Early Years of Independence McGarry

Early Years of Independence
People of the Prairies
Who First Lived in the Prairie
First Nations lived in the Prairie region for
thousands of years before Europeans arrived.
Their way of life was very different from the
Europeans in the East.
The expansion to the West would bring many
changes to the lives of the First Nations people
The First Nations People and ways of
First Nations people had a deep connection to the
land and a respect for the natural world.
 They had many legends revolving around people’s
responsibility to preserve the environment.
 Each First Nation group evolved differently
 Lifestyles were dependent on the region,
environment, and resources that were available.
 In Southern Alberta there were three distinctly
different groups.
Prairie First Nations were NOMADIC people,
meaning they moved wherever they could find
resources they needed.
As a result, they developed a close knowledge of
nature and animal life. This would be a key
feature of their culture.
Roles were commonly assigned by gender.
 Men – Hunters and Trappers
 Women – Gatherers and Made clothing or tents
The Blackfoot were regarded for their highquality pemmican. They traded with groups
further north where bison were not common.
In return they received antelope and caribou
European Contact
The first contact between Europeans and the
Blackfoot people took place around 1754
Alexander Henday (an HBC explorer) tried
unsuccessfully to persuade the Blackfoot to
trade with the company
The Blackfoot felt they had everything they
needed trading locally
As the expansion west continued, that eventually
The Horse
The wild horse lived in North America until them
became extinct about 10 000 years ago
They were re-introduced when the Spanish
began exploring Mexico in the 1520’s
There moved northward through trading and
The First Nations captured and tamed some of
them, using them to assist in hunting and trading
Blackfoot Confederacy
The Blackfoot Confederacy was an alliance
between several different groups or ‘Clans’ of
Blackfoot people. Mostly a military alliance, it
was greatly feared by its enemies on the
It was in place and actually controlled much of the
Prairie region before European contact.
The Métis
The Métis were descendants of European fur
traders and First nations. By 1750, they had a
large enough population to be recognized as a
separate group of people.
They were different than the French and First
Bilingual: spoke French and Cree or Blackfoot
Religious: Roman Catholics, but celebrated
Aboriginal traditions
Both farmers and hunters
They were different than the
Eastern Settlers as well
Time to Think!
Read pg H 77 from the text as a class:
“Metis Culture and Lifestyle”.
In pairs, discuss Q#2 in THINKING it Over
(bottom, right corner of the page).

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