Oral vs. Written History in Early Canada

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To look at early Canadian history we must view documents created by the earliest European settlers into Canada from France; however, this has a few notable disadvantages. Since the Canadian Natives orally delivered their past, it is hard to determine how accurate and how widely-accepted the facts of it would have been today. On the positive side of viewing the French settlers’ documents, we can see many common practices of the natives and learn about their society; for example we can see that there were no police or government, no monetary system, people worked together in harmony (for the most part), and the society existed based on the independence of each family and peacefulness among members its’ members, essentially. The disadvantage of the European documents, to start, is that they do not contain any of the emotions or thoughts of the natives. It is told that the natives are savages who do not understand the very nature of emotions such as “gout, stone, gravel, gall, colic, rheumatism,” however; it is likely that, as humans, they shared a large range of emotions in common with their European visitors and simply used different words for them or described the feelings in completely disparate ways. With comments such as “they do not know what civility is,” alongside descriptions of their harmonious and peaceful lifestyle, it is obvious the natives viewed each other as civil and courteous and the settlers had misconstrued their actions as impolite. The European documents suggest that the natives are an extremely contented, peaceful people who often live to a very old age, yet who are simply wrong in a variety of aspects of their conduct including their hygienic practices and social commerce. It is clear from these documents of the boundaries and customs of the French lifestyle during this time, while much of the successful lifestyle of the natives is

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