- May 2017
An Scottish Canadian explorer, Alexander MacKenzie has been called the "first European man to explore the West" or reach the Pacific. He has become a legend, and was one especially in the decades after his journeys. His roots were in Scotland, particularly the Isle of Lewis,which is on the Western end of Scotland in the Hebrides. This area is very Scottish in culture, and one of the few that still speaks some Gaelic. Alexander Mackenzie was born there in 1762. He is recorded to have immigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1774 at the age of twelve. Mackenzie's father had worked hard to give the family a chance at a life, and Mackenzie grew up not poor. MacKenzie's mother's surname was MacIver. MacKenzie was known for his courage and will. These were characteristics that led to his success as an explorer. MacKenzie first arrived in New York. During the outbreak of the Revolution War in the New York area, MacKenzie's father and uncle decided to fight under the crown for England. Alexander found himself in Canada. He joined the fur trade business in the years that followed, around 1789. MacKenzie even had family members come after him to Canada, following in his footsteps. MacKenzie explored the Athabasca. He also explored the further West and North lands that no European had before, reportedly. Many documents show that MacKenzie was quite rude to the Native tribes of the area. Mackenzie's crew included mostly French-Canadians. His voyages were not perfect, and many times he was lost and angry. MacKenzie kept a journal of his adventures, giving us hints at what happened during this legendary quest. MacKenzie trusted another Scot, Alexander MacKay to help him with his quest. However, MacKay ended up being more successful in Pacific trading than MacKenzie did. Today there are many books and histories written on the explorer. In fact, the great river in Canada, MacKenzie River, is named after him.
Gough, Barry M. First Across the Continent: Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997.
French-Canadians is a term used when describing the families that speak French and live mostly in Quebec, Canada. Settling in this area long before the French and Indian War, the French began their settlements in the early 1600's. They were Roman Catholic, and had a distinct culture from their Protestant southern neighbors settling what would be called New England at the same time. These French-Canadians settled modern day Montreal and Quebec City, along with many other municipalities in the hundreds of miles in Eastern Canada and along the St. Lawrence River. They were farmers, priests, traders and voyageurs. Their biggest influence in the United States came when large numbers of French Canadians immigrated to work in the mills of New England in the era of 1870-1920.
Moogk, Peter N. La Nouvelle France: The Making of French Canada: a Cultural History. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2000.
The Fraser's Highlanders, also known as "The Old 78th Regiment" was a British regiment gathered under William Pitt in 1757 for fighting in the French and Indian War. They fought in many influential battles during the war which lasted until 1763, including the engagements at Louisbourg and Quebec. Many of the men in the regiment settled in Canada after 1763. Many men who were in the regiment had descendants who eventually had an active role in Canadian politics and history, including some who were even involved in exploration and the fur trade. Their legacy lives on as they are considered the first influential wave of Scottish immigration to Canada. They intermarried with the French-Canadians already settled in the region, creating what we know as the Scots-Quebec culture.
Wallace, W.S. Some Notes on Fraser's Highlanders. Canadian Historical Review, 1937.
Occurring in the hundred year period between the mid 1700's and the mid 1800's the Highland Clearances were a massive part of Scottish history. More than simply displacement of many poor and disadvantaged people, the clearances resulted in the almost complete devastation of the Scottish Gaelic culture. The Highland Clearances were also a continuation of the hundreds of years conflict between Anglo-England to the South and Gaelic Scotland and Ireland to the North and the West. These two cultures had been feuding since the dawn of the British Empire, and even before during the Medieval era. Many of the Highlanders evicted during this time were found to emigrate to Canada, the U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand.<br> The grief the Highlanders shared and continue to share about the destruction of their culture by foreign forces, the English, remains a means for their connection to the old Highlands and each other.
Richards, Eric. Debating the Highland Clearances. Edinburgh, UK. Edinburgh University Press, 2007
- Mar 2017
Algal bloom is noted by the EPA as a major environmental problem. Essentially, algal blooms are overgrowths of algae. Of course, a natural phenomenon such as this does not know political boundaries, and thus information given on Algal Bloom by the EPA is as valid in Canada as it is in the U.S. Algal blooms are also known as red tides, cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. Algal blooms are commonly toxic, and the EPA advises people and other animals stay away from water sources that look like they may have algal bloom occurring. This water is commonly green, bad smelling, or scummy. Algal bloom can occur in both marine environments and fresh water environments. In fact, in both these environments, even non-toxic algal blooms can affect the economy and environment. This is because algal blooms can create “dead zones” in the environment they are present in. They also make treatment of drinking water much harder, raising costs of that process. They also hurt industries that rely on clean water to operate. Algal blooms essentially need three things to occur: slow moving water, sunlight, and nutrients. These nutrients include nitrogen and phosphorus. In terms of specific effects of the harmful algal bloom, the human health consequences can be seen as symptoms such as: respiratory problems, stomach illness, liver illness, rashes, and neurological effects. Children drinking nitrates (a common element in algal bloom water) is also very dangerous. Dioxins, which are used to treat water contaminated with the elements of algal bloom, can also be dangerous.
EPA. “Harmful Algal Blooms”. Last modified January 23, 2017. https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms
The Beaufort Delta is on region in the Arctic. It is situated between the Yukon Territory and Nunavut, and with the Arctic Ocean to its North. Inuvik is a town in the Beaufort Delta. It is commonly considered the hub of the area. The Beaufort Deltas population is almost one fifth of the whole population of the North West Territory, and shares 12% of the whole territory’s income. The towns are mostly connected by a few winter roads, with one major road worth of mentioning being the Dempster Highway Connection. The Dempster Highway is important because it can be navigated in all weather and thus is a likely route used by tourists to get to the region. Without it, the area would be much less accessible. Many Europeans travel to the region as tourists. Because of the rising levels of tourists, facilities and accommodations for the tourists are being financed. The Mackenzie Mountains, the Delta alone, and the Arctic Ocean landscape are some of the most popular natural landmarks that tourists flock to see. The midnight sun is also a big hit for visitors of the region. In terms of industry, the region has a strong gas market. Projects such as the Ikhil Gas Project help the region get power by providing electricity. The Mackenzie Gas Project is a project that is currently being evaluated for development. Fur trade is also sometimes still practiced in the region. Transportation and public administration are also sectors that can be profitable for the region.
ITI. “Beaufort Delta”. Last modified unknown. http://www.iti.gov.nt.ca/en/beaufort-delta
Fort McPherson is also known as “Tetl’it Zheh” in Gwich’in or “Town at the Head Waters”. It was established in 1849. The actual site of Fort McPherson now wasn’t the place where the original trading post actual was. This was four miles North up the lower Peel River, where John Bell, Hudson’s Bay Company explorer first arrived. This “Peel River” that connects to the McKenzie Delta, is named after Robert Peel, who first explored the area in the 1826 Franklin Expedition. The post is formally named after Murdoch McPherson, who was the “Chief Factor” for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Fort McPherson sits on a bluff and has quite the view of the Richardson Mountains. Anglican missionaries arrived to the area in 1866. This was a period that started the strong connection between the Native Gwich’in people and Christianity. Archdeacon Robert McDonald started this connection by translating the Bible into the local language. Since 1900 a school has existed in the area, first started by missionaries. The area began to be policed in 1903 when the Northwest Mounted Police arrived. Now, Gwich’in and settlers live in the same community in Fort McPherson. The population of the community is below 1000, at about 900, most of which have Gwich’in ancestry. Attached below is a picture of the area.
Fort McPherson Hamlet. “Fort McPherson- A Brief History.” Last modified 2010. http://www.fortmcpherson.ca/AboutUs http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/28224426.jpg
Commonly referred to throughout history as “metis”, “mixed-bloods”, or “michif”, this group of individuals represented a population thought to be half- European and half- First Nation Peoples. More specifically, “Metis” is used to refer to the population that has mixed French Canadian and Cree ancestry living in Canada. Within the context of our studies, however, the term is commonly used in the Mackenzie District to mean mixed blood of European and First Nations ancestry. They have been plagued by lack of opportunity given to them by the Canadian government, or lack of representation. However, before the turn of the 19th century they famously fought for their recognition in the “North West Rebellion”, a stand for their community that took place in 1885. Their struggle to gain proper recognition as a people under the Canadian government is one that represents a common theme in the topics relevant in this article. Much of Metis identity comes from identifying as those who were “dispossessed by Canadian government actions from 1870 on”. The number of Metis in Canada has been estimated to be around 750,000. The 1970s saw groups of Metis from the Dakotas, Canada, Idaho and Montana gather to commemorate their shared heritage and pride. The Metis have been referred to as the “Forgotten People”. The history of these people actually started when male members of the Hudson’s Bay Company married and had Children with Cree women. These children were the first to be identified as Metis. Their history is a long and powerful one, dating back to the 1670s.
If you select the link to the Manitoba Metis Federation website in the reference section below, you can view the Metis Flag.
Jacqueline Peterson and Jennifer S.H. Brown, The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Metis in North America (Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press, 1985) https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=q8qervZ6nakC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=metis&ots=eb9wxWIATY&sig=ejlZFKH4ZkQVeLLk1hd9fCwdvtY#v=onepage&q=metis&f=false
Manitoba Metis Federation. “History of the Metis Flag.” Last modified 2017. http://www.mmf.mb.ca/history_of_the_metis_flag.php