||Stories of Creation
This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 1 When the World Began...
The first people to live in what is now Canada were the First Nations. They can be divided into two groups: sedentary cultures that practiced agriculture, and nomadic hunter-gatherers.
The social organization of the First Nations varies from a region to region. Notions of harmony and reciprocity with nature are at the center of Native spirituality and way of life. For example, the Nootka of Vancouver Island worshipped the whale, which they relied upon for sustenance. The Plains Indians worshipped the bison, while the agricultural Huron of the St. Lawrence Valley worshipped corn.
In the absence of a system of writing, the Native Peoples had a well-developed oral history, and people would use stories, traditions, and legends to pass down to succeeding generations important moral, spiritual and political principles. Dreams hold a major place in Native spirituality. Natives feasted, smoked or fasted to foster visions. The shaman, a key figure in tribal life, supposedly had the power to communicate with spirits and interpret certain signs in nature.
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