5 Captivating Facts about Indigenous Communities

5 Captivating Facts about Indigenous Communities

The United Nations has rightly seen it fit to designate a day to celebrate indigenous cultures around the world. Whereas most memorial days focus on the losses these communities endured, World Indigenous Peoples Day is a day of celebration. It is meant to highlight the amazing culture of these communities and spread awareness of the impact they have had and continue to have on the world!

In an effort to celebrate indigenous communities in BC. Here are five surprising/ interesting facts about our indigenous communities you might not have known:

Are you an avid Kayaker? Do you love to Snowshoe? Well, you have the Inuit people to thank for the invention of both of these. Snow Shoes were built to traverse in deep snow and were made of caribou antlers and bone, kayaks on the other hand were made out of any available material including wood and animal skin and bones! Both of these are incredibly sophisticated technologies and remain so to this day.

While each First Nation has its own creation story; there is a tale told by the Iroquois People of the first woman’s birth. In one version of this tale, there was an island floating in the sky on which all the Sky People lived. One Sky Person -the Sky Woman – was pregnant and craved different foods. There was a great tree in the middle of the island that grew many different fruits, all of which the Sky People were not allowed to eat. Her pregnancy cravings got the better of her, however, and Sky Woman asked her husband, Great Spirit, to get a piece of bark from the roots of the tree. The story goes that while her husband was grabbing the bark he accidentally dug a hole through the floor of Sky World. This frightened the poor spirit who then ran away hurriedly – leaving the bark. Sky Woman, overcome by her cravings, went herself to fetch the bark and fell through the hole and into the void. The animals that lived in the void banded together to help her and she took refuge on the back of a turtle, from where other animals brought her things like soil and seeds to plant on the turtle’s back for food. It was on this turtle’s back that she had her daughter Tekawerahkwa – the first human.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONNECTIVITY In many Indigenous Spirituality, connectivity is very important and circles are sacred. Circles represent many facets of life and nature including death, the sun, the moon, and the cycles of the season. As one Native leader put it beautifully
“Love settles within the circle, embracing it and thereby lasting forever, turning within itself.”
—Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux

Do you enjoy a good hockey game? Well, it is widely believed that Indigenous people invented the sport. It was reported in a Jesuit priest’s journal that the Mohawks would play with sticks and a piece of frozen ice coated with mud and stones. The priest reports that when one player was hit with the “puck” he would yes “Aukie!” meaning “Ouch!”, does any of this sound familiar?

When was the last time you did a rideshare? Maybe your last trip out of town? An interesting fact to know is that the original rideshare service in Canada started at the mouth of Humber River, where Indigenous people would leave canoes for anyone traveling upriver to use. The ones coming down the river would then leave their canoes and so it continued! Talk about a cool way to catch a ride.

It’s always great to learn more about cultures that you might not have known. As we strive to make the Central Okanagan an inclusive place that accepts and appreciates all cultures – take today to share these facts and any other facts you might know about the Indigenous Communities amazing First Nation community members!
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