ABORIGINAL
SPIRITUALITY
A Canadian Balance Tradition
Balance Traditions Overview
●The religions and faiths that fall into this
category are categorized by a desire to stay in
...
● Consider the lyrics from the song
"Colours of the Wind" from Disney's
Pocahontas (next slide). How do these
lyrics refle...
Colors of the WindYou think I'm ignorant savage
You been so many place, I guess it must be so
But still I can not see if t...
● Now, consider the lyrics from the song
"Mine, Mine, Mine" from Disney's
Pocahontas (next slide). How do these
lyrics ref...
Mine, Mine, Mine
Ratcliffe: The gold of Cortes, The jewels of Pizarro
Will seem like mere trinkets, By this time tomorrow
...
“We know that we all are related
and are one with all earth… May we
be continually aware of this
relationship which exists...
Origins and History
●Many indigenous peoples, believe that
they “came out of this ground”
●Other Aboriginal groups around ...
Origins and History
●Scholars say that they
begin to appear in
Canada approximately
15,000 years ago.
●Most scholars agree...
Origins and History
●In the 16th
century French explorer Jacques Cartier
arrived in north America and made contact with th...
Origins and History
●Righting Past Wrongs:
●1951 – Ban on Aboriginal ceremonies is lifted.
●1982 – The Canadian charter of...
Origins and History
●At the time of European contact each of the
Aboriginal nations had its own language,
spiritual belief...
15000 – 13000
BCE
Migration from Asia
to North America.
604 – 479 BCE
Lao Tzu (604 – 532)
Confucius (551 – 479)
Early sign...
BALANCE
TRADITIONS:
CREED/BELIEFS
Aboriginal Beliefs
●Cosmocentric - (unit one)
●Cyclical - (i.e. Hindu understanding of
time/universe)
●4 Widely Held Belie...
Cherokee Creation Myth
Long ago, before there were any people, the world was young and water covered everything.
The earth...
For other creation myths see Appendix
Totems:
A totem is a being, object, or symbol representing an animal or plant that serves as an emblem of a
group of peopl...
BALANCE
TRADITIONS – CODE
Sacred Writings and Ethics
Aboriginal Code
●Aboriginal traditions are mostly oral in nature
(i.e. do not have a written language)
●This means that th...
Handsome Lake
● Handsome Lake, a great leader and prophet, played a
major role in reviving traditional religion among the
...
Core Ethics (Code)
●Do not Interfere
● Modeling behaviour and leading by example
are valued. Ordering, giving advice or
in...
BALANCE
TRADITIONS – CULT
Practices, Rituals and Symbols
Prayer (Cult)
●Prayer is used to recognize God’s greatness and to
express thanks for all of the Creator’s gifts.
●Individu...
Aboriginal Milestones (Cult)
●Birth and Naming Rituals
● To learn the right name for a child, the
name giver (grandparent ...
Aboriginal Milestones (Cult)
●Death
● Rituals vary among Aboriginal
peoples.
● Generally believed that those
who have died...
Aboriginal Milestones
●The Vision Quest
● Read the account of a vision quest of
Oliver Pahdopony (appendix iii)
● What is ...
Aboriginal Rituals Chart
Copy the following chart into your notes
and, using the internet and your own
research, fill it o...
ABORIGINAL RITUALS CHART
Ceremony Tribe or Area
and When
What is
involved?
Ceremonial or
ritual aspects
The Powwow
The Sun...
The Sun Dance
The Potlatch Ceremony
The Sweat Lodge
The Shaking Tent
Aboriginal Symbols -
Assignment
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Aboriginal pp

  1. 1. ABORIGINAL SPIRITUALITY A Canadian Balance Tradition
  2. 2. Balance Traditions Overview ●The religions and faiths that fall into this category are categorized by a desire to stay in balance with their surroundings. ●Specifically they work to maintain balance within themselves, their communities and the natural world ●Eastern balance traditions include: Confucianism, Shinto and Taoism. For this course we will look at Native/Aboriginal Canadian balance traditions
  3. 3. ● Consider the lyrics from the song "Colours of the Wind" from Disney's Pocahontas (next slide). How do these lyrics reflect the definition of a Balance tradition?
  4. 4. Colors of the WindYou think I'm ignorant savage You been so many place, I guess it must be so But still I can not see if the savage one is me How can there be so much that you don't know, You don't know You think you own whatever land you land on The earth is just a dead thing you can claim But I know every rock and tree and creature Has a life, has a spirit, has a name You think the only people who are people Are the people who look and think like you But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger You'll learn things you never knew you never knew Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned? Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain? Can you paint with all the colors of the wind? Can you paint with all the colors of the wind? Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest Come taste the sun-sweet berries of the earth Come roll in all the riches all around you And for once, never wonder what they're worth The rainstorm and the river are my brothers The heron and the otter are my friends And we are all connected to each other, In a circle, in a hoop that never ends Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon Or let the eagle tell you where he's been Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain? Can you paint with all the colors of the wind Can you paint with all the colors of the wind How high does the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you'll never know And you'll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon For whether we are white or copper-skinned We need to sing with all the voices of the mountain Need to paint with all the colors of the wind You can own the earth and still All you'll own is earth until You can paint with all colors of the wind
  5. 5. ● Now, consider the lyrics from the song "Mine, Mine, Mine" from Disney's Pocahontas (next slide). How do these lyrics reflect the way in which settlers/explorers to North America often viewed their relationship to the land? Do we still see this attitude today?
  6. 6. Mine, Mine, Mine Ratcliffe: The gold of Cortes, The jewels of Pizarro Will seem like mere trinkets, By this time tomorrow The gold we find here, Will dwarf them by far Oh, with all ya got in ya, boys, Dig up Virginia, boys Mine, boys, mine ev'ry mountain And dig, boys, dig 'til ya drop, Grab a pick, boys, Quick, boys Shove in a shovel, Uncover those lovely Pebbles that sparkle and shine It's gold and it's mine, mine, mine English Settlers Dig and dig and dig and diggety ... Dig and dig and dig and diggety ... Wiggins: Hey nonny nonny, Ho nonny nonny Ratcliffe: Oh, how I love it! Riches for Cheap! Wiggins: There'll be heaps of it ... Ratcliffe: And I'll be on top of the heap! My rivals back home, It's not that I'm bitter But think how they'll squirm, When they see how I glitter! The ladies at court, Will be all a-twitter The king will reward me. He'll knight me ... no, lord me! It's mine, mine, mine, For the taking. It's mine, boys, Mine me that gold! With those nuggets dug ... It's glory they'll gimme, My dear friend, King Jimmy Will probably build me a shrine, When all of the gold is mine English Settlers: Dig and dig and dig and diggety Dig and dig and dig and diggety-dig! Smith: All of my life, I have searched for a land Like this one A wilder, more challenging country I couldn't design Hundreds of dangers await, And I don't plan to miss one In a land I can claim, A land I can tame The greatest adventure is mine! Ratcliffe: Keep on working, lands, Don't be shirking, lands. Mine, boys, mind, Mine me that gold, Beautiful gold English Settlers: Mine, Find a mother lode, Then find another load! Dig! Dig! and diggety, Dig! Dig! for that gold All: Make this island, My land! Ratcliffe: Make the mounds big, boys, I'd help you to dig, boys But I've got this crick in me spine Smith: This land we behold ... Ratcliffe: This beauty untold ... Smith: A man can be bold! It all can be sold! Ratcliffe: And the gold Is ... Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! English Settlers: So go for the gold, We know which is here. All the riches here, From this minute This land and what's in it is Mine! Ratcliffe: Dig and dig and diggety-dig! Hey nonny nonny nonny it's mine!
  7. 7. “We know that we all are related and are one with all earth… May we be continually aware of this relationship which exists between the four-leggeds, the two-leggeds and the wingeds…” - Black Elk
  8. 8. Origins and History ●Many indigenous peoples, believe that they “came out of this ground” ●Other Aboriginal groups around the world have similar beliefs regarding their origins. ●They understand that they came from the land and that all life is thus connected both physically and spiritually.
  9. 9. Origins and History ●Scholars say that they begin to appear in Canada approximately 15,000 years ago. ●Most scholars agree that these Native peoples crossed a land bridge over the Bering Strait that connected the western tip of Alaska to Russia.
  10. 10. Origins and History ●In the 16th century French explorer Jacques Cartier arrived in north America and made contact with the Aboriginal peoples. European contact had a variety of cultural/religious impacts: ●As early as 1701 treaties were signed to define promises and obligations relating to land, hunting and fishing rights. ●Missionaries worked to convert aboriginals to Christianity and attempts were made to assimilate aboriginal peoples into European culture. ●Reserves were created ●The Indian Act (1876) allowed for the establishment of residential schools run by Christian Churches. ●In 1885 the Potlatch was banned. In 1895 Aboriginal ceremonies, dances and festivals were banned.
  11. 11. Origins and History ●Righting Past Wrongs: ●1951 – Ban on Aboriginal ceremonies is lifted. ●1982 – The Canadian charter of rights and freedom guarantees the rights of aboriginal peoples. ●1998 – the government of Canada apologizes for its past treatment of aboriginal peoples. ●1999 – Nunavut is established. ●2008 – Prime Minister Harper and the churches involved apologize for the residential school system and a commission is established to investigate the legacy of that system.
  12. 12. Origins and History ●At the time of European contact each of the Aboriginal nations had its own language, spiritual beliefs and practices. Today there are more than 60 Aboriginal languages in Canada = great diversity. ●Until recently Aboriginal cultures have been oral (they have relied on memory and memory keepers). ●Today some sacred ceremonies and teachings are still considered too important to pass on in written form.
  13. 13. 15000 – 13000 BCE Migration from Asia to North America. 604 – 479 BCE Lao Tzu (604 – 532) Confucius (551 – 479) Early signs of Shinto 371 - 289 BCE Mencius (390 – 305) Chuang Tzu (369 – 286) Hsun Tzu (298 – 238). 200 CE Shinto – Chinese religions appear in Japan. 456 – 536 CE Taoism assembling of the 3 caverns (3 truths of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism). 142 CE Taoism emerges. 1000 CE First known contact between Europeans and N.A. Aboriginals. 1130 – 1200 CE Confucianism’s 4 Books. 1945 CE State Shinto Abolished 1800 - 1869 CE Code of Handsome Lake Creation of Residential Schools State Shinto Founded
  14. 14. BALANCE TRADITIONS: CREED/BELIEFS
  15. 15. Aboriginal Beliefs ●Cosmocentric - (unit one) ●Cyclical - (i.e. Hindu understanding of time/universe) ●4 Widely Held Beliefs: ●Animism – All things have a spirit ●Creation Stories – Origins tied to nature ●Death and the Afterlife - Reincarnation ●Totems – Links to ancestry
  16. 16. Cherokee Creation Myth Long ago, before there were any people, the world was young and water covered everything. The earth was a great island floating above the seas, suspended by four rawhide ropes representing the four sacred directions. It hung down from the crystal sky. There were no people, but the animals lived in a home above the rainbow. Needing space, they sent Water Beetle to search for room under the seas. Water Beetle dove deep and brought up mud that spread quickly, turning into land that was flat and too soft and wet for the animals to live on. Grandfather Buzzard was sent to see if the land had hardened. When he flew over the earth, he found the mud had become solid; he flapped in for a closer look. The wind from his wings created valleys and mountains, and that is why the Cherokee territory has so many mountains today. As the earth stiffened, the animals came down from the rainbow. It was still dark. They needed light, so they pulled the sun out from behind the rainbow, but it was too bright and hot. A solution was urgently needed. The shamans were told to place the sun higher in the sky. A path was made for it to travel--from east to west--so that all inhabitants could share in the light. The plants were placed upon the earth. The Creator told the plants and animals to stay awake for seven days and seven nights. Only a few animals managed to do so, including the owls and mountain lions, and they were rewarded with the power to see in the dark. Among the plants, only the cedars, spruces, and pines remained awake. The Creator told these plants that they would keep their hair during the winter, while the other plants would lose theirs. People were created last. The women were able to have babies every seven days. They reproduced so quickly that the Creator feared the world would soon become too crowded. So after that the women could have only one child per year, and it has been that way ever since.
  17. 17. For other creation myths see Appendix
  18. 18. Totems: A totem is a being, object, or symbol representing an animal or plant that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, group, lineage, or tribe, reminding them of their ancestry (or mythic past).In kinship and descent, if the apical ancestor of a clan is nonhuman, it is called a totem. Normally this belief is accompanied by a totemic myth. They have been around for many years. They are usually in the shape of an animal, and every animal has a curtain personality, e.g Owl: The Owl - Wisdom, silent and swift and wise.
  19. 19. BALANCE TRADITIONS – CODE Sacred Writings and Ethics
  20. 20. Aboriginal Code ●Aboriginal traditions are mostly oral in nature (i.e. do not have a written language) ●This means that they have a very rich and complex story telling tradition ●However this make it difficult to study Aboriginal sacred texts ●Read The Code of Handsome Lake in the textbook on page 46
  21. 21. Handsome Lake ● Handsome Lake, a great leader and prophet, played a major role in reviving traditional religion among the Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse), or Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. He preached a message that combined traditional Haudenosaunee religious beliefs with a revised code meant to revive traditional consciousness to the Haudenosaunee after a long period of cultural disintegration following colonization. This message was eventually published as the "Code of Handsome Lake" and is still practiced today. ● For more information and to read the Code of Handsome Lake see appendix.
  22. 22. Core Ethics (Code) ●Do not Interfere ● Modeling behaviour and leading by example are valued. Ordering, giving advice or interfering with behaviour in a demanding way is not. ●The Community is Important ● As a member you are expected to do your job (and do it well) for the community. ●Everything is Shared ● One takes only what is needed from the environment to survive, ensuring there is enough left over for others. Similarly everyone gets enough.
  23. 23. BALANCE TRADITIONS – CULT Practices, Rituals and Symbols
  24. 24. Prayer (Cult) ●Prayer is used to recognize God’s greatness and to express thanks for all of the Creator’s gifts. ●Individuals, families and groups celebrate with a variety of sung and spoken prayers, usually spontaneously and from the heart. ●Occasionally prayers involve offering a gift or sacrifice. ●A prayer of thanks is used to communicate with the creator before and after waking, sleeping, hunting, planting, etc.. ●In earlier periods time was also set aside to pray, fast and make sacrifices to charm evil spirits that played havoc with daily life.
  25. 25. Aboriginal Milestones (Cult) ●Birth and Naming Rituals ● To learn the right name for a child, the name giver (grandparent or an elder) enters into a period of fasting, meditation, prayer or dreaming. The name revealed by the spirit is given to the child in a special ceremony. ● As a person matures their name may change as it expresses their relation to the spirit power.
  26. 26. Aboriginal Milestones (Cult) ●Death ● Rituals vary among Aboriginal peoples. ● Generally believed that those who have died need to relearn what it is to be a spirit. ● Tradition requires a waiting period of one year to allow for this transition. At that time some form of Death Feast is held for the spirit of the person who has left. ● Most Aboriginals believe the spirit lives on in some form, either with the family or in a different realm (one that can be contacted).
  27. 27. Aboriginal Milestones ●The Vision Quest ● Read the account of a vision quest of Oliver Pahdopony (appendix iii) ● What is a Vision Quest? ● Why is it important to Aboriginal peoples as a milestone from childhood to adulthood? ● What are the 3 elements of the Vision Quest?
  28. 28. Aboriginal Rituals Chart Copy the following chart into your notes and, using the internet and your own research, fill it out to the best of your ability.
  29. 29. ABORIGINAL RITUALS CHART Ceremony Tribe or Area and When What is involved? Ceremonial or ritual aspects The Powwow The Sun Dance The Potlatch Ceremony The Sweat Lodge Smudging Sacred Pipe Ceremony
  30. 30. The Sun Dance
  31. 31. The Potlatch Ceremony
  32. 32. The Sweat Lodge
  33. 33. The Shaking Tent
  34. 34. Aboriginal Symbols - Assignment

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