One of the most prominent things you’ll notice as you travel in Saskatchewan and Canada is its rich Aboriginal culture. Having lived on the continent for more than 12 000 years their stories and dances aren’t just entertainment. These dances and songs have been performed for thousands of years and tell of the world’s creation.
Aboriginal dance is one of the most well known examples of this rich culture. Amazing, brightly colored costumes are generally handmade and decorated with quills, beads, and other religious and sparkling symbols in a traditional fashion. Although slightly different from the original costumes, the time and care put into each one is truly stunning. Some of these costumes can weigh more than 100 pounds when complete. Traditional dances include the round dance and several native dances and competitions throughout the season often called the Powwow Circuit from May to September. These are massive celebrations and frequently have large cash prizes.
Aboriginal art is unique to each band and reflects the nature and daily activities around them. Animal spirits, flowers, and hunting scenes are all common in traditional works. More modern art still has threads of their original culture, but display more of the artists soul and some even addresses modern issues. Beadwork, leather, and carvings are just a few of the items frequently made. Religious items such as medicine wheels and dream catchers are also popular cultural items.
Housing, Language, and Education
Many First Nations People do still live on reserves, but they do NOT live in teepees. Like others in Canada, they live in homes, in communities, and speak English or French. Traditional teepees are generally reserved for special festivities and informational purposes. First Nations People attend schools, some of which may include traditional teachings and stories. A majority of the history is passed from elders to children through story. Each tribe has its own language unique to their area.
First Nations People are not like they are portrayed in movies. They are real Canadians like everyone else you see in the country with the added benefit of a rich and colorful heritage. Take the opportunity to experience this genuine Canadian experience. You’ll be glad you did.
If you would like to learn and see more, visit the Virtual Aboriginal Trade Show
(This post can now be found at: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/canada/canadas-oldest-culture-western-aboriginal-peoples/)