Beothuk: Indigenous inhabitants of Newfoundland at the time of the arrival of the Europeans who initially engaged in trade with Basque fishermen, but later fought with settlers. The last known Beothuk, Shanawdithwit, died in 1829.

colonialism: refers to the policy of a country that seeks to extend or retain its full or partial political control over other peoples or territories, generally with the aim of economic dominance through control of labour, resource extraction, and/or trade.

Columbian Exchange: refers to transfers, whether of goods, disease, or technology and whether intentional or unintentional, between Europe and the Americas. The effects of these exchanges on the civilizations involved were profound.

coureurs de bois: Frenchmen who sought to engage in the fur trade outside of the licensing system of French colonial authorities who assimilated to First Nations culture and acted beyond the control of the royal estate, at times counter to the interests of French authorities. In short, smugglers.

Doctrine of Discovery: provided a justification for colonial expansion based on the supposition that lands unoccupied by Christians, sometimes called terrae nullius, lacked legitimate governance and therefore could be claimed by Christian explorers in the name of their Christian sovereigns. European nations applied it internationally from the mid-fifteenth century to the early twentieth century.

Dorset: Name given by scientists to a culture that thrived for more than 3,000 years in what is now northern Canada and Alaska but disappeared around 1000 CE, replaced by the Thule. It is believed that they may have been the “Skraelings” identified in Norse sagas. Their name derives from Cape Dorset, on Baffin Island.

first contacts: First communication between peoples, at least one of which has no prior knowledge of each other.

Indian removal: Based on the idea that Indigenous People did not have economic or religious ties to the land, but instead wandered it aimlessly, it was believed that it would not impact them much for colonial governments to force or persuade them to move to new locations. Both Canada and the United States engaged in Indian removal for their own political and economic gain.

Little Ice Age: Period between 1300 and 1850 when global temperatures fell, causing the northern sea ice to stay all year. This affected wildlife, which caused hardship for hunters. In Europe, it resulted in increased demand for furs, which spurred New World exploration.

papal bull: A law or decree issued by the Pope as leader of the Catholic Church. Prior to the Protestant Reformation these often had the effect of international law. Two of these known as Inter Caetera and Intra Arcana established the “donation” of new found lands in the Americas to Spain, contributing to the Doctrine of Discovery.

pays d’en haut: (“Upper Country”) The region of the three Upper Great Lakes.

settler colonialism: a distinct type of colonialism that functions through the replacement of Indigenous nations and Peoples and their resource rights with an invasive settler society that develops a distinctive identity and sovereignty independent from their parent nation and from ­Indigenous Peoples, who have increasingly ceased to be present through policies of genocide, assimilation, or displacement.

stereotype: a widely accepted but often unfair and untrue idea about or set of characteristics assumed to be common to a group of people.

Thule: Name given by archaeologists to the northern people who merged with other older cultures in the region to gradually become the Inuit and whose culture spread from Alaska about 1000 CE and spread across what is now northern Canada to Labrador, Newfoundland, reaching Greenland during the thirteenth century, largely replacing the Dorset culture. The Inuit are the direct descendants of the Thule.

vacuum domicilium: English theory used to justify the acquisition of Indigenous lands first expressed by Thomas More in 1516. More stated that occupied lands were actually vacant if they lacked fixed habitations and fenced fields. In that case, the occupants would have natural rights, but not civil rights, which superseded the former.

wilderness: The notion that nature has a pristine state untouched by human activity. The first National Parks in the world in the United States were created by removing Indigenous communities from them. This provides the illusion that settlers displace no one by claiming “wild” lands. However, the Aboriginal people of Australia view wild country as sick lands that have been made ill through lack of care. When Europeans first arrived, there were very few spaces in North America that Indigenous people had not been tending for thousands of years.