Typically, the history of Canada starts with the immigrant story.

However, this is a one-sided story that has been told many times.  The Indigenous story is quite a different story. Our story starts with Creator.

Indigenous peoples have been in North American since time immemorial, meaning for as long as can be remembered.

In our oral traditions, or our oral history, the elders teach that Creator placed us on our land.

There were many different Indigenous peoples here on Turtle Island (which some Indigenous people call North America). There were and still are hundreds of different Indigenous languages, customs and traditions.

The history of Indigenous peoples since the arrival of European settlers is a complex one, and in many ways we are all still trying to learn to walk together in a good way, as neighbours. Listening and learning with humility and understanding are vital to finding that way forward.

Here in Canada, we are always trying to find ways to relate to each other and talk about our sameness, and that is right and good.  But it’s also important to celebrate and value the ways we are vastly different. Indigenous worldview (way of being), values (the beliefs and shape what we do and how we do it) and cultures (everything from art, music, food, clothing and how we hunt) are quite different, not only among Indigenous people but also from that of mainstream North American culture.

Do you know which Indigenous community’s traditional land you are on? The Indigenous community closest to you likely has a treaty with Canada. Do you know what it means to live in a treaty relationship with that Indigenous community? Taking some time to research and find out the answers is very meaningful. This is very important to know, because understanding this is part of what it means to be Canadian.

Let’s purpose to journey together in a good way.


Much love,

Cheryl Bear

(excerpt from The Honour Drum)