Ancient bison fossils offer hints about 1st humans in southern Canada – June 6, 2016 CBC report

Oblique view of Marie Curtis Park including mouth of Etobicoke Creek, May 2010. Photo © Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)

A June 6, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Ancient bison fossils offer hints about 1st humans in southern Canada.”

The subhead reads: “Ice-free corridor through Alberta became habitable, opened to travel 13,000 to 13,400 years ago.”

As well, a June 9, 2016 talk at Lambton House (doors open at 7:00 pm) is entitled: “Exploring the 12,000 Years of Indigenous History in Toronto.” A PDF file about the talk can be accessed here:

2016 June Heritage Talk First Story-4[1]

I’m pleased to know that a good number of people, somewhat more than I had expected, I would say  – I check Google Analytics a few times a year to get a sense of which posts at my website people are reading – have read a longread post that I wrote a while back:

History of Long Branch (Toronto) – DRAFT 4

Frames and framing

Our society provides us with ready-made frames that play a role in determining or driving our perceptions of reality. We do not generally give much conscious thought to the existence of such frames; we just make more or less unconscious and automatic use of them, I would say.

One frame prompts is to “start” with local history – I’m think of this topic with regard to the history of Long Branch (Toronto), the community where I have lived for the past twenty years – by speaking and thinking of the first European settler who arrived in the area. In the case of Long Branch in South Etobicoke, that first person was an individual named Sam Smith.

We need not go that route as the sole route to travel upon; we need not go with that frame; there are other frames available.

Indigenous peoples

History began much earlier. You can call it prehistory, if you like, if you wish to choose that frame, but it is history nonetheless, whatever you wish to call it.

History began much earlier than the arrival of settler society in the country that previously was the realm of Indigenous peoples. History began with the creation of the universe. History extends to before the time of the creation of the universe, as explained by our current conceptions of science, and the creation of multiple universes including ones which we apprehend solely through our imagination.

The past is always a matter of what we imagine based on whatever frame of reference and evidence may be available to us.

The present moment is also to an extent the product of what we imagine it to be, as many people have noted; what I’m saying is nothing that is original.

The history of Long Branch began among other things with the creation of the Earth and the subsequent creation of the Earth’s moon. It began among other things with the movement of tectonic plates and the creation of the Great Lakes.

In Long Branch there were two Cottage Country Paradises in recent history, at the mouth of Etobicoke Creek and at a location in what was then wilderness beginning in the late 1800s to the east of Etobicoke Creek. There was also, however, a prior Wilderness Paradise that lasted over 10,000 years.

Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (New Credit First Nation)

The History of Long Branch (Toronto) – DRAFT 4 pictures the scenic paradise that was in place at the mouth of Etobicoke Creek during an era prior to the Cottage Country Paradise from the 1920s into the early 1950s.

One can also, in future drafts, refer to the still-existing underwater valley that what is now Etobicoke Creek formed upon the lake bottom in previous stages of local history. References to the history of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation also warrant amplification. A June 21, 2013 Globe and Mail article, entitled “New Credit First Nation gets a ‘thank you’ 200 years later,” comes to mind.

The article notes:

History, at least when defined by other people, glossed over the Mississaugas in the two centuries since they fought at the battle of York [during the War of 1812], defending a territory that used to be theirs on behalf of an ally who betrayed their trust. They were paid a pittance for their appropriated land, which includes Toronto and Mississauga, the sprawling conurbation named after its displaced native people.

I look forward to learning about, and sharing with readers, the story of what is known as the Toronto Purchase, and the fishing rights that were granted to the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation at the mouth of Etobicoke Creek. In time commercial fishing operations wiped out the fishing rights. I look forward to learning more about the lands now known as Mineola West by the Credit River which in years prior to the arrival of the European setter society belonged to the New Credit First Nation.

With time, and with a suitable frame of reference to work with, one can make a small effort to enlarge the picture that is available to us regarding “our” local history.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

A June 8, 2016 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “The door to reconciliation is truly open.”

Comment: Good article, except for the use of lowercase for Indigenous and Aboriginal. Other news organizations have made the switch.

Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Volume One : Summary: Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future (2015)

Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (2013)

Toronto and Montreal wiped out all the farmsteads

“A country cannot be built on a living lie”

A May 10, 2016 Globe and Mail article is entitled: “The roadblock to reconciliation: Canada’s origin story is false.”

The opening paragraphs read:

In 2017 Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Canada’s origin story will be celebrated – the story of the British North America (BNA) Act, the Fathers of Confederation, and the British/French duality that together formed the bedrock of the free, equal, diverse democracy we believe ourselves to be.

But here’s the problem: our origin story is false. In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples observed, ‘A country cannot be built on a living lie.’ After 150 years in denial, coming to terms with our true origin story is long overdue.

[End of excerpt]


I attended the above-noted June 9, 2016 talk at Lambton  House and found it of much interest. I owe thanks to David Juliusson of Long Branch for informing me of this meeting. I am very pleased I had the opportunity to attend this talk.

Among the key things that I learned is the concept that the Toronto Purchase can be more accurately described as the so-called “Toronto Purchase.”

1 reply
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    A Nov. 30, 2023 BBC article is entitled: “Miami’s little-known Indigenous history.”

    An excerpt (I’ve omitted embedded links) reads:

    The Miccosukee (who were originally part of the Creek Nation), migrated from Alabama and Georgia to modern-day Florida before it became part of the United States. Following the Indian Removal Act in 1830, Native Americans residing in the south-east US were forcibly removed to the west, but it’s estimated that roughly 100 hid out in the Everglades. Today’s present-day Miccosukee, Seminole and members of other Florida tribes are the direct descendants of those who never surrendered and stayed in the Everglades.

    Thirty-four miles west of downtown Miami, Osceola immerses visitors in the region’s Indigenous past by leading them through the Everglades at the Miccosukee Indian Reservation with her company Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours. For the past 12 years, Osceola and a team of Indigenous-led guides has been whisking people through the wetlands’ vast cypress domes, “tree islands”, mangroves and hardwood trees while educating them about the Miccosukee. According to Revered Houston Cypress, a Miccosukee artist and activist, in the tribe’s language, the word Everglades is Kahayatle (“shimmering waters”).

    Osceola’s airboat tours were started in the late 1980s by William “Buffalo” Tiger, the last traditional Miccosukee chief, whose dream was to educate people about the tribe’s surroundings in the Everglades. As part of the tour, visitors get to visit Tear Island, where Tiger’s family once lived. Guides explain how Miccosukee families lived in stilted, thatched “chickee” huts on the island.


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