Spring 2016 – Ontario's First Nations Then and Now

Ontario’s First Nations Then and Now

Tuesdays, April 5 to May 24, 2016, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon

Presenter:          Alison Norman, PhD

April 5       In the Beginning: Creation stories and life before the arrival of the Europeans

In this first lecture, we will look at how Anishnaabe (Ojibwe) and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people understand their creation and their arrival in Ontario. We will also discuss how people lived before the arrival of Europeans, including means of subsistence, social structures and religion.

April 12     First Contact: Arrival of the Europeans and settlement in Ontario

This lecture will briefly cover the arrival of key Europeans in what became Canada, and the early relationships that were forged between Indigenous peoples and European explorers, missionaries and traders. We will also discuss the impact that these new arrivals had, especially in terms of religious conversion and disease. Finally, we will look at the Jesuits in Huronia.

April 19     We are all Treaty People: Land surrenders and treaties

Once Ontario was in the hands of the British after the conquest of Quebec in 1760, the British began to negotiate land surrenders and, later, treaties. These foundational documents are key to the relationships between Indigenous people and the government today. This lecture will look at some of the key land surrenders, especially for what became the GTA, including Mississauga.

April 26     Guest Lecturer

Carolyn King, Community Historian and Former Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit will speak about the history and culture of her people.

May 3        Reserves and Missions: The lives of Indigenous people in the nineteenth century

As part of the treaty process in the early decades of the 19th century, Indigenous people moved to reserves and began to farm, attend church and send their children to day schools. We will look at reserve life and the changes those communities went through. Peter Jones and the Credit Mission will be discussed in this lecture.

May 10      Residential Schools: The impetus, implications and legacy of residential schooling

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has brought attention to Canada’s dark residential school history. This lecture will give an overview of the residential school program nationally and then focus specifically on southern Ontario residential schools, including the nearby Mohawk Institute at Brantford. We will consider what happened in these schools and the intergenerational impacts they continue to have today.

May 17      The Great War and Political Organizing in the Interwar Years

This lecture will look at the response to the Great War from Indigenous communities in Ontario, especially the Six Nations of Grand River, including the enlistment of men and the women’s home front work. Political changes in the interwar years and the efforts to form the League of Indians of Canada will also be discussed.

May 24      World War II and Beyond: The fight of Indigenous people for their rights in Canada

In our last lecture, we consider the changes in “Indian” policy in Canada, the White Paper and the activism of Indigenous people in Ontario, especially over land and women’s rights. We will look at the Ipperwash standoff, and end with the Idle No More movement and the high voter turnout in the 2015 federal election.