As Canada celebrates its 150th, our aboriginal citizens object, saying they were here long before 150 years.

Correct. They were, long before 150 years. Apparently there were three waves of settlement; one about 15,000 years ago; a second wave concentrated more on the west coast but again mixed substantially with those of the first wave, and a third wave, about 5,000 years ago, settled mainly in the arctic and also mixed with the earlier waves.

Caucasians and Africans started arriving since 1,000 years ago and again there has been mixing of races.

So was there a “country” here before Canada, or is celebrating not proper.

There definitely were the land and people on the land. But was it a country? From reading, it seems that the people were divided into disparate groups with allies and enemies (Iroquois confederacy vs. the Huron Nation, in the prairies and on the plains, the Blackfoot, Salteaux and Dakota were at least rivals, on the west coast, although often tempered by trade, full out war was known to occur).

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, it would seem that what is now Canada was not what we now call a country. It was settled by folk who considered the particular group they were in as “the people.” These peoples were loosely bound by trade, but they were not a country. Our most recent label is “first nations”. Note, nations not nation. There are different concepts on what is a nation, but what is now Canada didn’t exist as a country.

It is true that the settlers who put together Canada did not include these peoples in their negotiations to create our country. Canada was stitched together as a country from coast to coast to coast to a line and a bunch of lakes and the native population dragged into its fold in a manner that left/leaves much to be desired. Should Canada strive to right the injustices of the Indian Act, Residential Schools, the Sixties swoop? Of course, injustice is injustice.

But, there was no cohesive country in what is now called Canada until 1867. Interestingly, many of the countries of Europe did not exist as countries until the late 1800s. Country as we know it is a result of negotiations, treaties and constitutions and often appeared to happen in the 100 years each side of 1800. We fit right in.

Yes, it is proper to celebrate Canada’s 150th.

The Plaidneck