Cree is one of the largest groups of people in the First Nation. The bulk of their members live in Canada, and are based in North America. Any of these people live on Lake Superior to the north and west, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the northwest regions. In the USA they are based in Montana, where they have a link with the communities of Chippewa. The Cree speak Algonquian.
In the course of time the Cree have been recorded as migrating to the west of North America, and their important role in trade in fur and hunting in North America has been strongly characterised. The Cree people were hunters and gatherers, and thus the basic units of their organization was the ‘lodge’ which was a group of approximately eight to twelve people. These groups were formed based on several characteristics which included families of two separate but related married couples who lived in the same dome-shaped tent (wigwam) or conical-shaped tent (tipi) and the band and a group of those who hunted and moved together (Battiste, 2002).
Early Settlers in New France
In North America, ‘New France’ was an area colonized by the French. As a territory, New France was divided into five colonies each with their respective administration which were Canada, Newfoundland, Acadia, Louisiana and Hudson’s Bay (Greer, 1997). The main activity of individuals who lived in New France was centered towards trade with main items of trade being fisheries and fur.
Negative Interactions between First Nations and Early Settlers
The Interactions led to the emergence of fierce competition between France and Britain which resulted to often wars, as both were scrambling to be the largest trade stakeholders in the region. The Interactions led to the emergence of sophisticated weapons that could be used for mass destruction. This was so because every nation fighting for dominance looked for improved and better ways to outdo their competition (Whitbeck, et al., 2002).
The Europeans brought along with them terminal communicable diseases that Indians were not immune to. Such diseases include smallpox, influenza, and measles. This led to deaths of many natives thus reducing their population and bonds.
Positive Interactions between First Nations and Early Settlers
The interactions led to the formation of trade alliances which benefited the consenting parties. An example is where the Indians had skills, knowledge, and tools that proved to be helpful for the survival of Europeans. The settlers came with modern and improved medicine as compared to the natives’ traditional medicine. The modernized medicine seemed helpful in the eradication of diseases for the locals.
Commodities of the trade from the European nations such as metal pots, needles, and guns greatly improved the Indian lifestyle when the new tools were incorporated to replace their old tools which were made of stone, horns and pottery (Dixon, 1994).
Change of Canadian History
In 1763, the seven years’ war was ended by the Treaty of Paris and France relinquished New France to the Great Britain. This restored peace and tranquility that spearheaded development and improvement of social welfare among the locals. In 1910, the Royal Canadian Navy is constituted. It was mandated to protect the natives from any forms of external attacks through water bodies by exterior enemies (Mandel, 1994). In 2005, same-sex marriage is legalized through the Civil Marriage Act. This was seen to spearhead democracy and freedom among all Canadian people.
Connections between interactions and events in the past and present day Canada
In the past, to avert war between neighboring communities or external country with the natives, there used to be the formulation of treaties. The impacts of treaty making have been wide-ranging and long-serving to the Canadian people.
Treaties led to diplomatic relationships that the benefits are still being enjoyed by the natives from the past to date. An example is a treaty signed between the Aboriginal people and the European settlers which saw to it the formation of economic and military alliances.
Summarily, as much as interactions between the early settlers and First Nations begun with wars and conflicts, brought about exploitation of locals by the settlers and rise of disease epidemics; the good things that came along with these interactions are still present and are celebrated. Among them includes the development of infrastructure, improvement in medicine, bilateral trade and agreements between nations and the development of formal education.
Battiste, M. (2002). Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy in First Nations education: A literature review with recommendations. Ottawa: Apamuwek Institute.
Dixon, W. J. (1994). Democracy and the peaceful settlement of the international conflict. American Political Science Review, 88(01), 14-32.
Greer, A. (1997). The People of New France (Vol. 3). University of Toronto Press.
Mandel, M. (1994). The Charter of Rights and the legalization of politics in Canada. Thompson Educational Publishers.
Slowey, G. (2008). Navigating neoliberalism: self-determination and the Mikisew Cree First Nation. UBC Press.
Whitbeck, L. B., McMorris, B. J., Hoyt, D. R., Stubben, J. D., & LaFromboise, T. (2002). Perceived discrimination, traditional practices, and depressive symptoms among American Indians in the upper Midwest. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 400-418.