The Native Peoples and Champlain
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Fur Trade
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Champlain's Itinerary
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Life and Death of Champlain

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The Native Peoples and Champlain: Health

One of the worst diseases to strike the first colonies was scurvy, which occurs through a lack of vitamin C and is characterized by multiple hemorrhages.

Champlain knew that Jacques Cartier used a special herb, aneda, to treat those suffering from scurvy. Aneda actually means "spruce", but Champlain was unaware of this at the time. It was merely a decoction of thorns or even bark and wood. The best way to ingest aneda was to let it ferment with molasses and make it into a drink. This means that spruce beer is actually good for your health!

The Native Peoples recognized the antiscorbutic value of spruce and fir trees. In Sweden, the fir tree was renamed pinus antiscorbutica. Marc Lescarbot even called the spruce the "tree of life".

Canada Fir Tree

Canada Fir Tree

Scurvy is not contagious. Nevertheless, the arrival of the Europeans led to severe epidemics. The Native Peoples were exposed to new illnesses that they were unfamiliar with and did not know how to treat. These epidemics fatally affected the very young and very old.

Winter was the time they had to fight the worst afflictions: scurvy, dysentery and famine.

Message from the ancestors…

"Health and peace, our most valuable possessions, are obtained at a small price." Tribal Law No. 92 of the Eastern Algonquin

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