First Nations History

Canada's First Nations have been in the country we now call Canada for at least 12,000 years, perhaps much longer.

For almost all that time, they survived very well in a harsh environment, making everything they needed without polluting the water, or air, and without destroying the land or decimating the animal populations.

Each First Nation had self-government and recognized the sovereignty of other First Nations. They all developed unique systems of government, and complex material cultures.

Most First Nations of Canada lived mainly from hunting and fishing. They migrated seasonally to get food. The only farming people were the Iroquois and Hurons, and related tribes, in what is now southern Ontario.

Seasonal migration was a continuous pattern, with each group following the same pattern each year, according to to the natural cycles of the plants and animals.

Members of each clan usually came together in a big gathering at least once a year.

There have been many large scale migrations across North America over time because of climate changes, epidemics, changes in the migration routes of animals, one group expanding into another's territories, victory and defeat in warfare, and many other reasons.


Article Index:

Canadian Historical Indian Treaties Time Line

Peace and Friendship Treaties

  • 1725 December 15
  • 1749 August 15
  • 1752 November 22
  • 1760 February 10
  • 1760 March 10 & 1761 June 25
  • 1764 August
  • 1779 September 22
Manitoba First Nations Chronological Time Line

The Manitoba First Nations archeological record goes back 6,000 to 10,000 years

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Prehistoric tribes in Canada

The first inhabitants of a largely glacier-covered North America were hunters. They hunted big game animals like the giant sloth and the mammoth, both of which were much larger than any land mammal of the 20th century.

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Spuzzum: Fraser Canyon Histories, 1808-1939