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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Cultural Uses

Through the interview process, Traditional Use Studies (TUS) or Traditional Land Use Studies (TLUS) facilitate participatory interaction between generations for the transmission of knowledge. The Studies focus on traditional land use and the resource of the territory in question, in this way, passing on the oral history knowledge. These studies stimulate the sense of belonging and of owning the resources, which, in turn, encourages the stewardship of the land. Because First Nation communities are traditionally oral cultures, transmitting knowledge orally through interviews conducted face-to-face, over time, in themselves, are a continuation of the traditional practice. The discussion that is engendered through the interview process is a stimulus to the community and, as TUS are an ongoing process, the dialogue continues within the community.

The local Indigenous language can also receive a much needed boost through the TUS process, as the Native language of the community can reveal much on its culture and world view. When TUS interviews are conducted in the first language of the community, this creates a greater need for language maintenance and preservation, as Elders and the younger generations interact. This gives the young people of the community a reason to learn the Indigenous language of their people. Such a situation now exists on the Kainai Reserve (Treaty 7) in southern Alberta, where parents have begun to teach their native Blackfoot language to their children as a first language. This is a renewal of great importance in this time when Indigenous languages all over the world are in danger of disappearing. Having work in one's native language is a very good way of ensuring that the language is kept alive.

Beyond the language question, TUS help Indigenous communities to learn more about the environment in which they live, and its resources and how to better manage them. Their traditional values about the environment can be integrated into the management of their territory in the contemporary world, further reinforcing their culture.

Another important aspect of the cultural value of TUS is that, through the increased knowledge of a community's history, a sense of pride is generated. This sense of awareness of the bonds that link the residents and the entire community to its past is further stimulated by the appreciation of the value of traditional knowledge, too easily dismissed in the past as being of little value. This sense of pride has repercussions at all levels of the community, as Elders, traditionally valued for their knowledge and wisdom, are sought out to share their expertise, not only with members of their families, but with the community and with outside concerns. This strengthens relationships and empowers communities, all the while adding to the body of knowledge at the human, social and cultural levels.

The confidence that comes from knowledge is something which cannot be taken away, and First Nations use the documentation gathered from these studies and decide what the priorities are in the uses of their lands and resources. From this point, they can pursue strategies to develop these resources and can be involved in the planning process with industry and government so as to better support their community.

Resources

Publications

Terry Garvin, Carving Faces: Carving Lives: People of the Boreal Forest (Edmonton, Canada: Heritage Community Foundation, 2006) provides oral history and cultural mapping information.

Web Resources

www.aseniwuche.com -The official website of the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation of Canada provides information about their TUS as well as history.

Albertasource.ca - Alberta Online Encyclopedia Aboriginal Websites and Edukits

Making of Treaty 8

Making of Treaty 8 in Canada's Northwest

This virtual exhibit explores the making of Treaty 8 through text, historic photographs, audio, video and contextual information, as well as exploring the culture and lifeways of First Nations people.


Treaty 7

Treaty 7

This website explores the making of Treaty 7 through text, historic photographs, audio, video and contextual information, as well as exploring the culture and lifeways of First Nations people.


Treaty 6

Treaty 6

This website explores the making of Treaty 6 through text, historic photographs, audio, video and contextual information, as well as exploring the culture and lifeways of First Nations people.


Nature's Laws

Nature's Laws

Experience the culture and traditions of the First Nation People with Nature's Laws - a website describing aboriginal views on the governance of life.


Elders' Voices

Elders' Voices

They are the ones who remember. They are the keepers of knowledge, and the living memories of ancient cultures. They are the Elders of Alberta's Aboriginal communities. Read and hear the stories of the Elders in Elders' Voices, a multimedia testament to the resilience of those who have struggled to keep the old world from being completely swept away by the new.


People of the Boreal Forest

People of the Boreal Forest

The People of the Boreal Forest website retraces the footsteps of Terry Garvin who, between 1954 and 2000, recorded in text and photographs the lives of traditional Aboriginal hunters and trappers living in Canada's northwest boreal forest. Garvin's material, which has since been published in two books: Bush Land People and Carving Faces, Carving Lives: People of the Boreal Forest, serves as the foundation of this website, and tells the story of ancient peoples in a changing north.


People of the Boreal Forest Edukit

People of the Boreal Forest Edukit

The People of the Boreal Forest Edukit developed by the Heritage Community Foundation. This Edukit is intended to provide a range of information and activities that highlight and promote an understanding of the People who live and work in the Boreal Forest region of Alberta.

In the Teacher Zone, you will find Boreal Forest-specific lesson plans dealing with the Forest, its People, and its Traditions.

The Student Zone contains photographs, audio and video samples, textual information, and various activities dealing with the topics above.

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