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The First Nations French: Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit. Under the Employment Equity Act , First Nations are a "designated group", along with women, visible minorities , and people with physical or mental disabilities. North American indigenous peoples have cultures spanning thousands of years. Some of their oral traditions accurately describe historical events, such as the Cascadia earthquake of and the 18th century Tseax Cone eruption.
Written records began with the arrival of European explorers and colonists during the Age of Discovery , beginning in the late 15th century. Combined with later economic development , this relatively non-combative history has allowed First Nations peoples to have an influence on Canadian national culture , while preserving their own identities.
No legal definition of the term exists. Some Aboriginal peoples in Canada have also adopted the term "First Nation" to replace the word "band" in the formal name of their community. While the word "Indian" is still a legal term, its use is erratic and in decline in Canada.
The use of the term " Native Americans ," which the United States government and others have adopted, is not common in Canada. Under the Royal Proclamation of , also known as the "Indian Magna Carta , "  the Crown referred to indigenous peoples in British territory as tribes or nations.
The term "First Nations" is capitalized, unlike alternative terms. Bands and nations may have slightly different meanings. Within Canada, "First Nations" most often used in the plural has come into general use for the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Individuals using the term outside Canada include supporters of the Cascadian independence movement , as well as U. The singular, commonly used on culturally politicized reserves , is the term First Nations person when gender-specific, First Nations man or First Nations woman.
A more recent trend is for members of various nations to refer to themselves by their tribal or national identity only, e. First Nations peoples had settled and established trade routes across what is now Canada by 1, BC to BC. Communities developed, each with its own culture, customs, and character. Along the Pacific coast were the Haida, Salish, Kwakiutl , Nuu-chah-nulth , Nisga'a and Gitxsan. In the plains were the Blackfoot, Kainai , Sarcee and Northern Peigan.
In the northern woodlands were the Cree and Chipewyan. Around the Great Lakes were the Anishinaabe , Algonquin , Iroquois and Wyandot.
The Blackfoot Confederacies reside in the Great Plains of Montana and Canadian provinces of Alberta , British Columbia and Saskatchewan. They had dyed or painted the bottoms of their moccasins black. One account claimed that the Blackfoot Confederacies walked through the ashes of prairie fires, which in turn coloured the bottoms of their moccasins black.
The Blackfoot started as Woodland Nations but as they made their way over to the Plains, they adapted to new ways of life and became accustomed to the land. The Squamish history is a series of past events, both passed on through oral tradition and recent history, of the Squamish indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Prior to colonization, they recorded their history through oral tradition as a way to transmit stories, law, and knowledge across generations. This was common among all the peoples. Knowledgeable elders had the responsibility to pass historical knowledge to the next generation.
People lived and prospered for thousands of years until the Great Flood. In another story, after the Flood, they would repopulate from the villages of Schenks and Chekwelp ,  located at Gibsons. When the water lines receded, the first Squamish came to be. He called this man his brother. It was from these two men that the population began to rise and the Squamish spread back through their territory.
The Iroquois influence extended from northern New York into what are now southern Ontario and the Montreal area of modern Quebec. Gradually the Algonquians adopted agricultural practises enabling larger populations to be sustained. The Assiniboine were close allies and trading partners of the Cree, engaging in wars against the Gros Ventres alongside them, and later fighting the Blackfeet.
The life style of this group was semi-nomadic, and they would follow the herds of bison during the warmer months. They traded with European traders, and worked with the Mandan , Hidatsa , and Arikara tribes. In the earliest oral history , the Algonquins were from the Atlantic coast.
According to their tradition, and from recordings in wiigwaasabak birch bark scrolls , Ojibwe an Algonquian-speaking people came from the eastern areas of North America, or Turtle Island , and from along the east coast. One of the seven great miigis beings was too spiritually powerful and killed the peoples in the Waabanakiing when the people were in its presence.
The six great miigis beings remained to teach while the one returned into the ocean. The six great miigis beings then established doodem clans for the peoples in the east.
Of these doodem , the five original Anishinaabe doodem were the Wawaazisii Bullhead , Baswenaazhi Echo-maker, i. If the seventh miigis being stayed, it would have established the Thunderbird doodem. The Nuu-chah-nulth are one of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The term 'Nuu-chah-nulth' is used to describe fifteen separate but related First Nations, such as the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations , Ehattesaht First Nation and Hesquiaht First Nation whose traditional home is in the Pacific Northwest on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The Nuu-chah-nulth are relations of the Kwakwaka'wakw , the Haisla , and the Ditidaht. The Nuu-chah-nulth language is part of the Wakashan language group. Radiocarbon dating of artifacts found with the body placed the age of the find between AD and AD. Aboriginal people in Canada interacted with Europeans as far back as AD, : Part 1 but prolonged contact came only after Europeans established permanent settlements in the 17th and 18th centuries.
European written accounts noted friendliness on the part of the First Nations, : Part 1 who profited in trade with Europeans. Such trade strengthened the more organized political entities such as the Iroquois Confederation. Ch 6 The Aboriginal population is estimated to have been between ,  and two million in the late 15th century.
Reduced to fewer than 10, people, the Huron were attacked by the Iroquois , their traditional enemies. There are reports of contact made before Christopher Columbus between the first peoples and those from other continents.
The earliest accounts of contact occurred in the late 10th century, between the Beothuk and Norseman.
First written accounts of interaction is predominantly Old world bias. The Portuguese Crown claimed it had territorial rights in the area visited by Cabot. In Pope Alexander VI — assuming international jurisdiction — had divided lands discovered in America between Spain and Portugal.
Land to the west would be Spanish, to the east Portuguese. Given the uncertain geography of the day, this seemed to give the "new founde isle" to Portugal. On the Cantino map , Newfoundland appears on the Portuguese side of the line as does Brazil.
An expedition captured about 60 Aboriginal people as slaves who were said to "resemble gypsies in colour, features, stature and aspect; are clothed in the skins of various animals They are very shy and gentle, but well formed in arms and legs and shoulders beyond description The others drowned, with Gaspar, on the return voyage. Gaspar's brother, Miguel Corte-Real , went to look for him in , but also failed to return.
Scholars believe [ citation needed ] that Miguel Corte-Real carved inscriptions on the controversial Dighton Rock. In King Henry IV of France granted Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons a fur-trade monopoly. Samuel de Champlain , his geographer, promptly carried out a major exploration of the northeastern coastline of what is now the United States.
Under Samuel de Champlain, the Saint Croix settlement moved to Port Royal today's Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia , a new site across the Bay of Fundy , on the shore of the Annapolis Basin , an inlet in western Nova Scotia. Acadia became France's most successful colony to that time.
Champlain persuaded First Nations to allow him to settle along the St. Lawrence, where in he would found France's first permanent colony in Canada at Quebec City. The colony of Acadia grew slowly, reaching a population of about 5, by New France had cod -fishery coastal communities, and farm economies supported communities along the St.
French voyageurs travelled deep into the hinterlands of what is today Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba, as well as what is now the American Midwest and the Mississippi Valley , trading with First Nations as they went — guns, gunpowder, cloth, knives, and kettles for beaver furs.
The trade also discouraged the development of agriculture, the surest foundation of a colony in the New World. Allied with the French, the first nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy of Acadia fought six colonial wars against the British and their native allies See the French and Indian Wars , Father Rale's War and Father Le Loutre's War.
The sixth and final colonial war between the nations of France and Great Britain — , resulted in the British conquest of Canada. In this final war, the Franco-Indian alliance brought together First Nations and the French, centred on the Great Lakes and the Illinois Country. First Nations routinely captured slaves from neighbouring tribes.
Sources report that the conditions under which First Nations slaves lived could be brutal, with the Makah tribe practicing death by starvation as punishment and Pacific coast tribes routinely performing ritualized killings of slaves as part of social ceremonies into the mids. Slavery was hereditary, the slaves and their descendants being considered prisoners of war.
Some tribes in British Columbia continued to segregate and ostracize the descendants of slaves as late as the s. The citizens of New France received slaves as gifts from their allies among First Nations peoples. Slaves were prisoners taken in raids against the villages of the Fox nation , a tribe that was an ancient rival of the Miami people and their Algonquian allies. The average native slave died at 18, and the average African slave died at 25  the average European could expect to live until the age of 35 .
By the abolition movement was gaining ground in Canada and the ill intent of slavery was evidenced by an incident involving a slave woman being violently abused by her slave owner on her way to being sold in the United States. British agents worked to make the first nations into military allies of the British, providing supplies, weapons, and encouragement.
During the American Revolutionary War — most of the tribes supported the British. In , the Americans launched a campaign to burn the villages of the Iroquois in New York State. Although the British ceded the Old Northwest to the United States in the Treaty of Paris in , it kept fortifications and trading posts in the region until