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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Changing Ways

SnowmobileJust as the boreal forest has endured physical and environmental changes as a result of heavy industrial and municipal growth in the north, the Aboriginal Peoples of the northwest endured changes in lifestyle and values. The movement of industries like forestry, agriculture, and petroleum into the northwest boreal forest has brought with it changes in the physical environment in certain areas of the forest and disturbances to local animal populations. To traditional hunters and trappers who have lived intimately with the land, such environmental changes are keenly felt.

The same can be said of the growth of northern settlements. The arrival of new industries has created job opportunities that have resulted in a steady increase in northern populations. New arrivals to the north tend to be urban-minded by nature, and settle in towns and cities close to industrial developments. As demand for housing and services increases in northern municipalities, the municipalities themselves grow into lands once occupied by traditional hunting grounds and traplines.

Aboriginal youth hold the key to the Aboriginal future, but what kind of future will they choose? Many present day Aboriginal youth did not grow up in the same bushland circumstances as their ancestors did. The best hope in many cases lies in marrying the old with the new, transmitting ancient ideas in a present day framework. For Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals alike, there is much work to be done in this regard.

Featured Video: The Changing and Future North

The Heritage Community Foundation, with the kind permission of Terry Garvin, is pleased to present this feature excerpt from the Bush Land People video.

The Aboriginal Peoples who have lived by their traditions for centuries are part of a changing north, one that becomes more industrialized with each passing generation. Future generations have had to learn to cope with the new while struggling to hold on to the traditions that shape their heritage.

[Read] [View]

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            For more on Aboriginal hunters and trappers in Canada’s northwest Boreal forest, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
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