While there were isolated hostile incidents and clashes between the Europeans and the indigenous people they encountered, in general, the first relationship that grew up between the two groups was one of mutual assistance, trade and a wary respect for people who were different in so many ways. Even the Europeans, with their fixed belief that theirs was a superior civilization, understood that, in this new land, the indigenous people's way of doing things worked far better than many of their own practices.

European explorers depended on native guides, learned about local food supplies, and adopted the canoe as a means of fresh water transportation. Early European arrivals, eager to show those "back home" what the new land offered, traded with the natives for furs, and trading posts sprang up.

While many new arrivals displayed a good deal of paternalism and arrogance when dealing with local tribes, some leaders of European settlements recognized wise indigenous leadership when they saw it, and forged solid bonds with those leaders. Later, the Acadians in what is now Nova Scotia established a fairly harmonious working relationship with the local Mi'qmaq .

It is generally recognized that, even with the influx of Loyalists from the rebellious colonies to the south, this more equitable and mutually-respectful relationship lasted through the War of Independence -- when ..... , right up to the War of 1812, during which Joseph Brant's Ottawas proved to be important allies. But when the indigenous tribes were no longer needed as allies, and as trading for furs became less important, the European colonizers began treating the natives more and more like children, mendicants, or, worse, serious detriments to the expansion and development that they increasingly desired.