content top

American Aboriginal Culture

American Aboriginal Culture

The debate surrounding aboriginal American culture has raged across conversations for decades. At the center of the intercontinental American discussion has been the myth that Italian explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. Columbus actually first landed in the Bahamas and later took control of the indigenous populations on the islands of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The ancestors of Native American tribes were thriving cultures long before Columbus sailed. As nomads these people lived in Alaska more than 12,000 years ago. Across the continent of North America, there were more than 50 million aboriginals, with 10 million of that number living in the United States.

Read More

Common Mistakes When Teaching Aboriginal Studies

Common Mistakes When Teaching Aboriginal Studies

The most important thing when teaching – anything – is ethics, teaching from an ethical position in regards to both the subject matter and the students. When instructors plan and execute their lessons from that worldview, the likelihood of problems within the classroom diminishes. However, the inherent challenges involved in teaching Aboriginal Studies can lead to serious pitfalls.

It all begins with what Mary Louise Pratt refers to as contact zones, or spaces where cultures meet and clash. The context for these contact zones often involves power relations between Western cultures and “the other” and are fraught with colonization, slavery, and the aftermaths of those power relations. Within the United States, there are several contact zones, as the history of the United States consists of colonization of Native American Aboriginal lands and the importation of African slaves. Even after so many years, the tension lives on, and every time a students and their instructor encounter a text, cultural representation, or their history, they are entering the contact zone.

Read More

Respect for Aboriginal Culture and Elders

Respect for Aboriginal Culture and Elders

As in so many parts of the world, the history of the interaction between aboriginal peoples and European colonists on the North American continent has been a bloody and complicated one. The violence, injustice, racial prejudice, and deception that ultimately characterized much of this cultural interaction continue to reverberate uncomfortably in the United States and Canada today, all bound up with stark facts of massive disease mortality and large-scale forced relocations—often to completely unfamiliar territory.

Much has been lost of indigenous North American culture: Too many tribes and languages are extinct, and others are so depleted as to be functionally so. Economic and racial inequalities continue to adversely affect aboriginals; many sacred landscapes have been paved over, privatized, or otherwise degraded.

Read More

Hunting and Aboriginal Culture

Hunting and Aboriginal Culture

Indigenous cultures around the world have relied on responsible hunting practices to feed, clothe and protect themselves for centuries. Far from the trophy hunting and commercial hunting practiced by immigrant populations, particularly throughout North America and Australia, the hunting culture of aboriginal peoples was based on a more intimate assessment of the relationship between the hunter and the hunted.

 

The destructive potential nature of hunting was also tempered in aboriginal societies by the belief that some animals were deities, and the conviction that the animal supply was limited and prudence was necessary. Proponents of this ideology would have been thrilled to see the release of the Nikon Prostaff 2, one of the most accurate rifle scopes on the market. The Prostaff 2 is one of the best rifle scopes for your money.

Subsistence Hunting

Aboriginal hunting is typically referred to as subsistence hunting by those in the wider culture. This means that the society is dependent upon hunting for the provision of food, shelter, fuel, and clothing, and as well for the preservation of its cultural integrity. Many North American native tribes in the Midwest, particularly the Sioux, are recognized in modern times for their complicated relationship with the bison tribes that roamed the American interior three hundred years ago. Sioux hunters hunted buffalo sparingly, and when a hunt was successful, they used every piece of the animal. Hides were turned into thick fur coats, skins were stretched to become drums, horns became weapons or ceremonial items, and meat was packaged and stored for consumption.

Hunting for subsistence forced hunters to be reasonable with their kill totals — animal populations had to support future generations as well, so over-hunting was a major concern. Commercial hunting changed this viewpoint entirely, and led to the eradication of several species and the overfishing and hunting that is taken for granted today.

Hunting as a Means of Protection

Aboriginal tribes were frequently threatened by predators in all different environments. Tribes in the interior of the country had to worry about wolves, coyotes and foxes, whereas those on the coasts had to concern themselves with snakes, alligators and crocodiles. In order to protect their families, gardens, and domesticated animals, men of the tribe were forced to hunt these predators periodically. Most subsistence hunters used handheld weapons such as boomerangs, bow and arrow, or harpoon, but predator removal teams often resorted to traps, nets and gorges. In accordance with the doctrine of subsistence hunting, these animals were not disposed of but were used — wolf pelts also became jackets, and snakeskin became boots, belts, and cloth.

Hunting as a Means of Cultural Preservation

Many aboriginal peoples view hunting as an escape from modern commercial life. They believe hunting to be the cornerstone of their societies, and this belief is reflected in several colonial-era documents and treaties. For example, in Canada, several first nations societies were granted the right to hunt at will in exchange for ceding lands by treaty. A few of these groups have even attempted to claim the right to dispose of all game within the country’s borders as they see fit. Conflicts over the scope and breadth of the Indian Act continue in Canada today, just as debates about the right of aboriginal peoples to hunt at will continue across the world.

Hunting in modern aboriginal societies is often portrayed as a way to feel some connection to past generations and a different way of life. Although subsistence hunting is falling out of favor among most indigenous groups, hunting as a cultural practice is still as important as it ever was.

Read More

Pipeline Development Blocked by Indigenous Group in B.C.

Pipeline Development Blocked by Indigenous Group in B.C.

In a region filled with grizzly bears, trees lay across a logging road which forms a very specific message, “No Pipelines! No Entry!” This is the result of a dispute between the government of Canada and a First Nations clan remains ongoing about what should happen to the 435-square mile area, each of which claim it as their own. This started in 2009 when the government of Canada started issuing permits for a pipeline corridor which would link the fracking fields of British Columbia and the tar sands of Alberta. Canada’s plan is to become a global energy superpower and is hoping to stake its economic future and legislative agenda on the expansion of its fossil fuel sectors and resource. These pipelines would act as the arteries of a trillion-dollar gas and bitumen industry.

Since June, the chiefs of the Unist’ot’en and supporters have made it almost impossible for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and TransCanada and Chevron work crews to enter the territory. Even though the pipeline companies have worked around the issue and modified their projects to skirt the Unist’ot’en’s main encampment, they still plan to build through that piece of land that was traditionally used by the clan. The Unist’ot’en remain strong and refuse to accept the prospect so they have formed a barrier with heavy chains, plywood and barbed wire gate, a pickup truck, spotlights and an emergency siren. The clan has transformed their territory into a border that is guarded by a volunteer crew of guards.

In order to gain access, you have to answer a series of five questions administered by clan representative which includes; Who are you? Where are you from? Do you work for industry or government that’s destroying our land? What skills do you bring? And How will your visit benefit the Unist’ot’en? The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples inspired this protocol and will continue to monitor their territorial boundaries and will enforce trespassing laws. The only workers who have been granted access to the territory are loggers, tree planters and a guide outfitter since they have instituted this protocol and pipeline contractors have been asked to leave.

Unfortunately for the Unist’ot’en, it is believed that energy companies are gathering information to acquire a court injunction which would allow police to force open the roads so that the pipeline crews can work without interruption. Helicopters that were carrying TransCanada crews were also found entering the territory without permission and were asked to leave, which they complied. The second crew which was escorted by an ex-military pilot and security staff was forced to leave after volunteers grounded their helicopter by staging a sit-in beneath its rotor blades.

The Unist’ot’en clan have supplies airdropped in and they have even made their own pizza made with wild salmon cooked in a wood-fired oven and drank river water. Their kids are playing on a teeter-totter made of 2-by-4’s and they sit around campfires telling stories. While they are doing this, Chevron crews and security teams are moving closer to the territory as they conduct studies and survey for a pipeline right of way. Other than a few helicopters in the distance and the occasional emergency siren, the community continues to stand their ground and live quietly and in peace, for now.

Read More

The Importance Of Sleep and Aboriginal Health

The Importance Of Sleep and Aboriginal Health

Many people depend on sleep to perform their job and every day tasks with ease. Sleep is very important and a lot of people do not understand this. Sleep plays a huge role when it comes to your physical health. Feeling the way you do in the morning all depends on what happens while you are sleeping. If you are a teenager or a child, sleep is responsible for supporting growth and development. If you are not getting the proper amount of sleep, it can lead to exhaustion, lack of progress, communication, cooperation and so much more. You are going to have problems making decisions, it will affect how you react to certain things in the environment and your mental health. It is like when a baby does not sleep through the night, they are usually cranky the next day. If your toddler does not take a nap, they are most likely going to be cranky or get over tired. Sleeping well improves learning as well whether it is in school, how to do something, and it helps you pay attention. The scary part of not getting enough sleep is that it can cause depression, suicide and cause some to get involved with risk-taking behavior. Sleep not only affects mental health, but also physical health. Sleep helps to repair blood vessels and your heart. Those who constantly get inadequate sleep tend to have an increased risk of heart disease and many other illnesses.

busy entrepreneurSleeping plays a vital role in our lives. It changes our moods and helps us to function better. Millions of people suffer with a variety of sleep disorders, diagnosed and undiagnosed. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that leads people to stay up all night without thinking about sleeping. For those who just plain have trouble falling asleep due to their surroundings, there are quite a few things that can solve that issue. Turning off technology before bed creates a good routine for sleep, especially if you’re a busy entrepreneur.. always on your phone. When you are staring at a light from your screen, your brain thinks that it is time to be awake when it is not. Turn off your technology and you are more likely to fall asleep easier. The sane goes for sugar, don’t have any before bed. Sugar keeps you awake and if you are consuming it before bed, you are going to have issues falling asleep. Unplug yourself from the world, close your eyes and drift off.

Waking up refreshed after a great night of sleeping, you are going to function so much better. Not enough sleep will lead to all kinds of complications in the near and far future. Being grouchy could get you in trouble at work, being tired all the time will affect your decision making and it could potentially hurt someone if you are too tired to drive correctly. Sleep is extremely important in everyday life. A lot of people do not understand just how important it really is. Your mental and physical health is at risk if you are not getting the proper amount of sleep that is needed to function.

Read More

Healing the Whole Patient: Traditional Aboriginal Health Care

Healing the Whole Patient: Traditional Aboriginal Health Care

Traditional health care as practiced by America’s indigenous peoples has a long history. For thousands of years, herbal remedies and healing rituals have been the basis of medical treatment for native peoples from Alaska to South America. However, in the 20th century, some practices were banned—until the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978. Health systems serving indigenous populations now employ time-honored treatments and ceremonies in restoring their patients to health.

Traditional American aboriginal healing, unlike traditional “white man’s medicine,” does not differentiate between spiritual, mental, and physical health. In fact, the more than 500 nations that make up American indigenous peoples have a common belief: that there is a spiritual cause of almost all illnesses. In order to enjoy good health, an individual must abide by religious precepts, observe community laws, and value all life (human, animal, plant, and even entities such as rocks and rivers). Failure to do so negatively affects the mind-body-spirit balance, with illness as the result.

To restore this equilibrium, patients turn to medicine people. These individuals may receive their healing power from a vision or by being a member of a family of healers. Both men and women may fill this role, and many are shamans (holy people) as well. Their relationship with the people in need of their services goes beyond curing the illness; they instill confidence and hope and often play the role of counselor. Whatever their titles, healers treat the patient, not the disease.

For these reasons, traditional medicine is a combination of ritual and remedy. Sweat lodges are a well-known example of spiritual healing. Not only do sweat baths restore spiritual, mental, and physical harmony, sweating improves endocrine gland function, removes toxins and germs, and stimulates the heart to pump more blood. Ceremonies such as Lakota and Navajo sings, which can last from two to nine days and are led by an adept singer, are reported to cure disorders as varied as diabetes, asthma, and skin rashes.

Herbal remedies play this dual role, as well. Sage, for example, is deemed to have the power to remove bad spirits from body and soul. This attractive flowering plant is used to treat a number of ailments, including digestive disorders, kidney, lung, bone, and skin conditions, allergies, and anxiety. Cedar fruit and leaves, when boiled and drunk, are an affective cough remedy.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas are to thank for many medicines that are used worldwide to treat and cure a variety of diseases. Quinine was initially used by the Incas to remedy heart-rhythm abnormalities, cramps, and more. The drug gained recognition in Europe in the 17th century for its malaria-treating capabilities and eventually began to be employed as an effective fever reducer, pain reliever, and anti-inflammatory. And modern medical care has been revolutionized by a medicine derived from willow bark, better known as aspirin. Even more noteworthy is a traditional method of infection treatment utilizing mold. From this centuries-old remedy was born the life-saving drug known as penicillin.

With a long and successful history of treating the whole patient, traditional medicine plays a central role in restoring individuals and communities to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s a tradition of which native peoples can be proud.

Read More
content top