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The impact of european settlement on aboriginal people in canada

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The Impact of European Settlement on Aboriginal People in Canada It is possible to think that the European settlement in Canada only had a negative impact on the aboriginal people but there are good reasons for this thought. The first and primary impact of European settlement on the aboriginal people in Canada was displacement and removal from their native lands. As European settlement took place in Canada, the natives were swept aside and forced to move to different areas as changes in the use of land show us (Schneider, 1996). Of course such changes did not come immediately from European contact since the contact between Europeans and Aboriginal Canadians had been established since the time of the Vikings.
From fishermen on the coast, to traders for fur and other commodities, it is interesting to note that the story of the contact between Europeans and aboriginals does not start from the voyages of discovery but has its origins in the journeys of the Vikings. However, the real impact on aboriginal people only becomes clear when French and British explorers started making journeys into Canada rather than remain on the Canadian coast. Their journeys took them to areas where farm output was better and this allowed larger settlements to be created by the explorers (Schneider, 1996). The story of these connections between Europeans and people from the old world was quite similar to the situation which developed in America and elsewhere in the world.
The aboriginals were struck with disease and conflict. Diseases which were unknown to them and for which their bodies had no real defenses were laid up against them. Smallpox and other ailments destroyed entire settlements of natives and they were not able to counter the disease with their medicine. As the concept of the disease and the manner in which it spread remained alien to them, they were also unable to take real precautions against the disease which spread quickly (Wikipedia, 2008).
The aboriginals were also impacted in terms of religion and education as the Europeans attempted to civilize the nations of the new world. At the same time, there were several nations which were on friendly terms with the European settlers such as the Algonquin and others included in the Wabankaki Confederacy. With these nations, trade and exchange took place to a great extent which was mutually beneficial for all parties. However, the trade was often replaced with broken contracts and war. For example, the French were continually troubled by the Iroquois who had been given arms by the British in order for them to fight against the French. The natives suffered through disease, proxy wars and being led into situations where they could not do anything to save their land from being taken over by outsiders (Wikipedia, 2008).
While the impact on aboriginal peoples is a matter for historians, it also gives us several important lessons for the future. Whenever there is conflict between nations over resources which are limited, it is perhaps a better idea to come to terms with negotiations, common understandings and communication rather than war. Similarly, perhaps in the future the same lessons could be used in situations where we have first contact with species from another world. Most importantly, we learn that every culture has value and every culture has something to offer to us as a civilization.
Word Count: 602
Works Cited
Schneider, D. 1996, ‘ Effects of European Settlement and Land Use on Regional Patterns of Similarity Among Chesapeake Forests’, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, vol. 123, no. 3, pp. 223-239.
Wikipedia. 2008, ‘ History of Canada’, [Online] Available at: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/History_of_Canada

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