Q: What impact did European settlers have on Canada’s indigenous people?
MFirst Nations were the first inhabitants of Canada, and here is a cool fact: the first inhabitants of North America arrived in Canada at least 15,000 years ago. The peaceful time was interrupted in 1700 when the Aboriginal people first made contacts with the European settlers. Since then, everything started to shift and change, the European settlers made many impacts to the Indigenous people, both positively and negatively.
The Europeans voyaged to Canada to find gold and other valuable materials that would help their trading system. Although the First Nation people’s technology is under developed, they managed to keep this land in shape and lived a simple live. After getting visited by the Europeans, the people were introduced to new weapons like muskets and new transportation tool like horses. That was the first contacts between European settlers and Aboriginals. So far, the Indigenous people were influenced in many positive ways.
After the Europeans settled on this foreign land, they started to share their ways of survival with the First Nations and taught them ways to make more advanced tools and weapons. Then, the First nations started the fur trade, which “proved to be an exceptional and profitable natural resources.” The Aboriginals were open to trade furs with the Europeans as there were a plenty of fur resources at that time. On the other hand, the Europeans supplied the First Nations with goods made from irons, such as pots and cooking utensils. The Aboriginals saw iron as “precious metals” as they didn’t have the technology to get iron in Canada. Interesting to say, both parties were likely to think that they got the better deal because Europeans valued furs more than metals and the First Nations were the complete opposite. The Europeans, however, were eager to find more furs and therefore, the First Nation people became their partner to explore the new lands of Canada and find more resources.a deer with one bullet now, but the loud noise of the weapon would scare the rest of the animals away. You would then have a hard time finding more food, which came mostly from animals. Additionally, guns also made the Europeans the powerful ones comparing to the First Nations. They used the advantage and wiped out the entire population of bison, which was the main source of food for the Aboriginal people. That was just the start of impact.
So far so good, huh? Now it is time to reveal the negative impact European settlers made on the Aboriginal people. First, introducing the brand-new weapon, the French Muskets. They looked cool and all but at that time, the technology wasn’t entirely flourished, and it would sometimes back fire, leaving the shooter in critical condition or even death. Yes, you could kill
When the Europeans settled in Canada, they brought foreign diseases which lead to many deaths among the First Nation people because they had no immunity to the diseases. The most common disease was the smallpox, and the patient would have small abscesses filled with liquid covering his whole body. Yikes! Thus, many First Nations were forced to live in isolated areas due to the diseases. In additional to the disease, the Aboriginals confronted another big threat, alcohols. The liquor became so addicting that it became the only thing they wanted when trading with the Europeans. Therefore, the newcomers took the advantage and got more items, leading to unfair trading. Moreover, European also tried to convert the First Nations to Catholicism. They once again took advantage over the situation and inferred that the Aboriginal people could get guns if they convert into Catholicism. The controlled trade system and religion made the European more powerful comparing to the First Nations. They were being used for resources and resources only. That wasn’t the end as the Quebec Act worsened the situation even more. It gave the French Canadians complete religious freedom and restored the French form of civil law. How did that affect the Aboriginals? The Quebec Act pushed Quebec’s boundaries into the First Nation land and the people were confused and frustrated by the Europeans claiming their lands without their permissions.
This event proves its historical significance by showing the relationship between the indigenous people and the European settlers. It is important to acknowledge how the European settlers took advantage of the First Nation people’s simple lifestyles. Therefore, they were being used for fur trade and they even contaminated the trading process with alcohol, which made European settlers the powerful side.
Continuity and change:
In the past, the impact of colonization on First Nations often resulted in an unbalanced relationship between the Aboriginals and the settlers. After learning about the impact, I found that these conditions are most likely to improve by now as the government is promoting reconciliation with the First Nations. The Government of Canada is moving towards the recognition and implementation of rights of the Indigenous peoples. It is launching an engagement process with First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Therefore, groups and organizations representing First Nations constantly negotiate with the Canadian Government to preserve their culture and protect their rights. Things had definitely gone better as the First Nations are able to have their rights in Canada and receive education just like everyone else.
Was it fair? Of course not! The Indigenous people was killed by diseases that came from the Europeans, they were tricked to convert their religious belief to Catholicism and they were also treated poorly later after. This unfair treatment happened because of how kind First Nation people used to be. They were open to fur trades and newcomers, they were innocent and lived in a more traditional way. On the other hand, looking at the event in a different perspective, the changes made in the past was necessary. It was a crucial step for the humanity to improve and advance its technology. Take the fur-trade as an example, it was so profitable that the beaver hat became the most popular fashion wear in France. The colonization was a step forward, it was a start of a generation and was also formation of Canada. Even so, the Europeans needed to take time and negotiate with the First Nations because they also had the right to argue for their own land.
In conclusion, both positive and negative impacts were made after the colonization of the Europeans, but I had to say that Europeans were the more profited side. They were wiser and lived their lives in better conditions and lifestyles. They wanted to benefit their own country, therefore explored and found Canada. They had a great start trading with the First Nations but there were many negative factors that they brought with them, like diseases, weapons, and alcohols. My research found out that European mostly negatively impacted the First Nation people but however, Canada had been working hard to reconcile with the Aboriginal people. It is very important to recognize the First Nation people as we must preserve their unique cultures. In a bigger picture, I learnt that in order to improve, there will be both positive and negative changes, it is crucial to adopt in order to make the best out of it.
Crossroads A Meeting of Nations (Second Edition)
[Pg 19, 21, 25]