The Cosmology of Nature: Cultural Divergence and the Metaphysics of Community Healing
The paper identifies how intercultural cognitive barriers underlie the failure of Canadian public agencies to adequate cope with the serious social problems faced by formerly nomadic northern Aboriginal peoples. It is commonly accepted in the field of anthropology that there are barriers to intercultural understanding, demonstrated as an inability or unwillingness of people from different backgrounds to find common ways of thinking about issues. The hegemonic tendencies of the dominant groups in Canada and their inability to take into consideration the metaphysical systems of subordinate groups has resulted in a dysfunctional system of co-existence with Aboriginal peoples, forced to adhere to values and lifestyles imposed on them. The failure of such attempts, demonstrated by the social problems faced by the East Cree and Innu of Quebec and Labrador, and the failure of western traditions to deal with them has generated the “healing movement”. Among the East Cree of Quebec, the movement uses collective ceremonies based on Aboriginal traditions to combat alcohol, suicide, family violence and drug abuse. Among the movement’s activities are ceremonial gatherings that last several days, reformulating and publicly presenting key symbolic features of traditional life, knowledge, beliefs and practices. This study presents the development of the movement, its main elements and demonstrates its relevance for the successful incorporation of new realities into the traditional Aboriginal perspective.
01 Jan 1996
31 Dec 2002
Strategic Research Theme
Arctic and Northern Regions