The Indigenous way of knowing is based on relationships. Everything is tied together as one in the circle of life. Knowledge comes from creation, is sacred, and connects all of nature including humans. All things on earth (including a rock) have a spirit and knowledge, so are all included in the circle. Indigenous people recognize that for every action there will be a reaction so they have respect for everything around them and consider themselves part of nature. They work with nature. Knowledge for the Indigenous people is embedded in their culture, in their experiences and teachings, and language. Knowledge is passed along generations through stories, ceremonies, and medicines.
I was lucky enough to experience the sharing of some of this knowledge this past summer. As a group we were instructed to make a traditional aboriginal backrest. These backrests were used by many of the First Nations on the prairies as they were easy to make and easy to pack up and move on to the next location. This picture is of the backrest my group made. We first set out to find some red willow and before harvesting any, it was important to give thanks to mother earth. In showing respect you ensure that the willow will be there in the future for you as well. The willow bark needed to be stripped and then cut to a similar length. The willow sticks were then weaved or bound together using sinew.
This land based teaching for our class help us in learning more about traditional ways of the Aboriginal people and the value they place on all relationships. It also helped in understanding our connections to the land. A great and fun project!!

David Wade, Mark and Joanne said thanks.

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Shelley Werstroh

I live in The Pas, MB. I work as an Education Assistant and I am currently going to school full time to become a teacher. I am married and have 3 wonderful boys.

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