Our Culture Lives in the Land

A woman holds a sign declaring herself a proud holder of sovereign aboriginal title
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.

Audio Video
 On land, culture, and land claims
[ca. 1975]
readaudio icon
Speaker on the strength of the Elders (1992)
video icon
Chief Simon Baker on land claims settlement and the importance of land
read iconaudio icon

« Prev Page | Next Page »




Home | Narratives | Maps/Photos | Testimonies | Teachers
Resources | About Us | Researchers

UBCIC Vancouver Office:
500 - 342 Water Street,
Vancouver, BC, V6B-1B6, CANADA
Ph: 604.684.0231, Fx: 604.684.5726
UBCIC Kamloops Office:
345 Yellowhead Highway,
Kamloops, BC, V2H-1H1, CANADA
Ph: 250.828.9746, Fx: 250.828.0319