Ancient People of Canada


The more we learn about Indigenous People of the Americas the more we are forced to realize we did not know very much. Recent discoveries are leading scientists to believe that people have lived in what we now call Canada for much longer than people have previously believed.

Recently, scientists have discovered an ancient village on the west coast of Canada. The arrival of Europeans on the west coast of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia are more well known.

The recent discovery is  of a 14,000-year-old ancient village and this might change our perception of early civilization in North America. Researches have said these remains are much older than the the Giza pyramids of Egypt. They have found artefacts that reach right back to the Ice Age. Interestingly this aligns with oral traditional history of some First Nations which history was previously discounted. Scholars may have to rethink their customary disparagement of traditional knowledge.

According to J. V. Wright, Curator Emeritus of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and author of A History of the Native People of Canada: Volume I (10,000 -1,000 B.C.) the earlier and orthodox archaeological view of native history the first period which occurred from 12,000 to 10,000 B.P the material cultures that were called the Palaeo-Indian and Northwest Palaeo-Arctic stretched across sites in what we now call the Yukon, the Prairies, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. These cultures have similarities with the Dyuktai culture in Siberia dating back as far as 18,000 B.P. This is understandable since it is generally now believed that the first Indigenous People arrived in the western hemisphere after travelling from Asia across the land bridge that was exposed at that time on account of lower sea levels.

The shared features include wedge-shaped tools made out of rock, not flakes that are broken off, microblades (which are flakes from a core sample of rock), bifacial knives (knives with a blade on both sides), and burins (stone tools for working with antler and bone).

The second period was set by Wright as the period from 10,000 to 6000 B.P. During this time, weapons technology developed substantially. For example, the atlatl or spear thrower was so effective that megafauna (Huge animals found in North America) started to disappear as a result of hunting from Indigenous people. We have to remember that Indigenous people were responsible for some extinctions too. They were not environmental saints.

It is difficult for scientists today to agree with certainty how these ancient people were related to current Indigenous peoples for as they often say, “the stone tools don’t talk.” They have to proceed on the basis of inferences, rather than firm science. This job is made more difficult by the fact that these people migrated widely.  For example, according to their own traditions, the Anishinabe people moved from the Atlantic coast to Quebec and Ontario. Later they even moved into Manitoba, where many of their descendants now reside.

The third period occurred from 6000 to 3000 B.P. The people of this period are the likely ancestors of the Algonquin nation and perhaps Hodenosaunee (Iroquois).

I think what is most important about his history is the necessary recognition if you want to know the history of Canada, the history since the contact of Indigenous people with Europeans is a very brief period of time. This is not a Christian country, or a country founded by the English and the French. This country was founded by the Indigenous Peoples. For example, the first Europeans came to Manitoba less than 400 years ago. That means that more than 95% of the history of the people of this province is not European. As John L. Steckley and Bryan Cummins said in their book, Full Circle Canada’s First Nations, “If you want to learn your history, you need to learn about Natives first.”

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