What Does Indigenous Knowledge Mean? A Compilation of Attributes.

What does Indigenous knowledge (IK) mean? That’s a big question because “there are approximately 370 million Indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. Indigenous people live in every region of the world...” [1] At this point, there isn’t a hard and fast definition accepted and recognized by all; it can mean different things to different societies and cultures.

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Why are Indigenous leaders called chiefs?

Definition: Chief (n.)

c. 1300, "head, leader, captain; the principal or most important part of anything;" from Old French chief "leader, ruler, head" of something, "capital city" (10c., Modern French chef), from Vulgar Latin *capum, from Latin caput "head," also "leader, chief person; summit; capital city" (from PIE root *kaput- "head"). Meaning "head of a clan" is from 1570s; later extended to American Indian tribes. Commander-in-chief attested from 1660s. [1]


In October 2017 a school district board in Ontario passed a motion to remove “chief” from all job titles out of respect for Indigenous communities. The action was, according to a school district spokesperson, a proactive step towards reconciliation. There was a mixed reaction to the move but the most common response, from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, was confusion.

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What does Indigenous connectivity mean?

The woldview of many Indigenous Peoples includes the principle of connectivity - that everything in the universe is connected. The spirit world is connected to the mortal world, the sea is connected to the land, and the sky is connected to the ground. Connectivity explains the connection people have to their communities, their traditional territories, the ecosystem on those lands.  

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Indigenous Trade Networks Thrived Long Before the Arrival of Europeans

“There used to be millions of us. Although there were no population counts, best estimates suggest that there were at least 40 million of us in the Western Hemisphere in 1491. In 1542, Las Casa, the first Spaniard to make a population guess said, “it looked as if God had placed all of or the greater part of humanity in these countries.”

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Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples™ Blog Passes 1 Millionth Visitor

 

I am delighted to announce that our blog, Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples™, surpassed the 1 millionth visitor milestone in mid-March. I started the blog in 2011 as a free resource for people seeking information about Indigenous Peoples. It spluttered along for a couple of years slowly gaining traction. Our biggest month was 7,000 visitors. I wanted to reach a greater audience so moved to a platform called Hubspot, and that is when the blog really took off. We now have an average of 60,000 visitors a month which is quite a leap from our earlier efforts.

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Maps of traditional Indigenous territories

“I’ve noticed a trend that people maintain their own tribal name based on being in their traditional homeland. I think a lot of it is because the names they used for themselves usually are descriptive phrases. So, a lot of tribes call themselves, ‘we are the people at the mouth of the river’. If you have been removed from your territory through the trail of tears, or the long walk by like a thousand miles from where that mouth of the river is people no longer think of themselves as ‘the people at the mouth of the river’. When you get dispossessed of your traditional homeland, there is a cultural rift that happens. A loss that happens from being off of where you are supposed to be.” Aaron Carapella, Two Row Times, 2013


There are maps of reserves (reservations in the United States), maps of language groups, maps of treaty-making, regional maps of traditional territories but up until recently there weren’t any that showed the original Indigenous traditional territories with original Indigenous names.

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Fabulous Five Indigenous Women Nominees for Canadian Banknotes

The Bank of Canada put out the call for nominations of Canadian women for a series of new banknotes. This is not the first time women have been featured, but, since the bank began issuing banknotes in 1935, it is still a rare occurrence. Between 2004 and 2012, the Famous 5 - Emily Murphy, Irene Marryat Parlby, Nellie Mooney McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards, and Thérèse Casgrain appeared on the $50 bill.

 

In order to determine who should be featured, the bank has asked the public to submit their nominations. Here’s the criteria:

  • They are a Canadian (by birth or naturalization) who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada, or in the service of Canada.
  • They have been deceased for at least 25 years.
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What is the Relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Animals

From time to time people ask me about the relationship between Indigenous peoples and animals. For some, the knowledge of the natural world - the land, plants, animals, seasons and cycles of nature - has been a central tenet of their lives and worldviews since the dawn of time. Their understanding of the natural world is sophisticated and comprehensive. The natural world, now commonly referred to as the “environment”, is not viewed as a separate entity but one, interconnected aspect of the whole. This interconnectedness equates to a moral responsibility to care for, live in harmony with, and respect the natural world.

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Hereditary Chief definition and 5 FAQs

 

"The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change." Sir John A Macdonald, 1887

 


Long before Prime Minister John A. Macdonald made the above statement of intent, the Indigenous Peoples who had occupied the land since time immemorial had effective, traditional forms of leadership and governance. The traditional form of governance pre-contact was most commonly based on leadership by hereditary chiefs. However, it should be noted that "chief" is a European term. Traditional leaders were headmen/women, clan leaders, heads of villages, groups of people. 

 
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What are appropriate gifts for Indigenous Guest Speakers

This article goes out to all the people who organize events that include Indigenous speakers and we thank one of our readers for suggesting we write on this topic.

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Q&A on the Indian Act with author Bob Joseph - June 19, 2018

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