Directions: Read the article on Canada’s history. As you read, talk to the text. Identify ways each group of Canadians have been important in Canada’s history.
Canada’s history has been shaped by three main groups: Native Canadians (First Nations and Inuit peoples), the English, and the French. Each of these three groups has left their own unique stamp on Canada’s past and present culture. As you red below, identify ways each group has affected Canada’s history.
The First Nations and Inuit
Many thousands of years ago, the earth entered a period called the Ice Age. Temperatures dropped around the world. Due to colder weather, ocean water was frozen into huge glaciers, lowering sea levels worldwide. Because of the lower sea levels, a narrow strip of land called the Bering Land Bridge was exposed. The Bering Land Bridge connected present day Russia to present day Alaska. Today, it is completely underwater.
Herds of animals crossed the Bering Land Bridge, searching for the wild grasses and plants they ate for food. Soon, people followed the animals. These people were hunter-gatherers. Hunter-gathers work in groups to kill large animals and harvest wild plants for food. They are usually nomads,or people who move from place to place.
Over time, more and more of these hunter-gatherers entered North America. Some remained in the far north. Others moved south and adapted to the environments there. Many of the people of the north are Inuit people. The Inuit traditionally lived in igloos, used sled dogs, and sailed in small boats called qajaq. Some Inuit today still live a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Many others have moved into permanent settlements. Nunavut territory is governed by the Inuit peoples.
The people who moved south into other environments are called the First Nations. The word “Indian” is rarely used by Canadians. Oftentimes, First Nations peoples will refer to themselves by their tribe or nation. First Nations peoples live throughout Canada today.