The Aboriginal peoples of Canada were originally named Indians when the first Europeans arrived in the country and found native people in every region; this was because they believed they had found the East Indies. These native people survived either by farming or as hunter gatherers. Amongst the farmers and hunters were the Iroquois and the Huron-Wendat around the Great Lakes. In the north-west, the hunter gatherers of the Cree and Dene tribes lived. The Sioux were nomads, travelling in search of buffalo (more properly known as bison). Inuit peoples chiefly lived off the fruits of the sea in the Arctic. Groups living on the West Coast were expert at drying and smoking fish. There was often conflict between Aboriginal groupings over land, resources and hierarchies.
When Europeans began to arrive in Canada, the way of life of the Aboriginal peoples was irrevocably changed. Many died from European diseases as they had never built up an immunity to them. Nevertheless, Aboriginal and European peoples managed to cooperate in many ways and helped establish modern Canada together.