Like many people, I expect, I find it difficult to think about European expansion and the consequences it had and continues to have on the native people of North America. But at the same time I am fascinated by their unique and resourceful ways of living probably because it contrasts so much with our lifestyles today.
This week, we will only look generally at the ways of life of those people who first inhabited the far eastern woodlands of Canada, particularly the Beothuk, the Maliseet, and the Mi’kmaq. This will help us to understand what this land was like before European contact and also how they lived within the means of their environment.
The following is a five page information sheet from the Natural History Museum in Halifax: The Mi’kmaq.
Homes: Today we make our houses out of all sorts of products we buy from stores that come from many different places. The people who first lived here made use of what was available to them locally and made their houses out of the forest.
Clothing: Today we usually buy our clothes from a store where they were made from all sorts of different fibres and constructed in places all around the world. The people who first lived here made their clothes from the skins of the animals they hunted.
Food: Today we can buy food at a grocery store that grows in climates quite different from our own and is transported thousands of miles. The first people who lived here had to hunt and gather all of their food. Moose, beaver, bear, ducks, grouse, many kinds of fish and seafood, wild fruit, berries, and roots were part of their diet.
Transportation: Cars, ATV’s and power boats have only been around for a couple hundred years. The first people who lived here made their boats out of birch bark, and used snowshoes, sleds and toboggans during the winter.
Worksheet and Mi’kmaq calendar to illustrate: First People