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template banner Assignment 1: Topic Assignment TOPIC ASSIGNMENT Description: Throughout this course, you are asked to complete the activities for each unit. These activities will help to guide your reading, support your understanding of the different topics and concepts, and provide opportunities for you to consider how these topics relate to contemporary contexts. In general, these activities are not marked. However, it is best practice to complete all of these activities as the questions they ask are the basis of the mid-term and final quizzes. Given these activities are not marked, you are encouraged to share your answers with other students through the discussion forums, as this will allow others to give you feedback and for you to provide feedback to others. Excellent – A/A+ Good – B/B+ Satisfactory – C/C+ Needs Improvement D/F Subject Knowledge – /6 Subject knowledge is evident throughout the activity. All information is clear, appropriate, correct and specific to the material. Subject knowledge is evident in much of the activity. Most information is clear, appropriate, and correct, correct and specific to the material. Some subject knowledge is evident. Some Information is confusing, incorrect, flawed, or not specific to the material. Subject knowledge is not evident. Information is confusing, incorrect, flawed, or not specific to the material. Citing Sources – /3 All sources are properly cited. Most sources are properly cited. Few sources are properly cited. No sources are properly cited. Completing these answers in a comprehensive way is greatly beneficial to your learning opportunities and can provide a very strong study resource for your quizzes. In order to provide you with an opportunity to receive review and feedback from your instructor, you are asked to provide your answers to one activity for Assignment #1. General Information: For Assignment #1, you are asked to submit your answers for the Unit 1 Activity 2 questions. Discuss and provide examples of three aspects of ‘Native Studies’ identified in the Kulchyski article. Kulchyski talks about the interdisciplinary approach that Native Studies takes. What does he mean by the use of this term? Please submit a document that contains your answers for the study question. Submissions can be made through the UMLearn dropbox by accessing the course UMLearn page, clicking the Assessments tab, selecting the Assignments link, and submitting your assignment in the Assignment #1 dropbox. Submissions for Assignment #1 should answer all of the questions from the topic activity. Answers should be comprehensive and provide a clear indication of your knowledge on the topic as well as your ability to write and use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. As the topic activities vary in the number of questions and the length required to answer those questions, submissions may range in length. However, it is expected that you will not need to submit any more than 1-2 pages double spaced. Additionally, it is important to include a references page and correct APA citations for your submission. You are required to include either the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) or ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for each academic source in your reference list. Make sure to include this information for each source cited in your essay’s reference list. Assessment Rubric: Organization – /4 The sequence of information is logical and intuitive. The ideas and arguments presented are clear, well-structured, and logically connected to each other. Clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas and all information is clear and direct. The sequence of information and paragraph/ideas is mostly logical and clear. The ideas and arguments presented are generally clear, well-structured, and logically connected to each other. Most information is clear and direct. The sequence of information is only somewhat logical. Idea and paragraph transitions are confusing and flawed. The ideas and arguments presented are unclear, poorly structured, or not logically connected to each other. The sequence of information is not logical. The ideas and arguments presented are unclear, poorly structured, or not logically connected to each other. Idea and paragraph transitions and information is not evident. Originality – /3 Shows significant evidence of originality and inventiveness. The majority of the content and many of the ideas are fresh, original, accurate, and inventive. Shows some evidence of originality, accuracy and inventiveness. The work is an extensive collection and rehash of other people’s ideas, products, and images. There is little evidence of new thought, accuracy or inventiveness. The work is a minimal collection or rehash of other people’s ideas, and not very accurate. There is no evidence of new thought. Writing Style – /4 No spelling/grammar mistakes, consistent in tense, and academic expressions. Some information is incorrect and sometimes written in an informal style. 1-2 grammar spelling errors. Much of the information is incorrect & often written in a style that is difficult to understand. More than 3-4 grammar/spelling errors. Most of the information is incorrect. Five or more errors in spelling/grammar & very difficult to understand
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Unit 1 The Place of Native Studies in the Curriculum Native Studies provides students at the University of Manitoba with a broad range of knowledge related to Indigenous peoples. The purpose of Native Studies courses is to help students better understand Indigenous issues of public interest discussed at the local, regional, and national levels. In this course you will develop the skills necessary to discuss issues and participate in public discourse. Through their involvement in Native studies, you will increase your awareness and understanding of the history, cultures, world views, and contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada and develop skills necessary to discuss these issues. This course will also provide you with opportunities to enhance your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills which are important to continued study in post-secondary education, the world of work, and your role as an active Canadian citizen. By its very nature, Native Studies is integrative or interdisciplinary. For example, when you examine the terms of a treaty negotiated by an Indigenous nation with the Crown (federal government), you are combining both Native Studies and History. Similarly when you use the works of Indigenous writers to study the theme of renewal, you are combining Native Studies and English. You should also note, this is a W rated course therefore an important part of your learning and assessment in this course is your writing. What role does terminology play in terms of understanding Indigenous people? In this Native studies course, you will examine the cultures and history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. What is currently Canada is the land of origin for Indigenous peoples, and the history of Canada begins with them. As the first people of this land, Indigenous peoples are unique in and integral to Canada’s mosaic. Thus, exploration of the development and contributions of Indigenous societies is central to an understanding of the social fabric of this country. The three Indigenous groups in Canada recognized by law (Constitution Act) are First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. First Nations people appear on the Indian register (Indian Act) in Ottawa. Each person whose name appears on the Indian register is a registered Indian, who has been assigned a registration number and is considered to be a Status Indian under the Indian Act. They may or may not belong to a band. Those who do not belong to a band are on a general list. Those who do belong to a band have their name and number on a band list. The Indian Act applies only to these people. If a non-Aboriginal child is adopted by registered Indian parents, the child legally becomes an Indian. Since 1985, if one of the parents is not a Status Indian, the child has 6(2) status, which is reduction from the 6(1) status granted to those who have two Status Indian parents. People with 6(2) status cannot pass on Indian status if their child has one non-Status parent. Those who are not registered in Ottawa under the Indian Act, are considered to be Non-Status Indians. The Inuit are recognized as Indigenous people and are registered in Ottawa, but the Indian Act does not apply to the Inuit. The Inuit do not have reserves. They have received Indigenous title to the lands in the North that are recognized as belonging to them by the federal and territorial governments. The Métis are recognized as an Indigenous group in Canada under the Constitution. Legal recognition is so recent (1982) that the courts have not yet passed rulings on what rights apply to the Métis as a distinct group within Canada. The Métis were originally descended from intermarriages between First Nations and Europeans in times of early contact, but many Métis today have Métis ancestors going back several generations. The Métis are a distinct Indigenous nation; when discussing the Métis, emphasize nationhood, rather than biology (e.g. “mixed-blood” or “mixedness”). A Métis may have the stereotypical appearance of an Indigenous person, or appear non-Indigenous, or have a mixture of characteristics. The Métis do not have the same status as First Nations or Inuit. The Indian Act does not apply to the Métis. However, many Métis have suffered from discrimination because of their First Nations or Métis heritage (which will be discussed in later unit 8). First Nations people belong to distinct cultural groups referred to as Nations. Some of these cultural groups or Nations are similar while others are different (we will be discussing some of the various Nations in Unit 2). Certain First Nations people may have extensive knowledge about their culture, practicing and living it daily (e.g., living by a traditional code of ethics as implied in the ancient teachings). Others may live in much the same way as their non-Indigenous neighbours, having assimilated into the culture of the majority. Individuals may have assimilated either by circumstance or by choice. Many non-Registered Indians (Non-Status Indians) may have First Nations characteristics, and may identify with the heritage of a specific group or Nation. Though, they may not be registered Indians, they may have First Nations identified features and follow traditional ways. (They have the characteristics of First Nations people, but are not recognized as having Indian status.). A person born to Métis parents, however, may have been raised by First Nations grandparents. This individual may share the culture and appearance of a First Nations person, but would not be recognized as having Indian status. As the different cultural group members meet individuals of diverse ethnic backgrounds and produce children, the possible combinations of legal, cultural, and racial backgrounds become increasingly complex. Indigenous Peoples and Communities in Canada and Manitoba Six geographic areas populated by Indigenous peoples of common cultures existed in what is now Canada at the time of first contact with Europeans. The areas and examples of the peoples who lived in them are: Northwest Coast (e.g., Salish, Haida) Plateau (e.g., Kootenay) Plains (e.g., Blackfoot, Plains Cree) Sub-Arctic (e.g., Dene, Swampy & Rocky Cree) Eastern Woodlands (e.g., Anishinaabe, Micmac) Arctic (e.g., Inuit) In Manitoba, First Nation peoples belong to the following Nations: Dakota Anishinaabe (Ojibway) Nehiyaw (Cree) Oji-Cree Dene Other Indigenous Groups of Manitoba: Metis Inuit Indigenous Organizations: The diversity of the Indigenous population has led to the creation of a wide variety of Indigenous political and interest groups, including the following: the Assembly of First Nations (representing Status Indian peoples) the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (Representing Non-Status Indian peoples) the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (Representing Inuit peoples) the Métis National Council (Representing Métis peoples in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta & British Columbia) the Native Women’s Association of Canada (Representing Indigenous women from across Canada) Customs, Traditions and Little Known Facts – Tradition: The Language of the Circle Circles represent important principles in the Indigenous worldview and belief systems –namely, interconnectedness, equality, and continuity. According to traditional teaching, the seasonal pattern of life and renewal and the movement of animals and people were continuous, like a circle, which has no beginning and no end. Circles suggest inclusiveness and the lack of a hierarchy. They are found throughout nature – for instance, in the movement of the seasons and the sun’s movement from east to west during the day. Circles are also used in the construction of tipis and sweat lodges; and the circular willow hoop, medicine wheel, and dream catcher are powerful symbols. Talking circles symbolize completeness and equality. All circle participants’ views must be respected and listened to. All comments directly address the question or the issue, not the comments another person has made. In the circle, an object that symbolizes connectedness to the land – for example, a stick, a stone, or a feather – can be used to facilitate the circle. Only the person holding the “talking stick” has the right to speak. Participants can indicate their desire to speak by raising their hands. Going around the circle systematically gives everyone the opportunity to participate. Silence is also acceptable – any participant can choose not to speak. TRADITION: Different but Similar The Algonquian (Cree, Anishinaabe, Micmac, etc.) and Iroquoian (Seneca, Mohawk, Huron, etc.) groups are broad, language-based groups. Within each group, there are a number of different nations. Languages and dialects differ among the nations, depending on their location and traditional knowledge, and their ways of life may also vary slightly. CUSTOM: Multi-Cultural It is important for students to realize, when they are comparing and contrasting groups, that cultural groups were not and continue not to be homogeneous entities. First Nation peoples, French settlers, French fur traders, and English fur traders were as diverse within their group as they were cross-culturally. Cultural similarities were not the only factors that came into play when different First Nation groups were deciding with whom they would align. Some of the variables included, but were not limited to, geographic proximity, language, lifestyle, the degree to which First Nation groups chose to convert to Christianity, and the degree to which groups saw themselves as useful to one another’s goals. FACT: Indigenous and Mainstream Media In the past, mainstream media have often misrepresented Indigenous peoples. Media portrayals of Indigenous peoples (such as the “Wild West Indian”, “protesting warrior”, and sports team mascots) can sometimes be offensive to First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Ontario. Today, Indigenous people combat stereotypes by creating their own media on radio, on television, and in print. Many Indigenous media sources, such as the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), and local Indigenous community radio stations, magazines, and newspapers, attempt to paint an accurate, contemporary picture of Indigenous peoples. TRADITION: Giving Thanks In their thanksgiving celebrations, Indigenous people show gratefulness through prayers of thanks for the abundant gifts and provisions (animals, plants, water, etc.) the Creator has given them. FACT: Aboriginal Contributions to Technology and Invention People invent and discover technologies to meet their wants and needs. Indigenous people have made many contributions to Canada and the world through their invention of such things as petroleum jelly, chewing gum, the canoe, and snowshoes, and the growing of corn, beans and squash (plants that did not exist in Europe until after contact). Indigenous people’s inventions have allowed them to survive in their environments for centuries, and have contributed to the contemporary world. CUSTOM: Food Preservation Every group of people throughout the world has developed ways of storing food for future use. While early hunters and gatherers sometimes enjoyed plentiful and nutritious food, during periods of drought and times when access to food was limited for other reasons, they experienced famine and malnutrition. Gradually they developed preservation techniques that allowed them to store food for use during times when fresh food would not be available. People learned to preserve food by drying it – a process that allowed them to maintain a stable and varied supply of food. Since dried food is much lighter than fresh food, this preservation method had the added advantages of being ideal for journeys, such as a buffalo hunt, and easier to transport for trading purposes. FACT: Current and Historical Issues: Indigenous and Treaty Rights As the original inhabitants of what is now Canada, First Nation, Métis, and Inuit people have a variety of Indigenous and treaty rights, including land rights and the right to maintain their culture. These existing rights are protected by the Constitution Act, 1982. Numerous Aboriginal records (such as wampum belts, oral tradition) and non-Indigenous documents (such as written treaties, acts, laws, proclamations, and agreements) outline Indigenous peoples’ rights in Canada. The rights of Indigenous peoples have come into conflict with the rights of the non-Indigenous majority on numerous occasions. There are many instances, both contemporary and historical, in which Indigenous peoples’ rights have been denied (e.g., loss of rights for Indigenous women; rights to land, voting, and natural resources). (write approx. 400 words) What is Native Studies? Throughout this unit, you have learned about the core concepts of Native Studies, stereotypes, differences in terminology, and a host of other topics related to the general field of Native Studies and the experiences of Indigenous peoples.  In this unit reflection, please consider what Native Studies is (beyond just reciting what Kulchyski argues in his article) and why this field may or may not be important in contemporary Canadian society.
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Unit 2 How many people were there? In the pre-contact era, before Europeans began sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia, Indigenous peoples were distributed unevenly across the Canadian landscape. Most scholars will agree that population density varied according to the ability of the lands to support human life. However, this is where agreement ends, with the size of Canada’s Indigenous population continuing to be a disputed and debated issue today. Thoronton (1987) using a procedure called “standard hemispheric depopulation ratio” has estimated the population to be slightly more than 2 million, while Mooney (1928) estimates Canada’s population to be close to 200,000 based on tribe-by-tribe estimates from historical materials. Kroeber (1963) takes an environmental carrying capacity approach to reach a similar number, while 500,000 is the number now accepted by Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Health which is derived from averaging low and high estimates. None of these estimates have been determined using methods rigorous enough to be considered credible by the scientific community which is why the debate continues. But, there is no debate on another claim as scholars can all agree: the Indigenous population decreased dramatically after the arrival of the Europeans. Who were the original inhabitants of Canada? One way to look at the traditional cultures of Indigenous peoples is to consider the culture areas they inhabited before contact with Europeans. A culture area is a geographic region in which different peoples share similar culture traits. Canada’s first inhabitants can be divided into two cultural groups, the First Nations Peoples and the Inuit, and within these two groups subdivided further based on small divisions of geographic areas and culture. All Indigenous groups had their own unique cultures long before contact with Europeans and current media often makes the mistake of lumping all Indigenous people together. You will see that there are many different cultural groups within the blanket terms we use to refer to First Nations or Inuit. Remember that culture refers to the ways of life that a people share, language, food, clothes, tools, religion, government, and artistic expression as we are exploring these characteristics in more detail throughout this unit. The First Nations Peoples First Nations peoples inhabited five different culture areas throughout the regions known today as Canada. The five major culture areas were: Subarctic, Northwest Coast, Plateau, Plains, and Northeastern Woodlands. Each region offered different natural resources and a variety of climates to the peoples who lived there. Different First Nations within each culture area adopted similar ways of life—similar cultures—because they lived within similar conditions. However the many different First Nations peoples spoke more than 50 different languages and lived diverse life styles shaped by their particular environment. Although different most First Nations languages within a culture area were part of a language family. A language family is a group of languages that have all developed from one common language in the past, called a proto-language. Unifying Factors contributing to First Nations Culture: Oral History, Spirituality, and Ceremony All First Nations told stories orally to preserve the knowledge, experiences, and beliefs of its people. These stories are still told today. They make up each nation’s oral history. Storytellers told stories about actual events in the history of a nation and to teach lessons about everyday life. Oral histories also enabled First Nations to pass down religious and spiritual knowledge through the generations for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Shamans were the guardians of this religious knowledge—the mythologies and ceremonies. Religious and spiritual ceremonies were rich and diverse among First Nations. Shamans would often preside over these ceremonies, examples of which were the sundance of Plains nations, winter ceremonies of Northwest Coast nations, and shaking tent ceremonies of Subarctic nations. One example of an individual’s spirituality was the vision quest. A young person, before or at puberty, would go alone to a wilderness area to fast and meditate. The purpose was for the young person to receive a vision or a dream. They sought to gain a guardian spirit power to support and protect them through life. Though the religious beliefs and ceremonies among First Nations were varied, some ideas were shared among most First Nations—ideas that are still held today. One example is The Great Spirit or Creator who created Earth and all things on it. Storytellers passed down many different creation stories. For example, many creation stories describe the Great Spirit diving into the primeval water to dig up mud, from which he made the Earth. Other creation stories might involve a changeling or transformer (Nanabooshoo in Anishinaabe or Wesakechak in Nehiyaw) who takes light, fire, water, food, animals, and people. The Trickster sets all these elements loose, which creates the world as it is now. All living and non-living things that the Creator made are interrelated in a great circle of life. Because each thing on Earth has a spirit, it should be respected and cared for. For example, when taking the life of a plant or animal, a First Nations person pays respect to its spirit. First Nations hunters have great respect for and gratitude to the animals they kill for human survival. Hunters offer or burn tobacco to acknowledge this gift of animal life. Inuit Inuit and their ancestors are the Indigenous peoples who lived in the Arctic for thousands of years before Europeans arrived. The Arctic is a vast region that is north of the Arctic Circle. The Inuit developed ways of life that were highly adapted to the harsh Arctic environment. Like First Nations people the borders of what is now Canada did not apply to Inuit cultural groups. The Inuit can be sub-divided into eight distinct cultural groups: Labrador, Ungava, Baffin Island, Iglulik, Caribou, Netsilik, Mackenzie and Copper Inuit peoples, based on geographic location. Although all Inuit people at this time spoke the same language—Inuktitut—each group spoke a different dialect. Most of these Inuit groups still exist today, and many Inuit still live in the traditional Arctic areas in which their ancestors lived. Unifying Factors contributing to Inuit Culture: Cooperation, Resourcefulness, and Oral history Although there are variations in landforms and climate throughout the Arctic, there are aspects of the environment that are similar throughout the Arctic region. For example, Arctic winters are long and extremely cold with few hours of daylight. Summers are relatively short, but with many hours of daylight and moderate temperatures. No trees grow in the Arctic, but there are low, shrubby plants, many of which produce edible berries. These factors affected evolution of culture for all Inuit groups who lived throughout the Arctic region. The Inuit lived in small bands comprised of two to five families. Close cooperation and sharing among families was a critical feature of Inuit life because it was important for survival in such a harsh climate. Hunting was often a collaborative activity, where many men would work together to catch larger game and the catch would be distributed evenly throughout the band. If one family were in difficulty, either more resources would be given to them or children would be re-distributed to other band members until difficulties were overcome. If an elder felt they could no longer contribute to the band, he or she would wander away from the group to die on the land, rather than consume the hard won resources of the group. Because of the scarcity of resources, nothing was allowed to waste and everything available in the environment was used. One of the most iconic examples of this is the igloo. The snow-house style of igloo—today considered a major technological success—was made from blocks of packed snow (not ice) and built into a dome. It might hold up to 20 people. Long tunnel entrances provided storage space; the entrance tunnel opened into the house below floor level. Inside, there would be cooking pots, oil lamps, and low platforms for sleeping and sitting. Some Inuit lined the walls with caribou skins for insulation. Some snow houses even had a window set in the roof made of clear lake ice. Some groups would live in snow houses through the winter, while others, such as the Labrador Inuit, might live in a different style of igloo—houses built partly underground that were made of driftwood, sod, stone, and whalebone depending on what was available. In summer, or when there was too little snow or ice to build a snow house, Inuit lived in tents made of animal skins. The tents were weighted down around the edges by rocks. The Inuit depended on hunting and fishing, hunger and even starvation were common when fish and game were not plentiful. Meat and fish caught in summer were stored in shallow pits that were dug down to permafrost and covered with piles of stones to keep out hungry animals. Because there was little wood in the Arctic to make fires meat and fish were often eaten raw. The skins of seal or caribou was used for everything from the construction of boats (umiaks and kayaks) to shoes (mukluks or kamiks), trousers and parkas. Different skins were used for different seasonal clothing based on insulating and water resistant characteristics needed. An individuals story might have been recorded on the decorations of a parka, and carving —an ancient art that is still practiced today also served to record and share stories. Inuit carved tools, weapons, and objects of art. Bone, ivory, wood, and soapstone (a soft stone) were used to make small figures of people and animals. Tools were carefully carved to fit the hand of the user. In western areas of the Arctic, masks were carved of wood, painted, and decorated with feathers and animal skins. Inuit had a close spiritual relationship with the natural world around them which was passed down though oral tradition. There were no gods, but the cosmos were filled with souls of humans, animals, spirits, and inanimate objects. Inuit also believed in other worlds beneath the sea, inside the Earth, and in the sky. Angakoks, or shamans, were thought to be able to travel in trances and dreams to these other worlds and communicate with souls. Stories told of shamans visiting these worlds, transforming into animals, and visiting Sedna—the half woman half fish goddess of all sea creatures. In each new hunting season, pieces of liver of the first-killed sea mammal were returned to the water to please Sedna to give up her sea creatures to the hunters so that the people would have food. Arctic Cultures The Inuit live in the unique and extreme environment known as the Arctic, spanning from the Alaska boarder to the eastern Atlantic shores within Canada. It is a vast territory, spreading more than 6,000 kilometres through six time zones. Temperatures in the Arctic vary across the enormous expanse of land. Daily temperatures in the coldest months range from minus 30-40 degrees Celsius in the central and eastern ranges of the arctic to a high of minus 10-20 in the western parts of the Arctic. Average temperatures in the warmest months range from 2-15 degrees throughout the region. Despite some warming in the summer, arctic ground remains frozen throughout the year because of long, intensely cold winters. Annual rates of snowfall are relatively light considering the regions northern location resembling desert areas in terms of moisture received. Ice can cover much of the ocean areas and lakes throughout much of the year. Arctic vegetation is composed of small plants, which all grow relatively close to the ground forming, what is known as tundra. Living in the arctic environment has led to the Inuit possessing a number of physiological and biochemical adaptations. Their bodies have adapted to extreme cold by mechanisms that protect against heat loss and by the ability to digest high amounts of animal protein and fat in their diet which helps to preserve body heat. Inuit metabolism produces a greater amount of body heat than most people by a measure known as “basal metabolic rate” which indicates that the Inuit have a 33% higher rate than the rest of the population. These and other adaptations have enabled the Inuit to survive and live in the forbidding environment of the arctic. Subarctic Cultures The Subarctic culture area was a cold, wet region of forests, mountain ranges, and tundra. It extended from what is now known as Newfoundland and Labrador in the east to the Yukon Territory in the west. It was a harsh climate for human survival in which temperatures could dip to –40°C in winter; while, in summer, temperatures could rise to 30°C. There were immense numbers of rivers, lakes, swamps, and muskeg (waterlogged land), making travel possible only by canoe in summer and toboggan and snowshoes in winter. First Nations in the subarctic culture area included the Nehiyaw (Cree), Beothuk, Innu (Montagnais-Naskapi), and Thcho (Dogrib) among others. All First Nations of the Subarctic can be divided into two major language families. The first—the Athapascan speakers—lived in the western regions of the Subarctic. The second—the Algonquian speakers—lived in the eastern regions of the Subarctic. Subarctic peoples ate a protein-based diet of game (caribou, moose, hare) and fish (salmon, pike, whitefish, trout) that were hunted and trapped with bows, arrows, and snares, or caught with nets, spears, hooks and lines. If food was scarce, one nation might grant hunting rights to another to share the resources of a particular area. When food was plentiful in summer, two or more nations might live together. Wild plants were gathered, but there was no farming in the extreme climatic conditions of these regions. First Nations of the Subarctic lived in small groups of 25-30 people who frequently traveled to different locations—often long distances— depending on the availability of game and other resources. There were no formal chiefs in subarctic nations, though individuals would take on leadership roles. Adult men and women contributed to decision-making within a group. Families or individuals who did not agree with group decisions were free to leave or find a new group to live with. Northwest Coast Cultures The Northwest Coast was a coastal area stretching from today’s Vancouver Island in the south up past the Queen Charlotte Islands in the north. The climate here was more hospitable than other culture areas. Temperatures rarely fell below freezing in winter and were moderate in summer. Some of the First Nations of the Northwest Coast included the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka), and Coast Salish. The languages of the Tlingit and Haida peoples were unique among the Northwest Coast First Nations, as they had no relationship to other First Nations languages. The languages of other nations in this region are related to the Penutian, Wakashan, or Salishan language families. First Nations of the Northwest Coast inhabited an area with abundant resources that were drawn from land and water. Salmon-spawning streams brought several species of salmon to this area, providing great quantities of salmon to eat each year. Fish and shellfish were also harvested from the Pacific Ocean: candlefish, herring, halibut, among others; sea lions and whales; mussels, clams, and oysters. Roots and berries were also gathered. Animals, too, such as caribou, moose, and mountain sheep were hunted for food. Tools, clothes, and shelters were made from animal bone and skin. The population of Northwest Coast villages were about 100 or more. One feature common to all nations in this region was that each village had a hierarchical system of ranking its people. The social status of each person in the village was ranked according to how closely related they were to the headperson or chief. War captives and people in debt were not included in this ranking system, as they were thought of as outcasts. Potlatch ceremonies helped to establish or maintain the social status of a family by demonstrating the host’s generosity. A potlatch could mark family events, such as births and marriages, or help to build political alliances among different First Nations. Different First Nations held potlatch ceremonies for different reasons and in different ways, but many traditions were common in all communities. A chief would invite guests to the ceremony to share gifts and food, along with singing, dancing, and speeches. Stories were retold to preserve the oral histories and knowledge of the people. An individual or group’s wealth was assessed based on valuable possessions such as cedar-bark blankets, dentalium shells, dried fish and fish oil, dugout canoes, and coppers. Coppers were pieces of copper that were hammered into a shield, often decorated with designs or crests. Coppers increased in value when they were traded between families at potlatch ceremonies. Plateau Cultures A plateau is generally a flat area that sits high above sea level. The Plateau culture area was located between the British Columbia coast range and Rocky Mountains. The climate brought hot, dry summers and cold winters to the First Nations who inhabited this region, some of whom were the Secwepemc (Shuswap), Wet’suwet’en (Carrier), Sylix (Okanagan), and Ktunaxa (Kutenai). The nations of this region spoke languages that were part of the Athapaskan, Salishan, or Kutenai language families. Spring, summer, and fall were times when Plateau First Nations traveled to hunt, fish, and gather plants. Their primary means of transportation in warmer weather was the dugout canoe; in winter, they used snowshoes. However, in winter, Plateau peoples settled into more permanent winter villages. Pit houses—underground lodgings—were their winter homes. Plateau peoples subsisted on caribou, deer, sheep, coyotes, hares, and on the Pacific salmon that arrived in each year’s annual salmon run. Because their food supply was seasonal, women spent much time smoking and drying food for use in winter and for times when it was not possible to hunt or fish. Women also took on the tasks of food preparation among other domestic duties, as well as gathering and harvesting plants. Men hunted, fished, and made tools from stone, wood, and bone. People within a village shared food among all villagers. This spirit of sharing resources extended throughout the region. The peoples of the Plateau considered the land and its resources communal, to be shared among all peoples. This sense of community was also reflected in their styles of governance. Decision-making would be shared among many chiefs, each of whom was responsible for one important aspect of village life, for example, fishing. In some Plateau areas, advice was sought from a council of elders— older people drawn from the community. Plains Cultures Plains First Nations—Siksika (Blackfoot), Nakota (Assiniboine), Plains Cree, among many others—inhabited areas with flat land and rolling hills. This region covered territory east of the Rocky Mountains into what is today known as southern Manitoba. The climate brought hot, dry summers and very cold winters. The water supply was limited and came only from rivers that moved east through this region. Trees were found only in river valleys. Millions of bison—buffalo—migrated through the Plains each season and fed upon the grasslands of these areas. Though Plains peoples relied upon other resources for their survival, bison was an enormous natural resource around which Plains First Nations’ cultures developed. When hunting bison, men would use animal skins as a disguise to get up close to an animal to kill it with bows and arrows. Another method of hunting would involve guiding a herd of bison over the edge of a cliff. Women cooked some of the bison meat for immediate consumption; the remaining meat was dried for the winter, or mixed with berries and fat to make pemmican. Other parts of bison were used to make tools and clothes. Bison dung was used for fuel, as there were no trees on the plain to use as firewood. Small, independent groups of Plains peoples were advised, not ruled, by chiefs. A chief’s decision required the approval of the council of elders. These groups followed and hunted the bison herds, which was a nomadic way of life. Plains peoples transported their belongings with the help of dogs who pulled a travois—two long poles with a framework to hold the goods. The travois frame had another purpose: The frame was covered by bison skins to make a conical-shaped dwelling called a tipi. Through winter months, Plains peoples settled in camps. Only in midsummer when bison formed in larger herds did many groups come together for ceremonies and celebration. The languages spoken by Plains First Nations belonged to three language families—Algonquian, Siouan, or Athapaskan. Although languages within each language family had the same origins, many of the languages were very different. This could make communication among different nations difficult, leading to the development of hand gestures or sign language. Eastern Woodlands Cultures As its name suggests, the Eastern Woodlands were filled with vast forests—deciduous in some regions and mixed coniferous-deciduous in others. This culture area covered territory from what are today known as Ontario’s Great Lakes, through southern Québec, and into the Maritime Provinces. Nations who lived in these regions included the Tionontati (Petun), Ouendat (Huron), Saulteaux (Ojibwa), Algonquin, Mi’kmaw (Micmac), and many others. The many First Nations of these regions fell into one of two language families: Iroquoian and Algonquian. Hunting, fishing, and farming were the means of survival for Eastern Woodlands nations. First Nations who lived in warmer southern regions relied heavily on growing beans, corn, and squash for food, as well as white-tail deer for animal protein. Nations further north where it was colder relied on caribou and moose. Inland waters provided fish to some nations, while nations who lived near ocean coasts would hunt for seals. Bows, arrows, traps, and snares were used to hunt animals; nets, hooks, and weirs to catch fish. When available, nuts, berries, tubers, and wild rice were gathered. Nations that relied heavily on farming were able to store crops. This enabled these nations to establish more permanent villages. The populations of these villages might vary between a few families to more than two thousand people. Many related families would all reside in a single longhouse, based on a matrilineal arrangement. A man, upon marrying, would move into his wife’s family’s longhouse. Inheritance would follow the female line. For other nations, hunting was the most important means of survival, which led to the use of less permanent dwellings than those used by agriculturalists. These less-permanent dwellings—tepees and wigwams—were smaller than longhouses. Village populations among these nations would vary with the seasons. Most Eastern Woodland peoples had a village chief. Some peoples may have had both civil chiefs—those who dealt with day-to-day village concerns—and war chiefs. Nations in this culture area also developed a larger democratic governing body called the Six Nations Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee. The Confederacy, formed between 1400 and 1600, was at first a political alliance of five First Nations: Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), Oneniot’á:ka (Oneida), Ononta’kehá:ka (Onondaga), Kaion’kehá:ka (Cayuga), Shotinontowane’á:ka (Seneca). Later, they were joined by a sixth nation: the Tehatiskaró:ros (Tuscarora). All chiefs within the Confederacy were equal in rank and authority. This democratic form of government represented the peoples of each nation and included equal participation of women and men. The government process was passed down orally through the generations. The unwritten constitution of the Confederacy is called the Kaianeraserakowa (the Great Law of Peace). (write approx. 400 words) Throughout this unit, we have reviewed different understandings of the origin of the world and humanity, different adaptations to different ecosystems, and differences in the cultures of Indigenous peoples.  For this reflection point, please discuss the importance and implications of Indigenous understandings of origins, culture, and the environment in relation to Western-oriented understanding to these same topics.  Can these different systems work together, or do you consider them to be too different?

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