Monday, September 19, 2016

The First Peoples: Social Structure

 Today in Mrs. Thompson's class, we talk mostly about the lives and social structures of the First Peoples. We learned about the different aspects of how the First peoples lived.

Social Structure
-Extended Families
-Community Size
-Gender Roles
-Education (unfinished)

Extended Families

An extended family was made up of many relatives, like the children, grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins.
"Families were important, and extended families shared living quarters."


A clan is a number of people that made up a society or lived within a bigger society. Common ancestry (human or animal) and geography were what determined clans. A clan can either follow the maternal(mother) side or paternal(father) side.
"Clan membership was always inherited through the mother's side of the family. A person always married outside of their own clan."
More information at:

First Peoples Historical Overview. Available online at:

Community Size
Depending on how much available resources there were determined the size of the community. Lots of food, safety, and shelter meant a big community. The community size also depended on the changing seasons.
"New villages were settled every 10 to 30 years. Every ten or twenty years – whenever the soil got poor, the place got too dirty, or the fish and game became scarce - everyone would move their village to a new place where the soil was richer in nutrients and the fish and game still plentiful."
Settlements and Housing . Available at:   

Gender Roles
Even though the roles of the women and men were pretty set, the roles were very flexible. In the end it didn't matter what gender you were as long as were contributing to the duties in the community.
"The females were symbols of fertility, and raised the children, and tended to the fields. The males were the hunters and the protectors of the family and the villages."

An Elder was someone who was very well respected, had great wisdom and knowledge. An Elder could be a person old or young, man or women, but the must have much experience in many different things. These people were who all the other people would come to for help regularly. They were not taught how to lead, so they were naturally like this.
"The Elders held the wisdom and were greatly respected. The eldest female was the master of the longhouse. The elder grandfathers were the storytellers."

For education everyone in the community were the teachers, and the children learned by action. Their education system is based on guiding children to learn what they wanted. Everyone had different skills and so they learned by watching and practicing with other members who did that skill (hunters went hunting with long time hunters.) Although everyone in the community was meant to know the groups history, spiritualty, and basic skills.
"Children’s games, like those of the Sarcee, taught life skills."
                                            (Continuing more on Education next class) 


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  2. Wow! That’s a lot of well written information. It is weird to think that if a place got to dirty the village would just get up and move with no hesitation but it makes sense because you want to be able to have good nutrients in the soil in order to grow your foods. The elders can be young or old…What? When I think of an elder I tend to have my mind set on them being senior citizens which I guess I have to stop thinking. Did you know each chief was hereditary? Each was picked through the bloodline of the mother; Or about the warrior chief? He gained his title based off of his success in battles,his wealth and his courage. You can learn/read more about it at: ( I really enjoyed reading your post and listening to what each social structure was like. You seem to have an overall good understanding so good job to you!


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