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Sixteenth Century Contact Between the Trent Valley ‘Hurons’ and the French on the St. Lawrence: Unearthing the Mosaic

Author(s): Peter Ransdeb

Year: 2014

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Summary

In the Northeast, ‘contact’ refers to meetings between Aboriginal Americans and Western Europeans. But ‘contact’ is really a way of saying ‘contact-induced culture change’, since the key is not the meeting of two peoples, but the cultural changes that resulted. Thus the meetings between Norse and Aboriginal people in the far northeast over 4 centuries are not considered to mark the beginning of contact, whereas the visits of Cartier to the St. Lawrence over a period of a few months in 1534 are. The difference is that the visits of the Norse apparently had little if any lasting effect, whereas those of Cartier heralded a new era in Northeastern history. In this light, ‘contact’ in the lower Great Lakes probably began as early as the 15th century, but certainly by the early 16th century when, despite the lack of face-to-face contact, social and political changes occurred as a result of Aboriginal involvement in the activities of Europeans nearby. An examination of this period in the Trent Valley of southern Ontario reveals some profound economic and political changes. These, however, varied from one community to another, and some communities attempted to reject them entirely.


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Sixteenth Century Contact Between the Trent Valley ‘Hurons’ and the French on the St. Lawrence: Unearthing the Mosaic. Peter Ransdeb. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436904)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-36,08

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America