Pioneer Life in Upper Canada

Aboriginal Peoples Helping the Pioneers

    Preserving Meat

     Aboriginal people taught the settlers new methods of preserving meat.  They cut strips of deer (called venison) or other animal meat and dried it by smoking it over a fire or drying it in the hot sun.  Once the meat was dried, it could be stored for a long time and still be safe for eating.  This was very helpful to the settlers who enjoyed this "beef jerky" and found it useful when they were travelling or when little or no fresh meat was available.
     The Aboriginal people often used the dried meat to make "pemmican" which was a ball of fat into which they rolled the dry meat and sometimes added berries and nuts.  This pemmican lasted for a long time and was nutritious.  It was easy to store and became a handy food for the settlers too.
     Many settlers arrived in Upper Canada ill because they were not eating properly during the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.  All of the new foods that they received from the Aboriginal people helped them return to good health.

Source: Long Ago Before I Was Born:
A Look At Life in Early Settler Times - A Unit for Grade 3

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