Native Studies Essay Assignment

Before the   implementation of treaties with the Canadian government in the late nineteenth century, traditional aboriginal law was the primary means of maintaining social order among the First Nations peoples.   Passing these laws from generation to generation involved the telling of such oral traditions as prayers and narratives.   These stories were focused around a cultural hero often known as “Elder Brother”.   The Elder Brother stories formed a guideline from which aboriginal people lived their daily lives.   In turn telling of these stories helped to reinforce the cultural identity of First Nations people.   Legal scholars have linked these traditional narratives to the legal systems of aboriginal people. 1
Unlike traditional European culture, North American First Nation culture centers around the importance of kinship relationships, between two or more people, or between people and animals.   Where European history and traditions are fact based and have been recorded in writing, First Nations culture is relayed via stories passed down through the generations verbally, thereby allowing for a wider range of interpretation.
Animals played an important role in the spiritual side of aboriginals.   The Dene believed that all members of creations, both animal and human, consisted of pure energy and the energy of particle animals could be invoked upon prayer towards a specific animal's spirit.   2   A person could also be chosen with a particular animal spirit which when summoned could aid the person in his or her band's survival.
Living with nature was an important protocol in aboriginal culture.   The act of the hunt had its own set of rituals and prayers to show honour for the hunter's prey.   A common hunting practice was to find use for as much of his prey as possible.   The Dene story involving Yamoria discussed the conference between man and animals.   In this story man and animals held council on their relationships to each other.   It was agreed that man could use...