Good morning! We will continue with the Series Nations at War. This series has been an up and down series to review. Some episodes have been really good and easy to review, while others have been difficult to review because, at the end of the episode, I had more questions than answers. There were also times when I would have appreciated longer episodes to either clarify the information that was presented, or I would have appreciated more stories.
The first episode retells the story of the Mi-Kmaq people and is a repeat of the previous episode. Most likely the editors accidentally did a repeat. So, I will skip this first half and you can watch episode five to learn more about the Mi-Kmaq, their French Allies, and the war against Britain.
The second half of the episode moves west. The nations at war center on the great plains. The landscape is different from the East Coast and so the First Nations had to adapt to different conditions. The Great Plains are a vast grassland and were shaped by the Buffalo. The Buffalo refreshed the grounds of the prairies and spread plant life according to their migrations. Even First Nation mythology talked about the buffalo. The buffalo provided everything the first nations needed. The First Nations of the Great Plains had to move with the herds. Unlike their counterparts in the east, the First Nations of the Great Plains had to be able to move and move quickly with the buffalo herds. They did not put down roots in one place, so what materials they had, had to be lightweight and easily carried.
The most powerful nomads of the Great Plains were the Itzakaki. Their descendants were divided into three nations: Siksika, Kainai, and Piikani. These three nations would eventually form the Blackfoot Confederacy. They were united by culture, faith, and intermarriage. They learned to hunt buffalo. A cornered and scared buffalo could be a dangerous buffalo. How could they hunt such a big animal? They drove buffalo off cliffs or drove them into pens and killed them that way.
The Blackfoot Confederacy had many rivals. The Crow, the Cree, the Iron Confederacy, the Shoshone came into conflict with the Blackfoot Confederacy. Due to the Blackfoot Confederacy’s power, other First Nations sought to join with them. However, in the 1730s things changed. The Shoshones attacked a neighboring tribe and his time they had an advantage: they fought on horseback.
Horses were introduced in 1492 by the Spanish. Eventually, the horse made its way north and the First Nations started using them. The First Nations started realizing how important it was to have horses. The Blackfoot Confederacy sought and used horses. The horse provided an elevated platform. The horse became an important source of wealth. This helped the First Nations move, hunt, and fight.
However, the Cree sought another advantage: they acquired guns from the British Traders. The Cree encouraged the British of the Hudson Bay Company to build forts south. More settlers flooded in and there were more conflicts at hand. So, the Blackfoot Confederacy had to negotiate for these guns. With guns, they were able to fight their traditional enemy the Shoshone with guns and horses. They fought to establish a new balance of power on the Great Plains. Diseases weakened other tribes and the Blackfoot took advantage. Who could stand up against the Blackfoot? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out!
At first, I thought this episode addressed more of the American Great Plains but soon discovered that it was more about Canada. While I appreciate Canadian history, I would have preferred learning about the American Great Plains.
The first half of Nations at War focuses on the Iroquois and the Iroquois Confederacy. The second half of the episode features Arcadia and the Mi-Kmaq.
It is 1609, and France has won its first battle in North America. However, what the French did not know is what they made an enemy. This enemy would be willing to fight for the future. This enemy was bound together in a five First Nation alliance, and they would be willing to fight for their people. Along the South Shores of Lake Ontario, the Iroquois people banded together in an alliance. They were the people of the longhouse. They were farmers and grew staple crops of corn, beans, and squash. Their harvest fed large amounts of people. The female clan leaders elected male chiefs. Their villages were protected by high walls.
The five First Nations that made up the Iroquois Confederacy were the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Cayuga. By the 1500s, the tribes were united by the Great Law of Peace. Any conflicts would be resolved with the Great Law of Peace. However, this law did not protect them from other First Nations. They competed with other tribes for hunting land. However, the Wendat was the Iroquois greatest rival. Iroquois would adopt captives to take the place of their dead. This helped expand the Iroquois’ strength.
In 1609, the Iroquois Wars began. Three strangers have joined up with the Wendat and the Algonquin to fight the Iroquois. These were French traders, and the French were feeding the European appetite for furs. Furs were a valuable commodity, and they guarded their status as middlemen. During the Iroquois war, the French brought guns. Traditional Iroquois weapons would not stand a chance against their enemies. The French and their allies actively suppressed their involvement with the fur trade.
The Dutch arrived in North America, and they were eager to start their fur trade. They made allies with the Iroquois, and it evened the odds against the French. However, disease swept through the Iroquois nation which diminished their numbers. With the guns purchased from the Dutch, the Iroquois were able to raid once again and take the land. They attacked other villages and trade delegations. The French refused to commit to open war against the Iroquois and were forced to negotiate a peaceful arrangement. Would their previous treatment of the Iroquois come back to haunt them? What was the result of the meeting, tune into this episode to find out?
In the second half of the episode, Great Britain tightens their grip on North America. They plan to drive one tribe off their ancient homeland: Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia was rich in resources and had fertile land. It is 1679 and this armed resistance would last for seventy-five years. This conflict would determine the fate of the people. This land was home to the Mi-Kmaq Nation. They settled in Nova Scotia. The Mi-Kmaq made friends with the French which would endure for years. Eventually, the French called Mi-Kmaq land Arcadia. There were intermarriages between the French and Mi-Kmaq. This relationship endured even when the Scots tried to form a colony. Then the New Englanders tried to invade. Eventually, the Mi-Kmaq allied with another confederation to prevent British Expansion.
Unfortunately, in 1702, the British came again. The French and Mi-Kmaq fought off attacks, however, the British eventually took Port Royal and the French had to cede sovereignty to the British. What would the Mi-Kmaq do? Would they make peace with the British? Or would they fight back? Tune into this episode to find out more.
The narrator could have provided information on the Great Law of Peace and HOW it governed conflicts. Otherwise, the episode on the Iroquois was excellent. The episode on the Mi-Kmaq was also excellent and should be shown to a history class. Overall, this was one of the better episodes of Nations at War.
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