Native culture (around 1500) Native culture is linked very closely to the



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Native culture (around 1500)

  • Native culture is linked very closely to the environment.

  • Whatever resources in nature were available to the different groups defined the different lifestyles of the Aboriginal groups.

  • Most aspects of their lives were determined by the available resources: their clothing, their dwellings, their means of transportation, their tools and their means of survival.

Their environment

  • WHERE the natives lived had an influence on HOW they lived

  • Iroquoians: south = warmer temperatures = agriculture and summer clothes

  • Algonquians: north = cold = hunting + gathering for their food

  • Inuit: way up north = freezing = living in igloos and eating only meat

Aboriginal spirituality

  • Animism: The belief that every object (living or non-living) has an immortal spirit.

  • The practice of animism could be observed in the way Natives related to the environment.

  • Ex: when they would hunt animals, the Natives took great care of the body because they believed that the animal had given itself to the hunters.

  • Communicating with spirits: Native groups believed in contacting the spirit world

  • 2 ways of contacting spirits:

    1. Through smoke (from a fire or a pipe)

    2. Through a shaman (interpreter of dreams)

  • Why the need to communicate with the spirit world?

    1. Understanding the meaning of a dream

    2. Chasing away “bad” spirits that made people ill

    3. Speaking with the deceased

The shaman could do this through the use of smoke, but also with songs and dance.

  • How would contact with the Europeans change the culture of Aboriginal nations?

The arrival of Europeans in North America: Influencing native culture & vice versa

  • Religion: Natives were introduced to Christianity, a concept that in no way resembled their own spiritual beliefs

  • Conversion, evangelization

What changed in native culture?

  • Materials: the durability and practicality of European objects were attractive to the Native groups. For example, many European objects were made out of metal.

  • Clothes: Natives started wearing wool and linen (not just fur or leather.)

  • Food: Diets included different vegetables, such as cucumbers and onions, and even bread.

  • Domestic animals: Particularly for sedentary groups, this meant that they could eat meat without always having to go hunting.

  • Firearms: Whereas Natives used to fight with bows, knives and clubs, guns would make their wars deadlier than ever.

  • Epidemics (spread of diseases) would be the main reason for the drastic decrease in Native population.

The culture of the French: From visitors to permanent residents of New France

The Catholic Church and the missionaries



  • The Jesuits and the Recollets: 2 religious orders of priests that have been present in New France since the beginning of colonization

  • Purpose: convert the natives to Christianity

  • To do this, they learned the natives’ languages

  • Churches were built in Native villages

  • French lifestyle was encouraged upon all native groups (assimilation)

  • The Ursulines (an order of nuns) were in charge of teaching religion to Native women, as well as the young French women of New France.

Care for the colonists

  • As the number of colonists increased, so did the need for the Church

  • The Church was important to the colonists

    • Education of the people

    • Social services (care for the sick and for the poor)

French vs. French Canadian

  • After several generations of French colonists being settled in New France, a new culture had emerged, differentiating them from their ancestors’ mother country.

Adapting to the new environment

  • At first, even if most French people were heading to New France to work

  • They had to adapt themselves to their new environment once they arrived

  • Borrowing from native culture

  • Ex: Snowshoes (for walking in the snow), wearing fur hats and coats, using sleds and canoes to travel

  • The first French settlers arrived with few possessions, but they brought their knowledge and their skills

  • Settled on the seigneuries, where they cleared the land and built their homes (simple wooden homes at first)

Parish life

  • To maintain control over the colonists, the Church organized society into “parishes”

  • A parish is an entire community that surrounds a church

  • The priest was the most important person in the parish because he made sure that everyone in the community was following the rules of the Church

  • Ex. Not working on Sundays, following the 10 commandments, etc.

  • The Church was the main place for

    • social interactions: people would attend mass and later catch up on the latest gossip about others in their community.

    • Entertainment in the community (dances, feasts)

    • Moral guidance: disapproved of activities like gambling, drinking alcohol, etc.

Missing mass on Sunday mornings was suspicious and looked down upon by the Church.

Absolutism

  • Today, we vote for our leaders (democracy)

  • During the French Regime, the king had all the power over his empire

  • The idea is that the king was chosen by God to lead his land (divine right of kings), and this power is passed onto further generations.

  • Ties between the King and the Catholic Church were very close…


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