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Glossaries have been created to provide the definition for words
specific to each theme area. It is suggested that students review
the glossaries before they examine a specific theme area. For example,
the Ranching Glossary contains many terms such as "greenhorn,"
"heifer," or "wrangler," that only a rancher
or cowboy might know.
49th parallel: The main border between Western
Canada and the United States. Located on the 49th degree
Agriculture: The science of cultivating soil, producing
crops, and raising livestock.
Apprentice: A person who has agreed to work for another
person for a specific amount of time in order to learn a trade,
art, or business.
Bastion: A protrusion from the corner of a fort or wall
that allows people inside the fort to fire along the outside perimeter
of the walls. These enabled soldiers to defend the ground close
to the walls.
Bootleg: To make, sell, or transport (alcoholic liquor)
Carcass: The dead body of an animal.
Congregation: The members of a specific religious group
who regularly worship at a church or synagogue.
Convent boarding school: A school where students are provided
with meals and accommodation run by a group of nuns who have made
vows to a religious life.
Country Wife: A relationship between a non-native fur trader
and a First Nations or mixed-blood woman.
Drainage basin: The whole area drained by a river system.
Expansionist: The practice or policy by a nation of territorial
or economic expansion.
Frontier: The region beyond or at the edge of a settled
Furlough: A leave of absence or vacation granted to a member
of a military force.
Geographer: The study of the physical characteristics of
the earth and its features and of the results of human activity
on the planet.
Gun-holes: A small space in a fort wall that allows soldiers
to fire their weapons outward from their fort, yet still be protected
from enemy gunfire by the wall.
Habit: The distinctive item of clothing worn by members
of a religious order.
Hudson's Bay Company (HBC): The oldest (formed in 1670)
company in Canadian history; it was important in the fur trade and
the exploration of Canada.
Jesuit: The common name for a religious order of priests
and brothers in the Catholic Church called the Society of Jesus.
Maverick: There are two main definitions.
1. Originally, it referred to cattle that have not been branded
yet, usually meaning a calf that has become separated from its
mother. They were usually considered the property of the first
person to brand them.
2. Today, it refers to a person who is independent in thought
and deed, or who refuses to "go along with the group."
Member of Parliament (MP): An elected member of the Canadian
Federal Government who sits in the House of Commons.
Metis: A person of mixed First Nations and French-Canadian
Militia: An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than
professional soldiers that is usually only called into service in
times of emergency.
Missionary: A person who is sent to do religious or charitable
work, usually in a foreign country, and attempts to persuade or
convert others to their own beliefs.
North-West Rebellion (1885): A provisional government was
proclaimed in the west by Louis Riel in March, 1885, especially
because of broken promises by the Federal Government to the First
Nations and Metis groups. It was eventually overthrown with the
capture of its capital Batoche on 12 May 1885. Riel was taken prisoner
and later hanged for treason.
Nun: A woman who belongs to a religious order and is devoted
to active service to the church, and lives under vows of poverty,
chastity, and obedience.
Rectory: The official residence provided by a church for
the managing priest of an area.
Semi-cloistered: To be partially shut away from the world.
Sextant: A navigational instrument used for measuring the
altitudes of celestial bodies from the horizon to determine latitude
Smallpox: A highly infectious, often fatal disease characterized
by high fever and aches with subsequent widespread eruption of pimples
that blister and form pockmarks.
Surveyor: A person who determines the boundaries and elevations
of land and land features such as lakes, rivers, and mountains.
Viscountess: The wife of a nobleman who ranks below an earl
or count but above a baron.
Voyageur: A person employed by a fur trade company to transport
furs, goods, and supplies between wilderness areas and outposts.