Native Population and Subsistence, 17th Century
At the time of European contact Canada had been inhabited for more than 4 000 years.
The Native population stood at about 300 000, with the largest concentrations in the lower
Great Lakes area and on the West Coast.
The population was culturally very diverse, and the variety of languages spoken was far greater than in Europe. How is all this information reconstructed? Some of what we know is ethnohistoric in nature, from accounts of explorers,
missionaries and early settlers. The other available data is archaeological. Both sources are represented on the maps
in this chapter.