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


Sun Dance

Vision Quest

Medicine People


Visual representation of nature's laws

"Animals as well as plants should be harvested with care; and here too, the practice may be accepted as a conservation measure pure and simple. 'So as to make more sheep for the next hunting' is the reason given by a Hopi for the custom of releasing one make and one female whenever mountain sheep were surrounded by a harvesting party. Restrain in harvesting animals is sometimes linked to strictly mundane concerns, as in the report that Cree men enjoy prestige and even political power by dint of careful hunting that avoids excess; or in a very old report which states that the Iroquois once made war against the Illinois and the Miami because these tribes were exterminating beavers, females as well as males" (Bierhorst 130).

The Protocol of the Hunt
Interviewer - Earle Waugh, PhD.


Fallowing "As is well known, the Cree and other eastern Algonkain groups work only a section of their hunting lands in a given year, permitting the fallowed portions to recover. According to some reports, each territory is divided into quarters, with hunting and trapping confined to just one quarter per year. As with other techniques, fallowing maybe enforced by supernatural powers. In the case of the Ojibwa of Parry Island, a community of southeastern Ontario, the people used to change their hunting grounds not for the sake of conservation itself but because the ‘shadows’ of the animals had grown wary and were keeping the game away" (Bierhorst 131-133).

"… the pursuit of game and fish by the [eastern] Cree and Ojibwa people … is governed by a time-honoured law which insists that wildlife must be treated with the utmost respect. Along with spelling out the ritual activities that should be performed before, during, and after pursuing game and fish in order to ensure ongoing success, this law, which has been handed down through countless generations via oral tradition and which still functions today, contains at least three subsidiary prohibitions. The first prohibits Cree and Ojibwa foragers from killing immature animals; the second prohibits them from killing mature female while they are rearing their young; and the third prohibits them from overkilling mature animals of either sex throughout the year, with overkilling understood to be killing beyond immediate needs. Save for taking animals for ceremonial purposes or to avoid starvation, these prohibitions have been in effect since what the Cree and Ojibwa say was the beginning of time" (Driben, Auger, Doob et al. 98)

"Rules of the hunt, recognized by all: All must move together. No one must take advantage to get at the game before the others can profit by it. If anyone stampedes the game he must be punished. The meat gotten during a hunt must be fairly and equally divided among all members of the party. The marshals must direct the approach and attack on the game. Everyone in a hunting party must obey the directions of the marshals. Rules of a war party, recognized by all: No one shall go on a warpath against friendly Indians. No one shall organize a war party without first getting the consent of the councillors. Anyone may organize a war party if he has the consent of the councillors. If a councillor is a member of a war party he shall direct the movements and acts of the party. If a marshal is a member of a war party he shall act the same as in camp. If anyone kills an enemy he shall have all the property the enemy has about his person. If a war party captures a camp all there is in the camp shall be divided fairly among the party. If the war party captures women they shall belong to the one who first lays hands on them. If the war party captures children they shall be given to any who shall be agreed upon. If a single warrior captures horses or women or children or dogs, they shall belong to him. The first one who strikes a dead enemy with something held in his hand is entitled to the scalp of that enemy. Every member of a war party is obliged to try to prevent the enemy from taking the scalp of any member of the party" (qtd. Walker 32).


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