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First nations traditions presentation

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Tam Nguyen

on 30 April 2010

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Transcript of First nations traditions presentation

First Nations Traditions Tradition refers to the passing down of beliefs from generation to generation. For First Nations people this is done through ceremonies or orally. Three important concepts that are involved in traditions are: Language Symbols Beliefs Symbolism is important in traditions because they represent the meaning or purpose of the tradition. Three important symbols involved in First Nations traditions are: Fire Earth Eagle Fire represents the heart of the people as well as cleansing and renewal for the reason that out of ashes new things grow. Fire is also present in all ceremonies.
Earth represents the root of all First Nations teachings, representing the duty to protect the land as well as the wisdom gained.
The eagle represents courage because of its ability to combine wisdom and courage. Beliefs refer to the thought of how creation came to be. Beliefs are important to traditions because it is the reason why the traditions are performed. An example of one tribe's belief on how creation came to be is: The Iroquois believed that before land existed there were Sky People. The daughter of the Chief of the Sky People became ill, finding that there was no cure they consulted the Elder, the Elder told the people to dig up the tree and place the Chief’s daughter beside it but while digging the tree fell and dragged down the daughter with it. As she fell all that lied below her was water. Two swans saw the girl drowning seeing that she was beautiful decided to save her from drowning and landed her on the Great Turtle’s back. The turtle ordered to find the tree that fell from the sky. After multiple attempts and failures, a creature was able to grasp a mouthful of earth and place it onto the Great Turtle shortly dying thereafter. The earth however contained the magical power of growth, growing until the Chief’s daughter had enough land to survive. Yet the world was dark. Again the Great Turtle called for the animals to gather. They decided to put a great light in the sky. A little turtle volunteered and climbed up to the sky with the help of the other animals' magic. Little turtle climbed into a black cloud and crawled around the sky collecting the lightning as she went. She made a big bright ball from the lightening and threw it into the sky.
Some First Nation traditional ceremonies are: Pow Wows Sun Dances Sweats Pow wows are dancing ceremonies that have much spiritual background. In modern day these ceremonies are method for people of any cultural background to have a taste of First Nations culture. Sun dances are a spiritual activity where people go without food for three or more days. The purpose of this cermony is to sacrifice your own body for that amount of time in order to give yourself and others a brighter future. During sun dance ceremonies there is much dancing, praying and entering of sweat lodges. Sweats are a ceremony where First Nations and non First Nations people gather together to clear their spirit. This ceremony usually takes place within a sweat lodge. The purpose of this ceremony is to help prayers get to the creator and relieve all tension in the body. Upon finishing the ceremony the body is relaxed, giving a refreshed feeling similar to that of a new beginning. Language is important in tradition because it shows how exterior influences changed culture and with it traditions. An example of this would be the following story: The Cree language was forever altered upon meeting with Jesuit missionaries. This meeting was said to of occurred in as early as the 1600's. The Jesuit missionaries utilized and taught the European alphabet to the Cree for the purpose of having them be able to read the Bible. The impact of this created a new system for writing for the Cree as well as gave the ability for the two cultures to learn about beliefs.
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