Canada's First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times

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The sweep of Canadian history is both broader and deeper than standard texts reveal. When Europeans first came to Canada, they did not find a wilderness; rather, they encountered a complex, rich society composed of fifty-five individual nations--the Native peoples of Canada. But because these societies were predominantly oral rather than literate, Canadian historians generally have found it easier to ignore the early existence of Native peoples. Doing so, of course, clips short Canada's history, and it clouds our...
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Overview

The sweep of Canadian history is both broader and deeper than standard texts reveal. When Europeans first came to Canada, they did not find a wilderness; rather, they encountered a complex, rich society composed of fifty-five individual nations--the Native peoples of Canada. But because these societies were predominantly oral rather than literate, Canadian historians generally have found it easier to ignore the early existence of Native peoples. Doing so, of course, clips short Canada's history, and it clouds our view of these remarkable original cultures and their influence on the country's character. Canada's First Nations, by contrast, begins with the first appearance of humans in the Americas and, using an interdisciplinary approach, restores the full history. Although Canada's Native peoples preceded European arrival, their lives were radically altered thereafter. At first, Amerindians and Inuit cooperated with and even aided the Europeans, but the newcomers' encroachment knew no bounds. The opening of the West to fur traders and white settlers, the land-cession treaties, the Klondike gold rush, the eventual commercial exploitation of northern resources--all eroded the Native peoples' fundamental place on the land. Early trade relations were complicated by efforts to mold Amerindians to fit European cultural patterns; later Canada even inaugurated a campaign to legislate Native cultures out of existence. Far from being overwhelmed, Amerindians and Inuit from Membertou and Pontiac through to Big Bear, Abe Okpik, and Elijah Harper responded to persistent colonial pressure. Co-operative enterprises and periodic episodes of resistance characterized their early response; today they employ politically sophisticated methods to preserve territories and traditional values. The revitalization of the Native community in the continuing fight for land claims and sovereignty--dramatically expressed by the Mohawks at Oka in 1990--reminds us that an accurate perception of
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When Europeans first came to Canada, they encountered a rich, complex society of composed of 55 individual nations--the Native peoples of Canada. Dickason (history, U. of Alberta) uses an interdisciplinary approach to restore Canada's full history--beginning with the first appearance of humans in the Americas and revealing the original cultures' significant influence on Canada's national character. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
Introduction 11
Pt. I At the Beginning
1 And the People Came 20
2 Settling In 36
3 Metropolises and Intercultural Contacts 51
4 Canada When Europeans Arrived 63
Pt. II The Outside World Intrudes
5 Inuit and Beothuk 86
6 On the Eastern Edge of the Mainland 98
7 People of the Sunrise 113
8 Hurons, Five Nations, and Europeans 122
9 Huronia's Loss Is the Bay's Gain 136
10 Some Amerindian-Colonial Wars 149
11 Amerindians in the French New World 163
Pt. III Spread Across the Continent
12 Amerindians in a Shifting World 176
13 On the Great Plains 192
14 Westward and Northward 202
Pt. IV Toward New Horizons
15 Turntable of 1812-14 216
16 Canadian Aboriginal World in the Early Nineteenth Century 225
17 Pre-Confederation Administration in the Canadas 247
18 The Many Fronts within Confederation 257
19 First Numbered Treaties, Police, and the Indian Act 273
Pt. V Into the Contemporary World
20 As the Old Way Fades, the New Looks Bleak 292
21 Time of Troubles, Time of Repression 306
22 Leading to an Administrative Shift 319
23 Canadian Courts and Aboriginal Rights 339
24 First Nations at Home and Abroad 355
25 Development Heads North 366
26 Social Fact and Developmental Theory 383
27 Rocky Road to Self-Government 400
Epilogue 419
Notes 421
Bibliography 521
Index 560
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