This week I wish to present a series of articles on topics of great interest and what can be learnt from traditional Aboriginal teachings to better the system.
In Quebec, students are now being taught Aboriginal law alongside Quebec law. Of particular interest from this article is the focus that Aboriginal law is based on relationships and how they can be strengthened. Mr. Borrows, the educator mentioned in the article and interview, has worked with Aboriginal groups rom across Canada and the world. In incorporating more Aboriginal law into everyday practice, Burrows argues, it will help strengthen Canada’s system as a whole with a continued focus on mending relationships and rehabilitation rather than punishment.
The firekeepers of the Okanagan valley were responsible for purifying the land. In this article, published by the CBC, the discussion of the Aboriginal practice of slash and burn is shared as a means of how it helped prevent the types of fires seen in Britih Columbia and Alberta over the past few years. Shared in the article is the story of Annie Kruger, a former firekeeper, and how her teachings may be used to prevent larger fires in the future and how it’s important to use these teachings moving forward.
Climate change affects us all and in this Star article the importance of using oral histories and knowledge is shared. By speaking with elders, scientists are discovering how the climate is changing over time and working on ways to slow or improve the process. Scientific data, it is argued, helps, but it is also important to speak with those who are seeing the changes and are affected by it. Not only is Canada investigating changes using elder accounts, the United States is getting in on it as well.
A saying I often hear goes that there is truth rooted in every story. For long, Aboriginal traditional histories have been ignored because there are few written accounts. Recently, however, there has been a convergence of science and oral histories in helping shape views. An example is an oral history of an earthquake that hit in about 1700. Using the oral histories, scientists were able to determine what they found of an ancient tsunami coincides with the story. Part of science is proving theories correct or incorrect and we are finding that many theories, or stories, shared from Aboriginal traditions are helping shape science and give a better view of the past.
Mental health is important for those living in the 21st century. We are bombarded every day with materials and pieces of information that can cause a strain in our mental abilities. A new mental health strategy for Canada is using traditional knowledge as a means of supporting positive mental health. Shared in the strategy is a balance of purpose, hope, meaning and belonging, all key points in traditional teachings as much as in modern society. In order to keep these together, one needs community. An excellent read with a wonderful continuum shared on pages 99 and 100 that an be used in every setting.