Our Culture Lives
in the Land
The land that the early settlers and colonial
powers saw as a new frontier and that current urbanites see as
undeveloped is, in fact, a land where people are from; it is a land
that is a traditional territory,
developed in a variety of ways for the use of a Nation's community. It
always was and continues to be the homeland of Indigenous peoples in
Canada. Things that are identified as "culture" such as songs, dance,
artwork, history, food, craftwork, and ceremonies for Indigenous
peoples are most often linked to the land. Stories that mark Indigenous
past are written in the land. These stories teach how humans, the land
and the animals are all interconnected and all deserve respect.
Indigenous songs, dance, and artwork all reflect these teachings. The
land and animals are important not because of their aesthetics, but
because they are an expression of cultural identity rooted and
interlocked with the land.
As much as stories
and arts reflect the connection
to the land, the land is integral to traditional Indigenous
spirituality. In Indigenous spiritual understanding, all the spirits of
the world are connected; in this way, people do not stand above the
land, but at one with it. Unlike many world religions, sacred places
exist on the land rather than in man-made structures. Losing land can
mean the desecration of a sacred place. When Indigenous people care for
the land, the land in return gives them what they need for survival.
Indigenous peoples' tie to the land has, over countless generations,
meant they have gained a great deal of knowledge with respect to the
land. Scientists call this "ecological knowledge" but Indigenous
peoples call it wisdom.
Page | Next Page