1. Aboriginal – of Native ancestry, inhabiting or existing in a land from the earliest times and before colonists.

2. Indigenous – originating naturally in a region, belonging naturally to an environment of people born in a region.

3. Animism – the attribution of a living soul to plants, animals, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena.

4. Monotheistic – the belief in one God.

5. Polytheistic – The belief in or worship of more than one God.

6. Reincarnation – The belief in the rebirth of a soul in a new body or form.

7. Totem – a protective entity in the form of an animal, natural object, or plant.

8. Sachems – the supreme chief of a clan.

9. Shaman – medicine man or spiritual leader.

10. Powwow – a gathering of Aboriginal people with ritual dances, drumming and chanting.

Aboriginal Spirituality – Practices and Rituals

Morning Dance – Every Spring, the Ojibwa of southern Ontario perform the Morning Dance, also known as the Wabeno. The dance pays homage to the ‘’tree of the universe’’. They touch the tree and give thanks, to instil gratitude. They fast before, feast afterwards and dance until noon.

The Sun Dance – takes place over 8-16 days, identifies the circle as an important symbol, and acknowledges and respects the sun as the giver of life. They pierce their flesh and take pain so others might not have to suffer. They do this by piercing their flesh with sharp wooden hooks deep in their chest from the tree or cottonwood.

The Potlatch Ceremony – feasting, distributing wealth, sharing songs and dances are apart of this. The host gives a feast to celebrate an important event, like marriage, naming of an heir, or atone for a humiliation. This ceremony also distributes wealth in the community.

The Sweat Lodge – renews the soul and helps to regain focus, cleanses the physical and spiritual body.

The Shaking Tent – represents the beliefs and values of some Aboriginal people about the supernatural world and its close relationship to the living. This ceremony always takes place at night.

The Vision Quest – a coming of age ceremony that is common to most Aboriginal religions. It lasts 5-10 days. The medicine man instructs the youth to go somewhere far and alone, you will hopefully get a message from a spirit.

Smudging Ceremony – a ceremony where ingredients like sage, tobacco and sweet grass are burned in a little bowl. The person taking part in this ceremony will be fanned with the scent of the burned ingredients and these ingredients cleanse them. It cleanses their body and environment.

The Laws of the Sweat Lodge
(7 Ancient Grandfathers) – are a personification of admirable or good qualities that each person would like to develop in their self.

Kindness – Red
Caring – Black
Sharing – White
Respect – Green
Humility – Purple
Honesty – Yellow
Strength – Blue

Begin in April – each month is a stage, you must go from April (Water/Mind/Clarity) to May, then onto June. You must go through these stages to identify what your gift is on Earth.

4 Basic Elements – 4 Attributes of Humanity
Water – Mind
Earth – Body
Air – Spirit
Fire – Catalyst



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