Sociology Index


Aboriginal culture and traditions of Canada has commonalities, and these commonalities are most often manifest in varying contexts. Aboriginal people of Canada view the natural world as perfect. It is not that there is only one Aboriginal culture that is generally applicable to all of Canada's Aboriginal people or that Aboriginal culture can be understood as a form of Pan-Indianism making all Aboriginal people in Canada behave in the same fashion. In their respective reports of their first encounters with the Aboriginal people of America by both Christopher Columbus and Father Le Jeune, they speak about the similar values displayed in the cultural behaviours of the Aboriginal people they came into contact with. Values very different from those of the European reporters.

Aboriginal cultural traditions of the various Aboriginal peoples in Canada are very different one from the other. In order to understand and appreciate the various cultural traditions practised by the Aboriginal peoples in Canada today a brief look must be taken at the path these cultures have had to follow since coming into contact with the many influences presented to them by Europeans as European migration progressed across the lands of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

In their reports Christopher Columbus and Father Le Jeune describe Aboriginal people who are caring, loving, and sharing amongst themselves and with others. Over two hundred years later, and about three thousand miles west of where Father Le Jeune had his first experiences, these same values are displayed again on the far distant prairies of what is now Canada.

In his Letter to the Sovereigns (in 1492), which was promptly printed at Barcelona and widely distributed throughout Europe in a Latin translation, Christopher Columbus stresses the gentleness and generosity of the Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal people are so ingenuous and free with all they have, that no one would believe it who has not seen it; of anything that they possess, if it be asked of them, they never say no; on the contrary, they invite you to share it and show as much love as if their hearts went with it, and they are content with whatever trifle be given them, whether it be a thing of value or of petty worth.

I forbade that they be given things so worthless of broken crockery and of green glass and lace-points, although when they could get them, they thought they had the best jewel in the world.

Father Le Jeune writes: The hospitality of Aboriginal people towards all sorts of strangers is remarkable; Aboriginal people present to them, in their feasts, the best of what they have prepared, and, as I have already said, I do not know if anything similar, in this regard, is to be found anywhere.