Early Years of Independence People of the Prairies Who First Lived in the Prairie Region? 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 life 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 hides 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 changed 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 escape 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 Prairies. 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 nations: 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).