A Nomadic Life
We have a great heritage here in Canada, National and Provincial Parks. They are spaces reserved for mankind, where, for a price, you can commune with nature. And a lot of people pack up the kids and belongings and head out to the ‘wilderness’ with their tents, campers and caravans throughout the summer. What a life, eh?
They are considered “Weekend Wanderers”, like I was considered a “weekend hippy” during my teens. They don’t live as nomads, they just play at it.
In the distant past, the People, living off the land, had to move from place to place because the land couldn’t support them if they settled down in one spot forever.This was especially true when it came to their food sources. The Plains Indians had to follow the buffalo migration in order hunt them. And the buffalo provided much more than just food, they provided utensils (bones) and clothing (hides) for their use. Nothing was wasted.
About the mid 17th Century, Europeans discovered that there was an abundance of beaver to be had in the New World. And where money can be made, the enterprising few will seek to do so.
Radisson and Groseilliers were just a couple of ‘chancers’ who wanted to make a lot of money without having to follow the rules. Because of Radisson’s youthful brushes with the Mohawk (of the Iroquois Five Nations) and their enemies (the Huron and Algonquin confederacy), he was considered a valued asset to any fur trading negotiations: he could speak their languages fluently.
As a result, the two set out to find waterways that would take them across the Great Lakes and up to the ‘inland sea’, Hudson Bay. They effectively opened up a great tract of previously uncharted territory, and eventually help start the Hudson’s Bay Company.
But, along with them, came a whole boatload of others who wanted to make their fortunes, too. And the Native Indians soon had a fight on their hands to retain their right to be on the land.
Last of the Mohicans
Hawkeye – The novel’s frontier hero, he is a woodsman, hunter, and scout. Hawkeye is the hero’s adopted name; his real name is Natty Bumppo. A famous marksman, Hawkeye carries a rifle named Killdeer and has earned the frontier nickname La Longue Carabine, or The Long Rifle. Hawkeye moves more comfortably in the forest than in civilization. His closest bonds are with Indians, particularly Chingachgook and Uncas, but he frequently asserts that he has no Indian blood. As a cultural hybrid—a character who mixes elements of different cultures—Hawkeye provides a link between Indians and whites. (SparkNotes)
I like to think that Nathanial Bumppo was based upon Pierre-Esprit Radisson. This book was published in 1826, by James Fenimore Cooper. He wrote the story slightly more than 100 years after Radisson’s own experiences as an adopted son to a Mohawk family. When I read the book, I got goosebumps (as you do when your spirit recognizes a truth). The movie moved me even more.
Its depiction of the Indian Wars, the fight between the two nations for territory and control of its resources was quite startling to witness. We are so used to the Dances with Wolves version of the Nomadic Life (as depicted by White Eagle, for example) that we forget that the white man’s influence caused a very violent disruption to their lives. In the end, the Native populations were tricked into signing over their rights to the land, and they were moved onto Reservations. Their nomadic life came to an end.
The initial photograph in this post shows a nomad from Asia. That is a reminder that the Native Indians may have migrated from there. Even now, we have a great number of people trying to escape from their usual ‘home’ to come to the New World and a new life. They are doing this because of war, famine and ‘ethnic cleansing’. It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
If we can take one lesson from the Aboriginal People, it is this: