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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Governmental Law

Secret Societies

Visual representation of nature's laws

Page: 1  2  3

Abstract: One of the 10 categories of Nature's Laws developed by the Nature's Laws Project Team and defined as "Roles of Leadership; chiefs, Holy People, Family Heads; Ceremonialists; Secret Society leadership; Giftedness for specific roles (i.e., Chief to lead in a war; Chief to lead in migration)."

The concept of Nature’s Law stressed the notion of universality of nature—everything living had a place in the nature of the world and its purpose. Consequently, the very processes of nature were seen as having a set of rules in place which defined the scheme of things. According to this view, everything living, within the parameters of its own existence, could best perform if its activity took place in its rightful place. Self-government, thus, also had as an essential co-ordinate what we would call "space" or materiality. The laws that were identified clearly were not virtual—they were said to operate within the ecosystem in a real manner, even if what "real" meant might not correlate well with a Western standpoint.

Chief Problems
Interviewer - Earle Waugh, PhD.


Perhaps, it would be best to start with the basic formulae and code-making which was at the heart of First Nations' viewpoints. Self-government was based upon a world view and conception of the natural order. This was a distinctive way of looking at the world and its life—it was a kind of science, with the search for meaning and understanding at the heart of the enterprise. What might be said is that this model provides us with a handy, simplified Aboriginal "scientific" model. That model was of all life as part of a living organism. The notion of self-government, then, went to the heart of the concept of Nature’s Laws, because the rules of self-government were inherent in the very meaning of the organism’s activity.

The idea of self-government can be described as an expression of each form of life. It was part of the construction of living organism—an ecology of natural species in contemporary terms. For example, the plant grew within a select place in the ecosystem, in a place that best allowed its potential for growth. Its success as a plant required that it be intimately related to other forms of life, where its relationship to these forms provokes a system of mutual interaction and response.

The second element of this First Nations' model of "self-government" is the formation and contribution provided by the world of microorganisms, symbolized by the insect. As the plant performed, so the insect both contributed and sustained its place in the ecosystem according to set laws. The third element in this model was provided by the more physical, visual movement of the animal world. The final stage of this "governmental" model was provided by the nehiyew, whose contribution was not regarded as greater than the others, but rather was perceived as integral to the now complete ecosystem. The cycle is sealed by the intimate relationship between the human and all other forms, leading the model back to the foundation of them all—the plant world. This interpretive model of Aboriginal "science" was the foundation of Nature’s Laws, and provided a rule of thumb for understanding not only how the living world functioned but it explained the crucial interrelationship of the whole organism.

With this model in mind, then, it is easy to see how the Woodland Cree student of nature held his/her role to be one of search for knowledge—as Hobbema Cree ceremonialist Wayne Roan recently indicated, "The native Cree is the student of creation, survival, science, technology, law and the "government" of nature." This was the intellectual model which underlay the traditional nehiyew world view.

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