First Nations people lived life with great respect for the land and all that Mother Earth provided. They had a lifestyle that was focused on survival (food, water, and shelter). They had a complex worldview that all things are interconnected. Today, many First Nations people still follow these ways of life, but many no longer do as a result of colonization.
First Nations people believe all things are filled with spirit. Humans, plants, animals, insects, rocks, the earth, the moon, and the sun all have a spirit and are sacred. Through spirit, everything is connected, and respect must be shown to other spirits. They followed ancient protocols of developing, building, and maintaining relationships with other humans, animals, the earth, and the supernatural.
First Nations people have a deep belief that the Creator placed people on earth to take care of the land and all its relations.
ART BY LEAH MARIE DORION
Land stewardship is a way of living. It means to take care of each other, take care of Mother Earth and all its relations.
Caring for the land and all its relations means respecting everything. Deep and sincere respect has to be shown and given every time life is taken during hunting and fishing adventures. Respect is shown by using everything the animal or fish provided, and never wasting or leaving things to rot or spoil. Often an offering of tobacco is also given back to Mother Earth as a sign of gratitude and respect.
To properly look at the area for the reserves, you would need a plane to view the land from the sky; but when the treaties were signed, planes were yet to be invented. Measuring tools were inaccurate and there was no way to view the land from the sky. Disagreements still exist today on actual size agreed upon in the treaties.
First Nations people recognized the land did not just belong to them. They shared the land with each other and all other creatures and there was no concept of private property or ownership. They did not own or claim anything as their own. They lived as communities and took care of each other, making sure everyone had what they needed to survive.
Women were highly respected because they were ‘life givers’. In many First Nations communities, women held positions of power and leadership. Many communities were matriarchal. The women were responsible for the children, the tipis, the dogs, and more. While many First Nations had male chiefs, in some societies, the women selected the chiefs.
First Nations women were highly respected because they were ‘life givers’, and were given many responsibilities within their communities.
In Indigenous culture, being a warrior meant completing a great deed or task. The deed or task had to be something that would result in a positive outcome. The individuals would focus on the teachings that came from the tasks. These teachings included learning how to share, communicate, and live their lives with humility and wisdom.