The Colonisation of Canada

By Madi and Celeste

Before Colonisation

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The first people to inhabit Canada were the Barren Grounds Inuit's. They lived in the arctic North and North West of Canada. Before colonisation there were approximately 100,000. They tended to live in small groups or bands. The Inuit's lived a relatively peaceful life before colonisation. They hunted seals and whales for food and resources and their diet consisted of seal and whale meat as well as lichen (a moss like substance) and possibly different bird species. They lived in large oval houses dug into pebbly beds as well as in igloos. Everyday tools were made of mostly bone and driftwood. Their clothes were made out of animal skins to keep them warm in the extremely harsh climate.


During Colonisation

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Canada was colonized by the British in 1497. They came because of all of the untapped resources in Canada. Although the takeover wasn't as violent, it was still traumatic for the people. Like the Aborigines of Australia, the Inuit children were taken away and made to assimilate into white society. As well as this the Inuit's were treated very badly and were forced off thier land to make room for the British. The Inuit's were also forced to become Christians against their will. Although they gained resources such as iron for tools, the British also brought with them a whole host of diseases such as small pox, measles and T.B which were fatal for much of the population. They were also forced to discard a lot of their culture and religion.

Present day

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In the 1970's the Canadian government recognised how badly the Inuit were being treated, so they decided to work together with the Inuit to create a better life for all. For a little while it worked. The people started to combine the new and the old and they started to accept the Inuit's practising their own religion. However there were still many parts in the society that need to be fixed. The living conditions of the Canadian Aboriginal communities are ranked 63rd on the United Nations human development index. Most of the children suffer from mental or physical disabilities, live in poverty are involved with alcohol and drugs and are caught up in the youth criminal justice system. One in ten aboriginal children are placed in care whereas only one in 200 non-aboriginal children are placed in care. Aboriginal children are more likely to contract diseases such as TB and diabetes. 70% of Canadian natives will not graduate from high school. Most of the Inuit population are illiterate or live in underdeveloped regions. We believe the Canadian goverment should find a way to improve the Inuit population's education and skills in order for them to be able to contribute to their communities.

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Corriveau, Danielle. The Inuit of Canada (First Peoples). Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2001. Print.
"Inuit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inuit>.
Press4Change, Barrie Central Collegiate ». "Today’s Canadian Aboriginal Children: The Origin of Tomorrow’s Government Apology » Press4Change." jhr (Journalists for Human Rights) | Mobilizing Media. Changing Lives.. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2010. <http://www.jhr.ca/p4c/?p=16>.