An Introduction to Canadian History

My view on history

These have been my favourite readings over the semester. Each of these logs have given me a different outllok on history and the stories of others.

September 25th,

“We are Well As We Are”the title of this chapter is exactly what it means. In the seventeenth century christianity was introduced to the Hurons. Hurons are an Indian American group that were colonized by the Europeens.  Europeans came to their land and tried to make them just like they were. They thought they needed to have the same beliefs on sex, marriage, education and fashion. They tried to make the Hurons even look like them. Europeens only taught their language and only told their stories. The Hurons beliefs were in the midst of becoming extinct. The idea of Jesus and heaven were largely used to convey them into believing in God. The Huron people didn’t understand the idea of heaven, hell and sins. They had come from a life where they had never experienced sinning before. They knew only the difference between right and wrong but did not believe that it would condemn you to hell. They already had their own ways of being forgiven. The thought of being stuck in a place of hell where you are tortured by your own people did not make sense to them. Even with the idea of this “amazing” heaven, they did not understand why someone would want to live an eternity with no sex, or work. The Huron people rejected all of these ideas but where forced to believe in them anyway. They were not given choices of whether or not they could attend church or keep their hair long. The Huron people were well as they are and desired to not be troubled. In the end of the story a spirit comes down, he calls himself the one the Europeans call jesus. He says that the Europeans are wrong and that they must not assimilate with them. The Huron people were happy as they were. That this did not mean that they would not evolve but that they did not want to evolve in a way that their ancestors and stories were forgotten. The Huron people had lessons within their stories and these lessons would be useful for the future. The spirit agreed with these things and gave them the acknowledgment they needed

October 2nd,

The Fur Trade is known to be dominated by European Men. This article tells the less known stories of our past. It begins by explaining how many women, once their husbands die, take over the fur trade business within their family. “They continued to outfit vessels, to underwrite insurance, and to make investments . . . (also) training their sons.” p.49). Some woman also “made loans to fur traders and joined trading factions.” (17). These women did a very good job, in fact sometimes better than the men. Besides being the widows of fur traders, some woman did it as a professional work choice. They’d work in the “small fry” trade, trading many different small things, employers’ shirts, blankets, pairs of leggings, brandy, peas, deer and beaver skins, and powder. These women became very successful in what they did as they’d make business deals to bigger trade posts. These women often supplied the best in the colony and traded things no one else was. French engineer Louis Franquet is a perfect example of a woman who thought different than the other businessmen and succeeded because of it. Another group of women solely worked to make sure the posts were ran properly. Ensuring that wages were fair, and all the work was done when and how it needed to be. Trying to label the role of the woman cannot be done easily. “The fact that so much essential work was done by women in households, on farms, and in various kinds of trade, plus their substantial property rights under the Custom of Paris, makes labeling them” dependents “inaccurate” (52). Woman and Men work very hard no matter what they’re doing, working outside and in the dirt. They grew, traded, processed, packed, and shipped its natural resources of furs, fish, marine oils, timber, earthenware, fibers, and foodstuffs produced on farms or culled from waters and forests€¦ Almost everywhere in the Atlantic world, women’s work did eventually change, in the direction of less outdoor work, fewer home manufactures, less economic production and exchange, generally less visibility in public. In eighteenth-century Canada, it had not changed yet (55). The woman and men that lived in these colonies did not have very much but all worked, doing everything they could to change and grow Canada. The Fur Trade is not the story of European men but of everyone involved, especially the woman that are often ignored.

“A Fille du Rois Passage”, shows an undervalued importance that the European women carried. Men overpopulated the women by many when they were set out to colonize a new world. Their task was to grow the new and most extravagant place to live. Land, Resources and Women. However, they did not have any women there, for pleasure or for bearing children. The king decided that he would pay money to women to sail across the sea to an entirely new world so that they would help repopulate. These women left their families and friends to do something no one else ever had. When they descended their ships, they were instantly married and put to work. They did many jobs that would soon be known as men jobs. Including bearing children and taking care of the family. The story of these women is not talked about much, Often the story of the men will be told when speaking about the settlers.

As a woman it speaks to me deeply that the world could not be what it is without us. That the beginning of Canada was because of brave, hardworking women. I really enjoyed reading these two pieces and hope that the stories of these women will be told more often and for a bigger audience.


October 16th

Sophia Burthen Pooley, Henry Lewis, Peggy and Dorinda Baker all have very different stories but lived very similar lives. All four lived as slaves in upper Canada. Being bought, sold and treated as property. They did not live a life they or anyone deserved, but their stories go on to help us as historians understand our past and our mistakes.

Sophia Burthen Pooley was born into a world as slaves. Her mother and father were both slaves and at the age of seven she was sold for the first time. Living with a family she was adopted to be one of their own. Hunting with the father and other kids. However, her days were not always lived out as happy. She was beat by the wife and sold again at the age of 12, living most of her life in slavery.

Henry Lewis escaped his owner and then proceeded to request to buy his own freedom. Writing a letter, he stated that it was the fault of the wife and that he was grateful for the life he was given but that he wants to live freely on his own. Showing that he understands that life will not be fair to him, he asks to buy his own freedom.

Peggy’s story is an example of slave resistance. Her and her three children were described as “insolent, pilfering and lying”. The owner tried to sell them but couldn’t, instead sent out a letter asking that others did not help out or give work to Peggy.

Dorinda Baker lived with and worked for the same owner for a long time. When her owner passed away e left Dorinda and her kids land, money, and freedom for them all.  This was around 1833 when the last slaves were freed. They began to live a life of their own.

Each of these stories has its own lesson but all show how none of the African American people desired to be slaves. This shows us that no one wants to be owned. That freedom is a curtail part of Canada and what we represent now. It also helps us remember that when we look into the future we need to make sure that everyone has a voice and that everyone is equally important to one another

October 23rd

British Columbia’s Gold Rush

British Columbia remained almost untouched by Europe all the way until the end of the 19th century. Geography played the biggest role in this as it was just too far away. Topography didn’t help either. The landscape was hard to maneuver around and work with. The trees were too big to be cut, and the hills were too large to make crops. There was no point for the Europeans to settle there as they had numerous better options. It was too hard with not enough rewards.  Because of this, there was not many people living in B.C. Victoria was the most populated location at this time with 300 people living there. The gold rush changed this and had a huge impact on the community and native population. The gold rush attracted every type of person; ” Gold-seekers required neither skills nor capital”. Mining towns were popping up everywhere. Thousands and thousands of people travelled for a chance to be rich. They did not however expect it to be so hard. Minors worked for wages, creating partnerships as they were all so poor. May 1st, word that Fraser and Thompson Rivers was the mother lode got out. Immense amount of hope scattered across the country. Everyone set out in search for their shot. Trying to hit gold was a hard task. Numerous nights spent freezing cold, no sleep and hungry. The Indians were also found to be quite troublesome, Stealing or even killing the minors. Fraser and Thompson River was thought to be a myth. People warned others that the labor was too intense and that the gold was too fine to make anyone rich. The country was not what it was represented to be; “there is nothing in this country but mines, it is not a real place”. A gloomy impression began, and people no longer want to mine. The history and stories of the gold rush were not told in truth. Some believe that the gold rush is the main reason as to why B.C is what it is now, some believe that it was the most injustice to the Indians living there and others believe that it was a very hard period, filled with struggling and learning. The gold rush had many different impacts on different times and still impacts people today.

November 8th,

In early Canada it was known to be quite normal that an old man would Mary a young female. This wouldnt be the choice of the female but that of her father. with time this would be ridiculed, poked, and later on banned. This tradition however was to in-fact benefit the woman in the end. The old man would offer safety, shelter, food and wisdom. Because of his age he would already know how to hunt and survive on his own. This tradition however caused a great deal of dependence towards the husband. The woman would wait around and serve her husband. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids and nurturing the family. In the excerpt from Susanna Moodie, she explains just how worrisome and and how hard it was for these girls to suddenly be on their own. When the husband does not return from hunting for several days, the girl feels lost. She doesn’t know how to keep warm over night or even milk a cow. In todays generating men and women are very dependent. There are rarely any strict sex roles. Woman and men can all do the same job and have the same knowledge opportunities. Certain countries still believe in having co-dependant relationships and feel as if it should always stay a social norm. I am glad that this is not the case in Canada. I couldn’t image marrying someone at the age of 13, especially to someone so old that he could have been my dad.

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