Preconceptions of the New World
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Preconceptions of the New World
The Europeans initially saw the natives through a monochromatic lens; a race of primitives that was by turns endearing (when they were guiding them, procuring furs or offering herbal cures), or a barbarous and godless impediment to exploration.

But the Amerindians in Canada were part of a complex network of separate cultures, with twelve different language groups and a host of dialects. There were differing political structures, longstanding rivalries, and varied spiritual beliefs.
Iroquois allant a la De Couverte, 1796. National Archives of Canada C-3165
Iroquois allant a la De Couverte, 1796. National Archives of Canada C-3165

By 4,000 BC there were already native trading patterns in eastern Canada. Trade demanded a common language, which was sometimes a separate dialect that both groups understood and which combined features of several tongues.

It required protocol and laws. Whoever controlled a territory controlled the trade that went through it. But as the tribes were to learn, their trade patterns - indeed almost every aspect of their lives - would be disrupted and altered by the ambitions and actions of the new arrivals from Europe.
Sauvage Iroquoise Artist: Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur. National Archives of Canada C-003166
Sauvage Iroquoise Artist: Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauveur. National Archives of Canada C-003166


Actor Flint Eagle plays Dekanawideh, the legendary bringer of peace, in Canada: A People's History.
Actor Flint Eagle plays Dekanawideh, the legendary bringer of peace, in Canada: A People's History.

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Peace amongst the Iroquois

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Iroquois Confederacy from ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA
Writings from The Iroquois Constitution, from Illinois Valley Community College
Version of the Iroquois Constitution from Washington State University

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