GG 354OC Ice Free Corridor and Costal Migration Route Theories

GG 354OC Ice Free Corridor and Costal Migration Route Theories

GG 354OC Ice Free Corridor and Costal Migration Route Theories

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In this lesson we will consider the earlier settlers of this region, from the time of retreat of the last glaciers until the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the focus will be on the settling of the region by First Nations, primarily those who migrated from Europe to the Arctic regions. In general there are two main groups in the far north and two groups in the Boreal region.

Lesson 5: Social History and Cultural Background
Early Settlement
The initial human settlement of the North has a varied history. It is closely linked to the retreat of glacial ice cover. In areas where there has been little cover, small groups moved in to take advantage of the new landscape. There is debate over the advance across the Bering land bridge and subsequent immigration through corridors through the Mackenzie Valley.
Glacial Retreat: Land Bridges and Corridors
Early patterns of settlement were dependent on open landscapes. There has been much scholarly debate over the archeological evidence of glacial or post-glacial corridors that facilitated the migration of animals and humans into the North and South American continents. In Vignette 3.2 of the text, Bone introduces the Clovis Theory. What is this theory and what evidence is there of this?
The routes of these early settlers have been strongly debated. There are two main schools of thought: the Ice Free Corridor between the Cordillera and Laurentide ice sheets and the Coastal Migration Route, along the Pacific coast line. Follow the links for each route and read the articles that investigate both these proposals. Read about these theories and in your own words explain the arguments for each side. This is an active research topic. For example, there has been recent advances in the Coastal Migration Route theory with discoveries on the islands off the coast of California.
In addition, there have been recent news reports concerning new information published on the Pacific Coastal vs Ice-Free Corridor debate. Follow this link to a recent CBC Broadcast and this CBC Report and a link for a scientific release at Science Express
The information concerning the peopling of North America has advanced again. Largely the new information indicates two things: (i) the very first people most likely came to NA from NE Asia via the Bering Land Bridge, followed the Pacific coastline, and travelled by water (coastal theory gaining substantial scientific support), and (ii) the natives of North America came to North America continuously over a broad span of time (not just one entry time) and used multiple routes, both the Pacific coastal route (earliest and continued migration through time) and the Ice-Free Corridor (later migrations than coastal).

Discussion 2
Let’s see what the class thinks on this debate. After reading about the Ice Free Corridor and Costal Migration Route theories, which argument do you think is more plausible?

Lesson 5: Social History and Cultural Background
Early Cultures
Several cultural groups have been identified in the pre-European landscape of the Canadian North. Three main periods have been identified which were dominated by each group. In this section you will examine each period and make notes on different aspects of their cultures and economies. The main periods are identified as Paleo-Indians or Pre-Dorset, Dorset or Till and Thule. For each group consider (a) time period, (b) geographical location, (c) social system, (d) resource dependence, and (e) reason for change. This information can be gathered from several sources including:
Arctic Archeology (University of Waterloo)
Nunavut History (history of Iqaliut)
Canadian Museum of Civilization (extensive notes on all cultures – focus on the north)
Time Period Location Social System Resource Dependence Reasons for Change
Dorset –
To unravel some of the mystery of the succession between cultures read the article by Friesen (2004) entitled Contemporaneity of Dorset and Thule Cultures in the North American Arctic: New Radiocarbon Dates from Victoria Island, Nunavut. In this article you will be introduced to the conflict in determining the sequence of immigration to northern communities. You should be able to discuss the arguments within the conflict.
Bone identifies three main native groups occupying northern lands at the time of European contact. These groups included the Inuit or Thule as you have studied and two southern groups – these included the Athapaskan, also known as the Dene, which occupied the lands to the southwest of the Inuit in the northern plains and Yukon territory and the Algonquin which located to the west, south and east of lower Hudson Bay and encompassed the area of the Cree of James Bay.
Lesson 5: Social History and Cultural Background

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European Contact
There was little North American contact between Europeans and Aboriginal populations until the opening up of the north and west for trade and exploration. European interests were primarily to find a route to the Asian spice markets and access to interior North America for the fur trade.
One group of Europeans that expanded the world’s understanding of the Northern lands and cultures were the explorers that were attempting to find a route, the Northwest Passage, through the Arctic waters linking Europe and Asia. Their journals have provided much information on the natural and cultural landscape of the North over the past 500 years. In this section we will take a short look at some of the major players and events around the search for the Northwest Passage.
There has been much written about this subject but to gain an overview we will focus on one source, a government link to the Library and Archives Canada pages on Pathfinders and Passageways. This page is intended as an introduction to this history but will provide you with a snapshot of the prominent explorers of each century. You will find as you read through these pages that we can organize the search into two general periods. The first period occurred during the 16th and 17th centuries and includes explorers whose names dot the northern landscape such as Hudson and Baffin and the second period in the 19th and 20th centuries when the journey through the passage was finally completed.
Early Voyages
Read through the pages on the 16th and 17th centuries and become familiar with the sequence of events in the search for a Northwest Passage and the roles of the following explorers.
On your worksheet, prepare a sentence or two for each explorer documenting their major achievements or what they are most remembered for in the historical records.
Explorer Major Achievements or event for which they are most remembered
Later Voyages
Following this period of activity, interest in the Northwest Passage waned considerably and was not renewed until the 19th and 20th centuries. Read through these pages and consider the following:
Complete a similar exercise for these explorers as you did for those in the previous section.
Explorer Major Achievements or event for which they are most remembered
Fur Trade
Early European settlement was a combination of British and French occupation, but in the North most contact was dominated by British occupation and fur trade. Work through the textbook for a general overview of the historical sequence of the fur trade. If you are interested you can return to the Archives link and read more on the explorers that expanded the European knowledge of the interior of the North during the 17th and 18th centuries. These included names such as Kelsey, Hearne, Thompson, Mackenzie and Fraser.
In this section we will focus on the ramifications that the establishment of an extensive network of trading posts had on the traditional structure of the native system. Read through Chapter Three and be familiar with the establishment of the Hudson ‘s Bay Company and the impact this had on changing the people and landscape of the North. Consider each of the following: