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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Empowering

Indigenous Peoples

Constitutional rights
and responsibilities

Social Reality

Rights of
Interpretation

Origin of
Interpretation

Exercised as a
People

Definition of People

Great Turtle Island

Relationships

Equality

Survival for
All Beings

Survival for
the People

Right to Exist

Implications

The Land

Spirit of the Land

Judicial and Fiscal Order

Empowering

Visual representation of nature's laws


Nature’s Laws empowers the person within the group, and never sets the Individual apart from the group.

Another constitutional difference is the differentiation made between people and the group. In Western law, the individual’s rights carry the heaviest weight in judgments. The opposite is true in Nature’s Laws. Indigenous groups always insisted that the survival of the People was more important than the values and aspirations of one person. Therefore they indicate that community life has to remain in balance regardless of what the individual wants:

The emphasis was on human worthiness – to be worth something to the tribe. This is an ancient tribal philosophy, and it's why our ancestors were so strong. They were strong in the community sense, and they stayed together as a wholistic society." Tribal government systems were based on self-rule through consensus, and "that meant everybody understood what was required of them. Of course there were no written laws. They were orally transmitted, and everybody had to learn them and abide by them. They weren't enforced, just practiced.

We were left a legacy, one our ancestors worked hard at and suffered to leave to us, so we can't default in teaching our children, especially language. Cultural values are built in, and there are Blackfoot terms that have no English equivalencies," Russell stressed. Many descriptives in Blackfoot assume the tribe is one family and, "That's why old people still speak in kinship terms, addressing young people as 'my daughter' or 'my son.'" Russell insists that cultural values can be re-introduced and applied to modem life. He would like to see children taught in a wholistic way in school and to be as cherished by the tribe as they once were.

When a child was born, it was traditional for the midwife to cut the umbilical cord and the child's aunt or older sister would clean and dry it. Then she made a hide pouch in the form of a turtle or some other animal, beaded it, and sewed the cord inside. The child wore it for the first five years of its life at special occasions when people gathered together. The pouch reminded people the child had many parents and everyone was responsible to help the child grow to become worthy to the tribe. That's wholistic living." (Blackfoot Elder and ceremonialist Russell Wright, Siksika, in Meili ,53-56)

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