- Identify the consequences of exploring habitat and relationships (Activity 1, 2 and 3)
- See how consequences can be both positive or negative (Activity 2 and 3)
- Identify patterns that show the interdependence of all living things (Activity 1 and 3)
“…it was a religious act among our people to gather up all bones very carefully, and either to throw them in the fire or into a river where beaver lived. I only know that our ancestors used to tell us that we must throw all the bones of the beaver we ate into rivers where we could see beaver lodges, so that the lodges would always be there. All the bones we got from the sea had to be thrown in the sea, so that the species would always exist.”Arguimaut to Abbé Maillard, Prince Edward Island ca. 1740
This lesson focuses on understanding the connection and interaction between Indigenous people and the natural environment. Before they encountered the first European explorers over 400 years ago, the Passamaquoddy, Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqewiyik were seasonally-mobile people. They moved with the seasons, traveling to locations that could provide for their basic needs. They depended entirely on Mother Earth for their survival. Food, clothing, shelter and medicine — all came from the forest and the sea. This bonded Indigenous people to their surroundings. Their approach to nature was place-based. Recognizing the importance and generosity of Mother Earth, her bounty was used sparingly and with great reverence. Wildlife was taken for clothing and food. The forest, sea and plant life offered food.
This lesson focuses on how traditional knowledge was always in a process of adapting itself to new situations. Traditional knowledge was known at an intellectual level but also needed to be actively incorporated into daily life to strengthen relationships between people and nature. It expressed a web of relationships in all creation. Traditional knowledge promoted strong social values and provided people with the tools and guidance to support healthy and successful lives.
Europeans, both explorers and settlers, did not appreciate the strong social fabric of resource-based Indigenous people and their relationships with their environment. When they encountered each other, for both groups the relationships were new and strange.
Here is an example — verbs that are used to describe trees:
“In the Mi’kmaq language, trees are called by the sounds they make as the wind passes through their branches, in the autumn, during the special period before dusk. Trees are known and talked about in terms of how they interact with certain aspects of their surroundings — and in terms of how the individual person perceives them.”Kevin Reed, Aboriginal People Building for the Future, Oxford University Press 1998, p.12
In this lesson students will create a log of their exploration of something that they know little about. It could be an animal in their environment they know nothing of, an Indigenous invention, an interaction between Indigenous people and newcomers. It might be something that the student wants to learn more about. Use the logbook to record at least three entries and two different visuals.