Part of the Land*
Before the arrival of Europeans, First Nations and Inuit, in what is now Canada, were able to satisfy all of their material and spiritual needs through the resources of the natural world around them. For the purposes of studying traditional First Nations cultures, historians have therefore tended to group First Nations in Canada according to the six main geographic areas of the country as it exists today. Within each of these six areas, First Nations had very similar cultures, largely shaped by a common environment.
The six groups were:
Woodland First Nations, who lived in dense boreal forest in the eastern/central part of the country.
Iroquoian First Nations, who inhabited the southernmost area, a fertile land suitable for planting corn, beans and squash.
Plains First Nations, who lived on the grasslands of the Prairies;
Plateau First Nations, whose geography ranged from semi-desert conditions in the south to high mountains and dense forest in the north;
Pacific Coast First Nations, who had access to abundant salmon and shellfish and the gigantic red cedar for building huge houses; and the
First Nations of the Mackenzie and Yukon River Basins, whose harsh environment consisted of dark forests, barren lands and the swampy terrain known as muskeg.**
The Inuit of the Arctic, who lived, hunted, and traveled in one of the world’s most extreme climates.
*McClellan, Catherine. Part of the Land, Part of the Water. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. 1987.
**First Nations in Canada. Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Government of Canada. 2017-05-02.
Choose one of our nation’s First Peoples and explain how this group has been shaped by the geographic region in which they live/lived.
Create a poster which explains how the landscape impacted factors such as:
- social organization
- religious beliefs and traditions
- legends and stories
- Become acquainted with the First Nations group you have chosen through reading and researching.
- Choose three of the concepts listed above to focus on.
- Research your three key concepts using the sheets provided, and citing your sources.
- Choose a variety of reliable sources, including one print source.
- Make a bibliography.
- Create a poster that uses images or labeled diagrams to explain each of your ideas.
- Include a map of Canada that shows the traditional territory of the people you are researching.
- Incorporate images of the landscape of this traditional territory and a brief description of what makes it unique.
- You will present your findings to the class and use your poster as a visual aid to enhance your presentation. You may use cue cards as memory aids if you prefer.