance a railway was Sir Hugh Allan. It was proposed that Allan take on the project and he agreed, but only if he had American support. In the summer of 1874, Allan created the Canadian Pacific Railway, a company that seemed to be entirely Canadian but was actually controlled by Jay Cooke's Northern Pacific Railway.

Through the building of this railway, a governmental lapse had occurred in the conservative party which was known as the “Pacific Scandal”. This episode resulted in the resignation of MacDonald’s government. Alexander Mackenzie and the Liberals then took power and they disagreed with MacDonald, saying that the railway was much too expensive and troublesome. Mackenzie did not provide funding during his administration, so railway building ceased for the time being. Surveys as to where the railway would go continued, however, which would be useful information for the later building of the railroad and for the knowledge of the geography of the nation. Mackenzie's "do nothing" attitude did not sit well with the people and he was soon out of office.this had to be done quickly as Canada was in danger of being assimilated by the United States.

MacDonald and his party, after recovering from the Pacific Scandal, returned back to office and created a national policy that dealt with three things: a system of protective tariffs, western settlement, and the CPR. The tariffs protected the Canadian market; giving them a sort of economic independence from the United States. The western settlement encouraged movement to the west because of the great potential for farming and agriculture. The Canadian Pacific Railway was the cornerstone of it all, though. Without the CPR, agriculture and transportation would not be successful in the west.

As the railway building got underway again, private investment was soon needed to continue with this endeavor. Private investors bought the St. Paul and the Pacific Railway and turned it around for a $17 million dollar profit. MacDonald proposed that upon completion of the railway, they would receive $25 million and 25 million acres. As soon as the contract was approved the investors changed the route of the railway, which caused much controversy, and also brought about much more control over the prairies and their new towns. The change in route also meant that the earlier surveying done when Mackenzie was in office, was then irrelevant. Things were falling apart in terms of building, and someone very exceptional was needed to take over this project to avoid failure.

William Van Horne, a manager of a smaller railway in America, was chosen to undertake this project. For four years he drove the workers and himself to complete CPR as efficiently as they could. Van Horne was thought to be the person who would help the CPR meet its building deadline. Funding became limited and Van Horne had to cut many corners, finding alternatives to the original plan. Safety was risked and working conditions dropped. The CPR was being built entirely by hand and still needed to be completed.

When the Northwest Rebellion broke out, the CPR allowed the federal government to react to the crisis as soon as possible. This helped the government to see that the completion of the railroad was necessary and it was decided that the project would be funded towards completion. The CPR was completed on November 7th, 1885. Although there were still gaps in the track. The final cost of the project was over $37 million. The transcontinental link was completed as well, by the fall of 1885, 5 years ahead of schedule.

Results and Benefits of Building the Railway[edit | edit source]

The CPR resulted in many improvements in new Canadian towns. The first necessary small hotels sprang up. The CPR also started a postal service and a telephone service. National parks were established, drawing many people toward them, especially in the areas with hot springs. The railway also drew adventurous, thrill-seeking people towards climbing the Rocky Mountains. The Prairies were available for settlement as well, and the completion of the CPR helped to draw Europeans there. Agricultural development soon took off with wheat farming and irrigation. The industrialized east coast began to transfer business along the CPR line, and used the west coast as a window to trading with the ar East. The CPR opened up the western half of Canada to many opportunities that it would not have had without a transportation system. For example, CPR workers drilling for water in Alberta discovered the first natural gas of the province in 1882.

Not only did the CPR increase the standard of living and the quality of many Canadian towns and services, but it also helped in times of crisis. As previously stated, the Canadian Pacific Railway enabled the government to react quickly to the Northwest Rebellion, a very important thing for the government to do. The CPR also helped to transport war supplies and weapons during the First World War. When the Second World War occurred, the CPR once again helped transport ammunition and supplies. In the 1960's, the CPR switched entirely from steam to diesel locomotives. The Canadian Pacific Railway then changed its name to Canadian Pacific Limited, a company that aimed to operate more than just the railway. Some of the other business ventures this company eventually got involved in and operated were mines, ships, hotels, minerals & manufacturing, telecommunications, airlines, real estate and trucking. Canadian Pacific Air Lines, or CP Air, was even Canada's largest airline for a brief period of time, when it was flying from Vancouver to Amsterdam over the North Pole.

Sources[edit | edit source]

"Horizons: Canada Moves West by Prentice Hall, copyright 1999 Pearson Education Canada Inc." - Grade 10 Textbook

The Story of the Canadian Pacific Railway

The Canadian Encyclopedia - Canadian Pacific Railway - Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.

Red River Rebellion

The events in Canadian History that the Métis peoples are most associated with is The Red River Rebellion. The Red River Rebellion (or Red River Resistance) refers to the events triggered by the provisional government formed by the Métis people of the Red River Colony (which is now Manitoba) in 1869-1870. The leader of the provisional government was a Métis man named Louis Riel.

The Red River Settlement[edit | edit source]

The Métis already had their own community set up at the junction of the two rivers, the Red and the Assiniboin. This was probably because they could have access to the waterways and canoe to places to trade. Some of the best prairie soils were there so they lived comfortably with crops and the buffalo hunt to sustain them through the winter, and because of their French background, they laid out their farms in seigneurial pattern, i.e. long narrow plots with one end on the river. Pemmican played a huge part in their lives because they ate it in the winter and while traveling and they traded it with the North-West Company for supplies.

Then the colony that Lord Selkirk decided to set up was right where the Métis lived. His colony was set up in the traditional English fashion, in square lots that paid no attention to what the land looked like. A colony in the Sahara would look very similar on a map to a colony in Hawaii. This naturally clashed with the Métis already living in the area.

Causes of the Rebellion[edit | edit source]

Three things: British incompetence, Métis pride, and both groups trying to use the same land. Well, and necessity for food/income. The British set up camp on the Red River in 1812. By the time they finally arrived, though, they realized they hadn't brought enough food, and it was autumn, so they couldn't grow anything. The Métis had pity on them and gave them food for the winter. A mistake, as it happens. The Scottish governor, MacDonnell, issued a proclamation saying all stores of pemmican, a Métis export, were to be given to the colonists. The Métis depended on the sale of pemmican for income, however, and they couldn't survive without money either. The Métis were not to be meekly forced off their land by William McDougall with a squared map, either. The colonists built Fort Douglas and Fort Garry at river junctions. These they had to build multiple times, as they were burned down by angry Métis residents.1813

HBC Changes[edit | edit source]

In 1869, the Hudson’s Bay Company sold Rupert’s Land to the Canadian Government. Upon this, the Canadian Government appointed an anti-French Lieutenant Governor named William McDougall. The Métis feared losing their rights to the land and their culture as a result of this, as many had no clear deeds to their farm land, and greatly opposed his appointment.

The Uprisings[edit | edit source]

On October 11, 1869, Riel and a group of Métis confronted and disrupted the surveyors. Later, the same people formed a group whose purpose was to represent to the Métis and people living in the Red River Settlement.

On October 25, 1869, Riel declared that any further surveyors or others sent by McDougall would be blocked from entering the settlement until further discussion.

Most of the settlement was in favour of supporting the Métis and their rights, but there was a resilient and small group of people in the settlement that formed a Canadian Party. McDougall appointed a few men to arrest the Métis occupying Upper Fort Garry in the settlement, and a man named Dr. John Christian Schultz managed to accumulate roughly 50 men to assist. Riel heard of the threat and gathered several more people to surround Schultz’s house.

Schultz and his followers surrendered as they were significantly outnumbered. On December 8th, the previous group formed when the Metis confronted the surveyors (the Métis National Committee) declared a provisional government. Ten days later, McDougall and Colonel Dennis (the man McDougall had appointed to arrest the Métis) transferred to Ontario.

With the advancements of the provisional government in the Canadian government’s absence, the Metis people seemed to be doing well. However, on January 9th, 1870 there was a prison break at Fort Garry, where those who were allied with Schultz were held. 12 prisoners in total escaped, including a man named Thomas Scott and another named Charles Mair. Two weeks later, John Schultz escaped as well, and by February, Riel had let the rest of the prisoners go free, so long as they swore to no longer interfere with the Métis. However, Scott, Mair and Schultz had every intention to do so.

Scott and Mair proceeded to the Canadian settlements and met Major Charles Boulton, a supporter of the Canadian Party. Boulton and his men planned to rendezvous with Schultz and overthrow the Métis, but he had misgivings and turned his party back. However, the Métis detected his movements, and captured him and his men. Scott was apprehended with Boulton, but Mair and Schultz managed to flee to Ontario and avoid capture.

Riel tried to have Boulton executed, but through several intercessions, he was pardoned. Scott openly bad-mouthed the Métis and saw Boulton’s pardon as a weakness on the Métis’ part. Soon Scott was put on trial, and sentenced to death for treason. Scott was executed by firing squad in March 1870.

After Events/Effects of the Rebellion[edit | edit source]

After Scott’s execution, Mair and Schultz arrived in Ontario and quickly tried to spread their anti-Métis attitude throughout the province using Scott’s execution. Still, John A. Macdonald had already realized that he needed to negotiate with the Métis. After much negotiation, Macdonald and the delegates formed the framing of what would be the Manitoba Act, which would admit Manitoba into the Canadian Confederation.

However, many Ontarians were still angered over Scott’s execution, so some time later a Canadian militia expedition was dispatched to the Red River area, now Manitoba, led by Colonel Garnet Wolseley, and was named the Wolseley expedition accordingly. Upon hearing that the militia meant to lynch him, Riel fled from the Red River as the expedition arrived, marking the end of the Red River Rebellion.

Prairie Provinces

The first province of the prairies was Manitoba. It was created under the Manitoba act which made it a bilingual place where French and English were accepted as official languages. The act created two official education systems: Roman Catholic and Protestant. Most of Manitoba was populated by the Metis, who were discriminated by the government before Manitoba became a province. Many Metis were forced to sell their land or face imprisonment.

Bison[edit | edit source]

At one time, bison were plentiful in the prairies (prior to 1874-1875). The impact the animal had on the prairies was enormous. Bison fueled the economy because their hides created clothing but most importantly, bison meat was made into pemmican which was not only traded with the Hudson's Bay Company but supplied each place with enough food for the entire year. From bison fueling the economy, bison also became the main industry in the prairies. Bison had a strong impact on the prairies, which was apparent once the bison started to become extinct in the area.

Climate[edit | edit source]

The main type of precipitation the prairie receives is known as convectional precipitation. Convectional precipitation is caused by convection currents in the atmosphere. When the air heats during the day, it expands and rises. It then meets cool air, which also warms, rises, and cools, creating a cloud of rain or hail, which falls back to Earth. Even though the dry prairies can use as much precipitation it can get, convectional precipitation is often unreliable because it's heavy and can damage crops and soil.

The southeast part of the prairies, near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, is very dry. The driest area is known as the "Palliser Triangle," named after Captain Palliser, who mapped British territory from Lake Superior to the Oregon Valley in an 1857-1860 expedition. The prairie in the northwest is moist enough to support ranching and agriculture, but never moist enough to support trees.

In Canada, the provinces of: Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are commonly referred to as the prairies. The land itself is filled with meadows and very few trees, but contains the natural vegetation of grasses and shrubs. The prairies are the agricultural centre of Canada because of their very fertile soil, which has produced such goods as canola and wheat.

Treaties[edit | edit source]

During 1870, Canada was looking for more land for European settlement and for Canadians to live on. The North-West Territories had no clearly defined border lines but the area was currently controlled by the Native people. The first negotiations for land were between W. Simpson, Indian Commissioner in the Department of Indian Affairs, and the Cree and Saulteaux. The first of many treaties to come was signed on August 3, 1874 which left the Native people with less than 60 percent of the land they originally had. Over the following years more treaties were to be signed. Native people were in the need for jobs after the treaty signings and depletion of the buffalo. The Metis were forced to learn to farm as a means of survival. Farming was aided by the government per the conditions of the treaties.

Ecology[edit | edit source]

Ground squirrels, gophers, and prairie dogs are plentiful in this region. Hawks, owls, and badgers are the predators of the gophers. Deer and antelope have replaced the bison as the largest animals in this biome. Wild fowl are found in the region's many sloughs.

The natural vegetation of the grasslands includes several types of short grasses--sagebrush and cactus in the south, and some areas of long grasses. Agriculture has completely destroyed some of the indigenous grasses. Human activity has also led to wind erosion, although there is less wind erosion on the prairie today than during the 1930s. At that time, much of the topsoil of the region was blown away after years of prolonged drought.The soil of this region are brown in colour and have a high mineral content. Depending on the length of grasses, and so the amount of humus they would provide over many years, the soils will vary from light to dark brown. The dark brown soil type is known as chernozem and is ideal for growing wheat and other grain crops.

Sources[edit | edit source]

Horizons: Canada Moves West by Prentice Hall, copyright 1999 Pearson Education Canada Inc. : History of Settlement in the Canadian Prairies

The Whiskey Traders and the NWMP

During the 1870's there were many independent companies trading whiskey to the Native peoples of the southwest part of the North-West Territories. This led to widespread alcoholism among the Native peoples, which eventually caused poverty, disease, malnutrition, and death. In 1873, the Canadian government formed the North-West Mounted Police in an effort to reduce the use of alcohol as a trading currency. By 1874, the NWMP accomplished their task of removing the whiskey traders from Canada, forcing them to flee across the border to the United States.

The Arrival of the Whiskey Traders[edit | edit source]

Aboriginals of North-West Canada were eager to trade their furs for European tools, food, and weaponry. Trading between Native peoples and the Europeans became a large part of the history of Canada and the exploration and settlement of the country.

In the mid-1800's, American fur traders began to introduce Native peoples to liquor, which had a devastating effect on their way of life. The whiskey traders traded strong, cheap liquor to the Natives, and it benefited the traders greatly, allowing them to make better deals on trade. However, it caused malnutrition, poverty, and disease among the Natives.

Many forts, such as the infamous Fort Whoop-Up, were established around the southern Canadian plains, and the traders began to illegally trade whiskey to Native peoples. The Canadian government formed the North-West Mounted Police in an effort to prevent the use of whiskey in trading with Natives.

The Formation of the NWMP[edit | edit source]

In 1873, the North-West Mounted Police were formed to protectnch and Assistant Commissioner James Macleod reached Fort Benton, and visited the fort to stock up on supplies. While visiting the fort, they were also introduced to Jerry Potts, whom they hired as a guide.

With guidance from Potts, the group reached Fort Whoop-Up, which was searched and found to have no alcohol. After leaving the fort, they traveled further west, and established a permanent fort, Fort Macleod, on the Oldman River.

Great War Era

Naval controversy

Political: Borden and Conservative gov't (1911-21)

Expansion of Manitoba (1912)and other border squabbles

French-English controversies during war

Separate schools controversy in Ontario (1916)

Canada signs onto League of Nations (signing below Britain, but signing independently)

Second World War

For Canada the Second World War began on September 10th, 1939, 9 days after Poland was attacked by Nazi Germany and 7 days after the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945.

Nunavut (1999)

Nunavut[edit | edit source]

Leading up to the 1970s, there was some discussion of splitting the Northwest Territories into two separate jurisdictions in order to better reflect the demographic character of the territory. In 1966, a public commission of inquiry on Northwest Territories government reported, recommending against division of the Northwest Territories at the time.

In 1976 as part of the land claims negotiations between the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (then called the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada) and the federal government, the division of the Northwest Territories was discussed. On April 14, 1982, a plebiscite on division was held throughout the Northwest Territories with a majority of the residents voting in favour and the federal government gave a conditional agreement seven months later. The land claims agreement was decided in September 1992 and ratified by nearly 85% of the voters in Nunavut in a referendum. On July 9, 1993, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and the Nunavut Act were passed by the Canadian Parliament, and the transition was completed on April 1, 1999. The creation of Nunavut has been followed by growth in the capital, Iqaluit—a modest increase from 5,200 in 2001 to 6,600 in 2011.

Aboriginals and the Canadian State

100 Centuries Ago-1497[edit | edit source]

  • 100 centuries ago - Aboriginals come from Asia in boats and over land bridge as Ice Age ends. Hunt mammoths and buffalo.
  • 100-50 centuries ago - Slowly societies evolve, complete with alliances, trading, war, and art. Expansion across the continent leads to settlements throughout Canada.
  • 4.000 years ago - Tunits followed caribou and muskox into the Arctic and settle.
  • 1,000 years ago - Inuit come to Arctic, Tunit mysteriously disappear. Climate is considerably warmer than today. The Inuit were the last great migration of First Nations, all the other Native populations were settled by this point.
  • 1,000 years ago - Leif Ericsson and the Norse find Canada.
  • 1,000 years ago - Leif Ericsson attempts to settle Canada but a combination of fierce Natives, rough seas, a cooling climate drive him and his people away.
  • ·1497 - John Cabot lands in Canada. Lunn, Janet, and Christopher Moore.

Late 1800's[edit | edit source]

The first treaties between the First Nations and the European Settlers were signed in 1871. These treaties were the Europeans' way of controlling the First Nations in a legal, non-violent manner. However, the terms on which these treaties were written were far from fair. The treaties asked the First Nations to sign away most of the land which they occupied in return for a grant of 600 square meters of land per family of 5 people.

Some of this land would be used for the Europeans' settlements' infrastructure. The Europeans also asked the First Nations to promise to keep alcohol off the reserves in order to help keep the peace. The First Nations were offered a small sum of money, rights to hunt and fish on their own land (which they already had), lessons in how to farm the land they were given, and schooling for the young First Nations so that they could learn to read and write English. The First Nations appeared to be selfless in their act to agree to the terms of the Europeans. However the First Nations didn’t really have a choice because their natural food sources were slowly disappearing. The First Nations needed land to get their food and an income so that if their yield that year wasn’t enough they could purchase extra food.

1948-Present[edit | edit source]

In 1948,The Canadian Government signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document states a common standard of achievement for all peoples and nations where teaching and education promote respect for all rights and freedoms. The Canadian Government had to re-examine its treatment of the Aboriginal Peoples to make sure they followed the decrees of the declaration. The government then decided to introduce the Indian Act in 1951. It allowed aboriginals to perform key cultural ceremonies, such as pow-wows and potlatches. Aboriginals were granted the right to possess and drink alcohol, but only on their reserves. The Aboriginal Peoples were also granted the right to sue the government over land claims, though none of them did successfully. Nine years later, voting rights were extended to aboriginals.

In 1969, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau tried to cut off all negotiations with any Native people in terms of land claims and treaties. However, the natives countered with a document called the Red Paper which convinced the government to change its policies.

By 1970, aboriginal civil rights were regularly discussed in the media and aboriginals were granted the right to drink outside of their reserves. 15 years later, the Canadian Indian act restored Native status to many women and their children.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Famous Canadian Women's Historical Timeline

1871 - 1875: First Five Numbered Treaties

1951 - 1981: Aboriginal Rights Movement

References[edit | edit source]

Lunn, Janet, and Christopher Moore. The Story of Canada. 1st ed. Toronto: Lester Publishing Limited and Key Porter Books Limited, 1992.


There are many myths about Canada or Canadians that are untrue or partially untrue. Many of these myths have to do with topics such as weather, culture and history.

Common myths[edit | edit source]

Myth #1- Canadians do not have paved roads.

Canadians drive cars, ride bikes, walk and use public transit to get around, just as Americans do. In some more rural areas, there are roads that are unpaved, but in most areas the roads are covered by asphalt.

Myth #2- Canada’s national sport is hockey

Canada actually has two national sports: ice hockey and lacrosse. Lacrosse claims to have been a national sport of Canada far longer than hockey. It is said that lacrosse was declared to be Canada's national sport in 1859, but no official record of that has ever been found[2]. In any event, it is worth noting that 1859 was eight years before Canada came into being as a nation.

In 1994, Bill C-121 made hockey the official Canadian winter sport and lacrosse became Canada’s official summer sport[3]. Although both sports are officially national sports, hockey is generally considered Canada’s most popular sport. Canadians also invented basketball in addition to hockey[4].

Myth #3- Canadian Policemen all dress in red.

Mounties wear red on special occasions, but are otherwise dressed in regular policing uniforms. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is best known for its musical ride where policemen perform in costume. The RCMP is Canada’s national policing force that is employed by over 190 municipalities, 184 aboriginal communities and three of Canada’s international airports[5].

Myth #4- All Canadians speak both official languages, English and French, and the words "eh" and "aboot" are commonly used by everyone.

Some Canadians have an accent that consists of saying "eh" at the end of questions, but not all Canadians speak in the same way. Canada is a large country consisting of many cultures and languages. The most popular language in Canada is English followed by French, then Chinese. There are over 100 different languages spoken at home by Canadians. Not all Canadians speak French, just like not all Canadians speak English, although both are Canada’s official languages. A 2001 census reported that 9/10 Canadians speak either French or English at home, 59% of Canadians say that English is their mother-tongue (language spoken from childhood), while 23% of Canadians say that French is their mother tongue.[6]

Myth #5- Canada is covered in several feet of snow all year round, and temperatures are always below freezing.

Although Canada does receive snow in the winter in most areas, highs above 30 degrees Celsius are often reached in the summer[7]. Canadian temperatures are extremely varied from location to location. The northern parts of Canada receive considerably more snow than cities closer to the United States border.

Stereotypes from Canadian History[edit | edit source]

Cultures and people are often portrayed in stereotypical and frequently untrue ways, due to the fact that broad generalizations are often made, despite the fact that each person is different. Many of the people belonging to each category did exhibit some or even all of the stereotypical traits at one time or another, but very few, if any, showed all of these traits all of the time. Some of the most common misconceptions about historical people in Canada are listed below.

British: Inconsiderate brutes at some times, and at other times they are perfectly saintly "good-guys." Some textbooks portray the British settlers as either destroying the Indian way of life and culture and decimating the land, or being the heroic warriors who have gained territory or other assets for their glorious country.[8] In actuality, some were inconsiderate or brutish, perhaps by nature or because of the environment they were in, but the belief that these people had no respect for other cultures was more the fact that many felt their society to be superior to others.

French: People whose entire purpose is to ruin the plans of the British and to oppose their rule of North America.

Indians (First Nations)[9]: War-loving, sneaky, savage, innocent to the point that they were robbed of their land and furs by Europeans, cheated into trading luxurious furs for cheap and worthless trinkets and beads, heathens with no faith or religion, filthy, ferocious, superstitious peoples.

Metis: Robbed of the buffalo by white settlers, when in fact they were also actively involved in the depletion

References[edit | edit source]

  1.   Dawson, Brain (1991). Moon Cakes in Gold Mountain. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Detselig Enterprises Ltd. p. 21. ISBN 1-55059-026-X.
  2. "A Short History of Lacrosse in Canada". Canadian Lacrosse Association.
  3. "National Sports of Canada Act"
  4. Bellis, Mary. "History of Basketball - James Naismith." Inventors. 25 Mar 2009 <>
  5. "About the RCMP." Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 25 FEB 2009. Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 24 Mar 2009 <>.
  7. "Climate and Weather in Canada : Trail Canada." Trail Canada. Perargo Media. 25 Mar 2009 <>.
  8. Cranny, Michael, Graham Jarvis, Garvin Moles, and Bruce Seney.Horizons: Canada Moves West. '1st ed'. Toronto, ON: Pearson Education Canada, Inc., 1999.
  9. Francis, Daniel. National Dreams. illustrated. arsenal pulp press, 1997.

Prime Ministers

# Name Took Office Left Office Party Electoral District
1. Sir John A. Macdonald July 1, 1867 November 5, 1873 Liberal-Conservative Kingston (ON)
2. Alexander Mackenzie November 7, 1873 October 8, 1878 Liberal Lambton (ON)
Sir John A. Macdonald (2nd time) October 17, 1878 June 6, 1891 Conservative Victoria (BC), Carleton (ON), and Kingston (ON)
3. Sir John C. Abbott June 16, 1891 November 24, 1892 Conservative Inkerman* (QC)
4. Sir John D. Thompson December 5, 1892 December 12, 1894 Conservative Antigonish (NS)
5. Sir Mackenzie Bowell December 21, 1894 April 27, 1896 Conservative Hastings* (ON)
6. Sir Charles Tupper May 1, 1896 July 8, 1896 Conservative Cape Breton (NS)
7. Sir Wilfrid Laurier July 11, 1896 October 7, 1911 Liberal Quebec East (QC)
8. Sir Robert Laird Borden October 10, 1911 July 10, 1920 Conservative/Unionist (from 1917) Halifax (NS), Kings (NS)
9. Arthur Meighen July 10, 1920 December 29, 1921 Unionist/National Liberal & Conservative Portage la Prairie (MB)
10. William Lyon Mackenzie King December 29, 1921 June 28, 1926 Liberal York North (ON)
Arthur Meighen (2nd time) June 29, 1926 September 25, 1926 Conservative Portage la Prairie
William Lyon Mackenzie King] (2nd time) September 25, 1926 August 7, 1930 Liberal Prince Albert (SK)
11. Richard Bedford Bennett August 7 , 1930 October 23, 1935 Conservative Calgary West (AB)
William Lyon Mackenzie King (3rd time) October 23, 1935 November 15, 1948 Liberal Prince Albert (SK), Glengarry (ON)
12. Louis St. Laurent November 15, 1948 June 21, 1957 Liberal Quebec East (QC)
13. John Diefenbaker June 21, 1957 April 22, 1963 Progressive Conservative Prince Albert (SK)
14. Lester Bowles Pearson April 22, 1963 April 20, 1968 Liberal Algoma East (ON)
15. Pierre Trudeau April 20, 1968 June 3, 1979 Liberal Mount Royal (QC)
16. Joe Clark June 4, 1979 March 2, 1980 Progressive Conservative Yellowhead (AB)
Pierre Trudeau (2nd time) March 3, 1980 June 30, 1984 Liberal Mount Royal (QC)
17. John Napier Turner June 30, 1984 September 17, 1984 Liberal Vancouver Quadra (BC)
18. Brian Mulroney September 17, 1984 June 25, 1993 Progressive Conservative Manicouagan (QC), Charlevoix (QC)
19. Kim Campbell June 25, 1993 November 4, 1993 Progressive Conservative Vancouver Centre (BC)
20. Jean Chrétien November 4, 1993 December 12, 2003 Liberal Saint-Maurice (QC)
21. Paul Martin December 12, 2003 February 6, 2006 Liberal LaSalle—Émard (QC)
22. Stephen Harper February 6, 2006 present Conservative Calgary West (AB)




Rewriting History: Louis Riel as a Hero

Horizons: Canada Moves West (Prentice Hall)


Special Thanks

  • NASA - Supplying quality public domain images of North America for diagrams.

Premiers of Ontario

This is a list of the premiers of the province of Ontario, Canada, since Confederation (1867).

The premier is the head of the provincial government of Ontario.


  Name: John Macdonald. 
  In office: 1867-1871 
  Party: Liberal-Conservative Coalition 
  Riding: Cornwall 


  Name: Edward Blake 
  In office: 1871-1872 
  Party: Liberal 
  Riding: Bruce South 


  Name: Sir Oliver Mowat 
  In office: 1872-1896 
  Party: Liberal 
  Riding: Oxford North 


  Name: Arthur Hardy 
  In office: 1896-1899 
  Party: Liberal 
  Riding: Brant South 


  Name: Sir George William Ross 
  In office: 1899-1905 
  Party: Liberal 
  Riding: Middlesex West 


  Name: Sir James Whitney 
  In office: 1905-1914 
  Party: Conservative 
  Riding: Dundas 


  Name: Sir William Hearst 
  In office: 1914-1919 
  Party: Conservative 
  Riding: Sault Ste. Marie 


  Name: Ernest Drury 
  In office: 1919-1923 
  Party: Farmer-Labour Coalition 
  Riding: Halton 


  Name: George Howard Ferguson 
  In office: 1923-1930 
  Party: Conservative 
  Riding: Grenville 


  Name: George Stewart Henry 
  In office: 1930-1934 
  Party: Conservative 
  Riding: York East 


  Name: Mitchell Hepburn 
  In office: 1934-1942 
  Party: Liberal 
  Riding: Elgin 


  Name: Gordon Daniel Conant 
  In office: 1942-1943 
  Party: Liberal 
  Riding: Ontario 


  Name: Harry Nixon 
  In office: 1943-1943 
  Party: Liberal 
  Riding: Brant 


  Name: George Drew 
  In office: 1943-1948 
  Party: Progressive Conservative 
  Riding: High Park 


  Name: Thomas Kennedy 
  In office: 1948-1949 
  Party: Progressive Conservative 
  Riding: Peel 


  Name: Leslie Frost 
  In office: 1949-1961 
  Party: Progressive Conservative 
  Riding: Victoria 


  Name: John Robarts 
  In office: 1961-1971 
  Party: Progressive Conservative 
  Riding: London North 


  Name: Bill Davis 
  In office: 1971-1985 
  Party: Progressive Conservative 
  Riding: Peel North (1971-1975), Brampton (1975-1985) 


  Name: Frank Miller 
  In office: 1985-1985
  Party: Progressive Conservative 
  Riding: Muskoka 


  Name: David Peterson*
  In office: 1985-1990*
  Party: Liberal*
  Riding: London Centre*


  Name: Bob Rae 
  In office: 1990-1995 
  Party: NDP 
  Riding: York South 


  Name: Mike Harris 
  In office: 1995-2002 
  Party: Progressive Conservative 
  Riding: Nipissing 


  Name: Ernie Eves 
  In office: 2002-2003 
  Party: Progressive Conservative 
  Riding: Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey 


  Name: Dalton McGuinty 
  In office: 2003 - 
  Party: Liberal 
  Riding: Ottawa South 

  • The Peterson Government (Liberal) from 1985 to 1987 did not have the most seats in the legislature, but had the formal support of the NDP through a signed accord without an official coalition government being formed.