Aboriginal peoples had lived throughout North America for thousands of years. They had practiced a world view in which everyone shared the land and its resources. They viewed natures resources as gifts, and they used these gifts wisely to ensure these resources would still be there for their children and their childrens children to use.Then, around 1600, Europeans began arriving in North America, bringing with them a world view that was very different from that of the Aboriginal peoples. To the newcomers, land was not something people shared. It was something people owned. The Europeans were interested in what they could gain from the land, the resources of that land, and the riches of the surrounding oceans.In First Contact, we learn how over time, first fish, then furs, would bring the Europeans here to stay, and how those early encounters set the stage for a collision course between two very different sets of values - a clash that would change the lives of Aboriginal peoples forever.Richly illustrated with maps, historical graphics, documents, paintings and portraits, the book examines the Aboriginal lifestyle before these first encounters with special attention given to the traditions, customs, values, governments and spiritual beliefs.The book explores the quest for riches that brought the early explorers - Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain - to Canada, the settlers who followed in search of a new life in the new land, and the arrival of missionaries intent on spreading Christianity around the world.First Contact also explores the conflicts between the European nations as the quest for furs produced bitter rivalries and alliances. The book concludes with an examination of Aboriginal peoples in Canada today, the on-going disputes over land claims, and debates over self-government.