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This section contains materials relating to Aboriginal philosophy and spirituality.
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Overview of Aboriginal Knowledge & Spirituality

Aboriginal elders

Aboriginal people have a base of knowledge and spirituality that has been in place for thousands of years. This LibGuide page provides resources that help advance understanding of this traditional knowledge and spirituality and offers a look at how they can be incorporated in different areas such as the classroom, social work, healing, and others.


Elder Teachings & Traditional Knowledge

The following resources provide information on the role of Elders in the Aboriginal community and the traditional knowledge that guides and informs many of these communities. Hover your mouse over each resource for more information.


A Gathering Of Indigenous Wisdom Keepers

"Gathering of Indigenous Wisdom Keepers Sending A Message to the World. 2012. See for full text of this Message. Video Credit: Erica Daniels. May 24-27, 2012. Sagkeeng First Nation Territory, Manitoba, Canada"


Healing Dance: An Ojibwa Story

"Ali Arya, Adaina Smyth, Jon Eng, Marco Cellucci; The Ojibwa (also Ojibway or Ojibwe) is the largest group of Native Americans-First Nations north of Mexico. They have a story about the origin of the Jingle Dress and its dance both appeared in a recurring vivid dream that was realized about the year 1900. The dream came to a man with an ill daughter and in the dream there were four women, each wearing a jingle dress and dancing. Each dream also gave instructions on how to make the dresses, what types of songs went with them and how the dance was to be performed. The girl was so moved by the dancers that she was following the women and dancing around.  This video is made as part of the Virtual Pow-wow project at Carleton University ("


Native American Spirituality: How "Indians" Think

"Mike Tarbell of The Iroquois Museum, speaks of Native American Spirituality He encourages you to go seek answers for your problems. One of the ways is to get out in nature... be still and listen..."


Eel Ground First Nation School: An Innovative Way To Teach The Next Generation

"Blending new technology with traditional cultural teachings the Eel Ground First Nation is proving that innovation can be enjoyed by all. Using technological aids such as smart-boards, videoconferencing and the internet, the Eel Ground First Nation is gaining recognition as one of the most technologically advanced in Canada. Since it first opened its doors the Eel Ground First Nation School has seen attendance triple with their groundbreaking approach to learning."

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Cultural/Friendship Centres

Friendship Centres are the primary providers of culturally-enhanced programs and services to urban Aboriginal residents. For over half-a-century, Friendship Centres have been facilitating the transition of Aboriginal people from rural, remote and reserve life to an urban environment.


Water - The Sacred Relationship (Native Counselling Services of Alberta)

"Water - The Sacred Relationship, is the result of a three year research project by Native Counselling Services of Alberta that features a documentary film, educational curriculum and a public policy research article. Guided by a circle of Cree Elders and led by a team of Aboriginal and Western Scientists, The Sacred Relationship explores how reconciling the relationship between Aboriginal people and the rest of Canada can lead to healthier water.
Featuring film clips from Aboriginal Elders and top Western Scientists, The Sacred Relationship explores the Indigenous Worldview, Water & Ceremony, European Settlement & Colonization, Reconciliation, Common Ground between Indigenous and Western Science."


Full Circle: First Nations, Métis, Inuit Ways of Knowing

"Our most recent project, Full Circle: First Nation, Métis and Inuit Ways of Knowing was written by members who self-identify as First Nation or Métis, or have extensive experience working with Aboriginal students. The lessons are authentic in their approach to sensitive, value-laden topics, and honour traditional “Ways of Knowing” by taking a holistic approach to the broad themes of Land, Identity, Health, and Residential Schools. Please note that textbook pages from Aboriginal Peoples In Canada and Aboriginal Beliefs, Values and Aspirations have not been reproduced in the on-line version. "


Completing the Circle Healing Words About End of Life Spoken to Aboriginal Families - Part 1

"Developed by First Nations University, Luther College, University of Regina, in this video Saskatchewan Elders share their experiences and beliefs about death and dying in the Aboriginal World. They send comforting words to Aboriginal families to help with the healing process in their time of need."

Watch Part 2.


Elder Elize Hartley Talks About The 7 Grandfather Teachings Of The Metis

"Aboriginal Students Health Sciences (ASHS) Elder in Residence Elize Hartley talks about various Metis medicines and cultural practices. This episode looks at the 7 grandfather teachings of the Metis."



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