What if the Europeans had followed the native culture? This is one of the questions asked in the poem “I’m not the Indians you had in mind”. I think that one of the largest criticisms that the Canadian government has is that though we claim to be multicultural and diverse, we also discriminate towards aboriginal people. The Europeans tried to force their religion and beliefs onto the aboriginal people. One of the ways that they had tried to integrate the next generation of aboriginals into European society by putting them in harsh recreational schools where they were separated from their parents and banned from expressing their culture. This created a generation that felt abused by the European system and yet could not reconnect with the culture that they had left behind. Recreational school was just another example of western culture, religion and beliefs that was forced upon the aboriginal people.
What if the Europeans were the ones that followed the aboriginals culture and beliefs? First we would have to understand what the aboriginal culture is or was back then. The Aboriginal people had many different groups among them. Though they did have many of the same themes repeating throughout their various stories. The most common myths among the tribes were the Earth diver, Transformers, Trickster, The moon, stars and sun, and The stretching tree.
The Earth diver is a myth about a Great spirit (or a transformer) that had either ordered animals at the beginning of time to dive into the water to grab mud in order to create the earth. Though sometimes there is a different version of this story, where the earth is created upon a turtle’s back. This is also why people at that time called north america turtle island.
The aboriginal people believed in transformers. They believed that there were humans with a supernatural power. These people had used their special abilities to bring the world to how we see it today. Some cultures such as the Algonquin
people believed in 2 different transformers one good and one bad. The Glooscap who formed the sun, moon, animals and humans. The Malsum was the brother of Glooscap and represented evil who did everything possible to hinder humans.
There was also a trickster myths that would represent the great spirit. There was many different perspectives on the trickster. He could be the helpful but mischievous or a hindrance and caused trouble.
The Great spirit was a representation of a mysterious power. This could potentially be a great benefit or a great danger when not treated with respect. The mysterious power is the property of the spirits and that also includes all of the representations of the spirits.
The aboriginal people would have shaman that are the prophets, healers, diviners and religious ceremonies. People would often go on Guardian Spirit quests in order to connect to the guardian spirit.
What if the Europeans had followed this way of life and tried to connect to the Great spirit? I personally think that these two religions were too different to immediately integrate into each other. Though rather than try and to force the religions onto each other I think that by understanding and respecting each other would have been a better outcome.