Store Banner Desktop

Store Banner Mobile

Hunting Buffalo by Alfred Jacob Miller (1858) Walters Art Museum (Public Domain)

Preserving The Beasts That Powered The Canadian First Nations

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

In Canada the term ‘First Nations’ represents the aboriginal communities who draw their origins from the pre-contact era (before the arrival of Europeans) up to the present day. Historians generally describe six main geographic groups of early First Nations who still live in the territory which is today Canada, and while they have similar cultural origins, they have different social organizations, resources, homes, transportation, clothing, and spiritual ceremonies.

First conference between the French and First Nations leaders, by Émile Louis Vernier. (circa 1887) (Public Domain).

First conference between the French and First Nations leaders, by Émile Louis Vernier. (circa 1887) (Public Domain).

Today’s First Nations have become consumed by the motifs of pop culture and for so many people, dream-catchers and T-shirts with wolves howling at the moon is about as deep as their understanding goes. But before the arrival of the first European explorers in the early 17th century, the First Nations’ existence depended solely on the resources of their natural environment and their cultures were all shaped by those creatures most dominant in those environments.

Top Canadian wildlife photographer, Jono Adams, who lives and works in the ancestral territories of the First Nations, brings a deeper understanding and insight into these ancient cultures by capturing on camera a handful of the animals that were hunted and worshiped, and that most shaped 14,000 years of First Nation history.

Jono Adams, wildlife photographer and aerial videographer in North American landscape flying a drone. (Image: ©

Jono Adams, wildlife photographer and aerial videographer in North American landscape flying a drone. (Image: ©

First Nation Landscapes

According to the First Nations website, the Woodland First Nations comprise many independent groups, each of which managed their own traditional hunting territories, and the leaders of these people generally won their positions through acts of great courage or skill during the hunt. Woodland First Nations trappers and hunters valued their ancestral knowledge of the seasonal migration patterns of animals and birds that they depended on for survival, as they migrated along with moving food resources.

In contrast, the Iroquoian First Nations, now known as the ‘Haudenosaunee, or ‘People of the Longhouse’ , did not migrate in search of food as they were highly skilled corn, bean and squash farmers.


Like this Preview and want to read on? You can! JOIN US THERE with easy, instant access ) and see what you’re missing!! All Premium articles are available in full, with immediate access.

For the price of a cup of coffee, you get this and all the other great benefits at Ancient Origins Premium. And - each time you support AO Premium, you support independent thought and writing.

Ashley Cowie is a Scottish historian, author and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems, in accessible and exciting ways. His books, articles and television shows explore lost cultures and kingdoms, ancient crafts and artifacts, symbols and architecture, myths and legends telling thought-provoking stories which together offer insights into our shared social history. Jono Adams is available at, and his new Instagram account: @grizlier_adams.

Top ImageHunting Buffalo by Alfred Jacob Miller (1858) Walters Art Museum (Public Domain)

By  Ashley Cowie



Hi All,

I just have one question does anyone know how much Territory The Iroquois Nation's dwelt? I mean how far does it stretch.

Unfortunately, the only tidbit information; I was aware of regarding The Iroquois is through that Book; apparently, it's considered a classic "Last of The Mohicans". An a first grade teacher the whole class crafted Long House's.

The teacher assigned us an Indigenous Tribe to Study; it was in first grade, I was assigned the Cherokee.

The oddest thing is that all of my school teachers dealt with Indigenous Tribes in North America, only.

Not once did they bring up Canada, well accept for this one time.

A teacher did discuss Canada but, not The First Nation's that lived there. The teacher shared with the class that European Americans were non-stop with constantly removing all of the Tribes from their Ancestral Land's.

But, with this One Tribe collectively as a People made the decision and I apologize, I can't remember The Name of The People, they decided to run to Canada.

The United States Army of 1880, something after tracking All The People stopped The Whole Nation; preventing Them from entering into Canada; an The Tribe were just a few miles away from Canada.

When the U. S. Army caught up with The People, They turned Them Back and forcibly Placed The People on to those Reservations.

That was the only time I heard of Canada and Indigenous Tribes in the same breath. As weird as it sounds, it just never occurred too me that First Nation's of Canada existed.

I know better now because of a few ethnic study classes, and library classes that I have also taken.

I've been reading This one Book Code Talker's which is about
The Navajo Code Talkers during World War II.

So thanks for sharing this here article, and since, I noticed the article mention The Iroquois Nation, I was wondering how far of a range did They initially possess.

I'll end discussion here for now and before, I forget everybody, Happy New Year, so until, next time Everyone, Goodbye!

ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

Next article