Category Archives: First Nations in Canada

Aboriginal Culture groups

Before there were cars, houses, buildings, and more importantly Europeans (which i will touch on later on in this category) Canada was inhabited by the first people commonly The First Nations. In Canada, there are many groups of First Nations. You probably think of First Nation people as being the tall, tanned people that you would see in Hollywood movies wearing tribal outfits that have long hair. I am here to tell you that there is not a set standard. What you might think of First Nations people is probably just stereotypes (which i will be explaining later). There are hundreds of tribes which fall into the 6 main aboriginal culture groups. These groups are called the Arctic, Sub Arctic, Northwest Coast, Plateau, Plains, and the Eastern Woodlands.

A map of the 6 sections Canada is made up of




The Arctic

Dogs running in the icy mountain regions of the Arctic

A photo of how the Inuit used dogs to travel across the ice land

The Arctic was first inhabited by the first people named the Inuit peoples 20 000 years ago. People are unsure of how they were able to survive and be able to live in fortitude within such harsh conditions. There were very little trees and very little easily accessible resources. Seasons were very mercenary expectually winter which had extremely long nights which often brought total darkness for many months at a time. The Inuit were able to survive on sea-mammal hunting and used the inedible sections like the fur and bones to their advantage. They also had lives filled with beautiful cultures that involved many ceremonies celebrations and gatherings. Each group or band (a group of people living together on an Indian reserve) consisted of 500-1000 Inuits.




A map of the Sub-Arctic and what Aboriginal groups make up this land

The Sub-Arctic is the largest section of Canada. Temperatures vary across the area, the temperature ranges from -40′C in the winter to 30′C in the summer. The Subarctic people are located from the Yukon to Newfoundland, including parts of seven provinces and two territories.  The main Aboriginal groups that make up this massive chunk of land are the Dene which were located in the North West, the Tlingit that were also in the North West and the Cree, which of who were located in the center and East section of the Sub-Arctic. The Sub-Arctic had the lowest population relative to the amount of land. The entire section of the Sub-Arctic was made up of a population of 60 000. This was because of how harsh the weather changes were which resulted in drastic changes in animal life. The peoples houses were build underground to stay out of the weather and had very complex housing layouts. The Sub-Arctic people thought of many Myths and legends that were related to the animals which is how they passed on stories and culture.


Northwest Coast

Coastal First Nations Dance

A Photo of the Coastal peoples festival dance

First Nations located on the Northwest Coast have inhabited the coast for over 10 000 years. This area runs from the North of Washington into Alaska. The temperatures here are nothing compared to the harsh conditions in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic. It stays moderate throughout the year which resulted in easy inhabitable land for not just the people, but for animals. Because of this food was not a problem for the Coastal people. Some of the main groups that inhabited this area were the Haida, Salishan and the Nuu-chahnulth. The homes that were build here were extremely complex and were commonly built with immense red cedar trees. Red cedar was also used to build the canoes because of the enormous size of the logs and the water-resistant abilities it had. Many groups were very traditional and had very beautiful cultures, which involved potlatches, story telling, and dancing.



The Plateau

An image of berries being dried to be preserved

The Plateau section of Canada is located East of the Northwest Coast. Because of being farther from the coast, the temperature here is also . This area is also quite resourceful and because of this the food was plentiful and the houses that were build differed depending on the seasons. In the winter under ground housing was build and in the summer little houses made up of bulrush and logs were built. The Plateau people traded because of the many lakes that were used for easy travel. The Plateau people had many religions and languages. These people were quite diverse.



The Plains

An image of a village of Plains peoples tipi’s

The region of the Plains covers from the Rockey Mountains to Southern Manitoba. The people that are located here are what people usually think of when First Nations is spoken of. The people here are the ones that are shown in Hollywood movies. The main groups that live in the Plains are the Gros Venture, Sioux and the Plain Cree and the languages that were most commonly spoken were Athapascan, Algonquin, and Siouan. In the Plains, Buffalo was the most abundant food source and met all the needs of the Plains people; because of this, the Plains people were known as nomadic. Buffalo was eaten at every meal and every part of the buffalo. There were many different traditional dishes, all of which consisted of a section of the buffalo. The Plains people used many techniques to capture buffalo. One of which was by building large statues called inukshuk’s (image on the right) which represented the shape of a human (a head 2 arm and 2 legs) they were suppose to herd buffalo’s towards a buffalo camp ground, where there would be hunters to ambush them. Another technique that was used to capture buffalo’s was to drive them over cliffs and fall to their deaths.



Eastern Woodlands

Woodland Indian Regions

A map of the woodlands

The Eastern Woodlands covers from the St. Lawrence basin to Illinois and South Carolina. The largest group that inhabit this land is the Algonquian. And the main language spoke is Algonquin. As from what you can probably assume from the name of this area, the region is thick with forest. The culture is very old fashion, meaning the men worked and the women stayed to cook and grow and maintain a garden. These people were very dependent on fruits and vegetables, which made up a large majority of their diet; because of this, whenever they wore out the soil they used, they had to move to new places to be able to keep up with their garden growing. The people of the Eastern Woodlands also hunted many animals that lived in the forest. These People were known as nomadic. Their houses were build of trees and were called wigwams.