Natives and Newcomers: Canada’s "Heroic Age" Reconsidered by Bruce G. Trigger

By Bruce G. Trigger

In keeping with traditional nineteenth-century knowledge, societies of eu beginning have been evidently innovative; local societies have been static. One outcome of this angle used to be the just about common separation of historical past and anthropology. at the present time, regardless of a starting to be curiosity in adjustments in Amerindian societies, this dichotomy keeps to distort the research of Canadian background and to assign local peoples just a marginal position in it. "Natives and novices" discredits that delusion. In a lively and significant second look of relatives among the French and the Iroquoian-speaking population of the St Lawrence lowlands, from the incursions of Jacques Cartier throughout the explorations of Samuel de Champlain and the Jesuit missions into the early years of the royal regime, "Natives and novices" argues that local humans have performed an important position in shaping the advance of Canada.Trigger additionally exhibits that the mostly overlooked French investors and their staff verified family members with local people who have been vital for founding a doable eu colony at the St Lawrence. The brisk narrative of this era is complemented by means of an in depth survey of the stereotypes approximately local people who have stimulated the advance of Canadian heritage and anthropology and by means of candid discussions of ways old, ethnographical, and archaeological ways can and can't be mixed to provide a extra rounded and exact knowing of the previous. Bruce G. set off is Professor of Anthropology, McGill collage.

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He thus became the first historian to examine Charlevoix's sources and ponder the quality of his work. Unlike Charlevoix, he had little, if any, direct knowledge of native people. Garneau reproduced many of Charlevoix's positive stereotypes about Indians. He praised their respect for the dead and their eloquence and denied that they were naturally inferior to Whites or 30 Natives and Newcomers could not be civilized; they were simply dwelling in mental darkness. He also adopted Charlevoix's stereotypes of individual tribes, lauding the Iroquois as intellectually superior to other native peoples and the Micmacs for their gentleness and bravery.

For him their alleged status as a "less evolved race" sufficed to explain why for thousands of years they had been condemned to follow the same degrading way of life (Groulx 1919). While Groulx was criticized by some of his contemporaries for his attacks on racial mixing, leading French- and English-Canadian historians continued to maintain, as late as the 19605, that Canada was fortunate to have been spared the complications 3 5 The Indian Image in Canadian History that were alleged to have arisen in Latin America and elsewhere as the result of racial mixture between native peoples and European immigrants (Lanctot 1963:330; Morton 1963:60—1).

In his massive Histoire des Canadiens-fran$ais, Suite (1882-4, 3:144) assured his readers that their ancestors had been carried off, tortured, and burned by the Iroquois. Most historians did not try to understand why the Iroquois had treated these "pioneers of faith and civilization" so brutally. Even a priest who had worked for many years among the Algonkians chronicled the gluttony, fiendishness, perfidy, and cruelty of their ancestors (Maurault 1866). Indians were habitually portrayed as simple hunter-gatherers, and historians contrasted the radiance of converts with the wretchedness and corruption of paganism.

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