The relationship between Aboriginals and Europeans
For millenias before the first Vikings landed on North America, the Aboriginals of North America were already a civilized and relatively peaceful group of people. They believed that everything, from the trees to the lakes, was bestowed onto them by the great spirit, who wanted them to preserve the natural environment for years to come. From the time after the second contact of Europeans until the late 19th century, the land owned by the Aboriginals slowly and eventually began to decline. It is my opinion that the huge log from the Cree Legend represents the whole of North America, while the Aboriginal ancestor sitting on it represents the North American Natives. At first, when the European wanted to sit on the log, the Aboriginal graciously agreed. But when the European man took over the entire log, he forced the Native to sit on a stump of a nearby tree. I personally think that the stump represented the reserves that the Canadian government gave to the Aboriginals, which is insubstantial compared to the land that the Natives once controlled.
One of the three main motives behind Native-European contact in Canada was the enormous amounts of fish and other game throughout the whole of North America. The rich quantity and variety of fish at the coastal regions of Canada attracted seasonal visits from European fleets. Another reason for contact was the sudden demand for beaver pelts and other furs due to the emergence of the fashionable men’s hats created from compressed beaver pelts. Due to the rarity of beaver pelts in Europe, the fur traders could purchase them at extremely low prices in Canada and sell them for large amounts of money in Europe. The third and most insignificant reason for Aboriginal-European contact was because of the fact that both Catholics from France and Protestants in England sent missionaries to North America in hopes of converting them into Christians.
... The French presence in North America was spearheaded by the exploration of ... European powers became involved in the on-going conflicts among the North American Indians with whom they were in contact ... John Cabots landings on the east coast of North America in 1497, thus setting off a struggle ... military force eventually overwhelmed the French outposts in America. After a bitter war waged on several fronts ...
Believe it or not, for a short period of time hundreds of years ago, the Europeans of New France and several tribes of Native Americans lived together in an age of peace and harmony. During the early years of New France, the habitants of New France found it necessary to co-operate with the Aboriginals since they were not yet accustomed to North America. In addition, the Aboriginals of Canada greatly outnumbered the Europeans, so the early French-Canadians were exceedingly careful of their relationship with the Natives. As for the fur traders, their livelihoods were dependent on Aboriginal co-operation, since they had the ability to hunt beavers and other fur-bearing animals with much more precision than the French. Before the arrival of the filles du roi, marriages between Aboriginal women and European men were quite common, since France depended on a large population at home to insure dominance in Europe, and had therefore refused to send out French women to New France. The great French explorer Samuel de Champlain had once promised the Hurons that: “our young men will marry your daughters, and we shall become one people.”
Unfortunately, after the fall of New France in the year 1763, the Europeans in the newly-formed British North America had begun developing the seven numbered treaties concerning the western part of Canada that would gradually strip away nearly all of the remaining land that the Aboriginals had habited for millenias.From the year 1883 to the 1950’s, a portion of the children of the Aboriginals and Métis (the group of people of mixed Aboriginal and European blood) were forced to join residential schools due to the steep racism that was directed at the Native North Americans. Many of the residential schools were excessively underfunded and relied entirely on the worst of the missionary staff. The Native and Métis children there experienced inaccurate academic instruction, insufficient food, enormous workloads of homework, and even physical abuse. Because of the racism and resentment the staff felt towards the pitiful children, they often treated them unreasonably and did not offer their empathy, which harmed the children psychologically. The original purpose of the residential schools was to convert the children of the Aboriginals and the Métis into “proper people behaving like Euro-
... America continent was the beginning of many controversies between the Europeans and Native Americans. Many people say that Columbus was a demon ... a present of hundred beaver skins …” (Indian Populations of new France 15). The marriage of the English man, John Rolfe, to ... perhaps someone else would discover America decades later, and the year of 2014 would face a different reality. His discovery could ...
Canadians.” Sadly, the only thing the residential schools accomplished was to make thousands of children so miserable that they entirely forgot everything about their culture and heritage.
It is fortunate that attitude towards the Aboriginals and Métis have been changing during the last 60 years. During recent years, many Aboriginal and Métis lawyers have sought justice with the Canadian government by finding various loopholes in the land ownership contracts that were signed hundreds of years ago that are still valid today. The employment rate of status Aboriginals and Métis have changed greatly over the last 20 years, and they are now respected and honoured by the whole of Canada. Overall, it is an known fact that the Europeans who had come to Canada during the early 1500’s could not have survived the harsh winter without the gracious help the Native North Americans offered them.