First Nations

The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas who have occupied parts of the Western Hemisphere since before the arrival of European settlers in the 15th century.

Indigenous cultures vary by language, culture, social practices, and geography. Some Indigenous peoples in the Americas have historically been hunter-gatherers, while others traditionally practice agriculture and aquaculture. Some Indigenous peoples still live as hunter-gatherers in the Amazon basin in present-day South America. At the same time, those in other regions may maintain their traditional lifestyles to a lesser extent.

Some Indigenous peoples have traditionally depended heavily on agriculture, and others on a mix of farming, hunting, and gathering. Indigenous peoples have created pre-contact monumental architecture in some regions, large-scale organized cities, city-states, chiefdoms, states, kingdoms, republics, confederacies, and empires. These societies have had varying degrees of knowledge of engineering, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, writing, physics, medicine, planting and irrigation, geology, mining, metallurgy, sculpture, and gold smithing.

Indigenous peoples still populate many parts of the Americas; some countries have sizeable populations, especially Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. At least a thousand different Indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas, where there are also 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States alone. Several of these languages are recognized as official by governments, such as those in Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay and Greenland. Some, such as Quechua, Arawak, Aymara, Guaraní, Mayan, and Nahuatl, count their speakers in the millions. Whether contemporary Indigenous people live in rural or urban communities, many also maintain additional aspects of their cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization, and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, cultures specific to many Indigenous peoples have evolved over time, preserving traditional customs and adjusting to meet modern needs. Some Indigenous peoples live in relative isolation from Western culture, and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples.

In Native American and First Nations cultures, a dreamcatcher (Ojibwe: asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word for 'spider') is a handmade willow hoop, on which is woven a net or web. It may also be decorated with sacred items such as certain feathers or beads. Traditionally, dreamcatchers are hung over a cradle or bed as protection. It originates in Anishinaabe culture as "the spider web charm", asubakacin 'net-like' (White Earth Nation); bwaajige ngwaagan 'dream snare' (Curve Lake First Nation), a hoop with woven string or sinew meant to replicate a spider's web, used as a protective charm for infants.

Dream catchers were adopted in the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s and gained popularity as widely marketed "Native crafts items" in the 1980s.

Ojibwe origin

Ethnographer Frances Densmore 1929 recorded an Ojibwe legend according to which the "spiderwebs" protective charms originate with Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi, who takes care of the children and the people on the land. As the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America, it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children. So, the mothers and grandmothers weave webs for the children, using willow hoops and sinew or cordage made from plants. The purpose of these charms is apotropaic and not explicitly connected with dreams:

Even infants were provided with protective charms. Examples are the "spiderwebs" hung on the hoop of a cradleboard. In old times, this netting was made of nettle fibre. Two spider webs were usually hung on the hoop, and it was said that they "caught any harm that might be in the air as a spider's web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it."

Basil Johnston, an elder from Neyaashiinigmiing, in his Ojibway Heritage (1976) gives the story of Spider (Ojibwe: asabikeshiinh, "little net maker") as a trickster figure catching Snake in his web.

Canada Indigenous peoples

Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, the last of mixed descent. They originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations people married European settlers and developed their identity.

The first inhabitants of North America are generally hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago. The Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of Canada's oldest sites of human habitation. The characteristics of Indigenous societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks. Some of these cultures collapsed when European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.

The Indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million, with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada's Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Due to European colonization, the Indigenous population declined by forty to eighty percent, and several First Nations, such as the Beothuk, disappeared. The decline is attributed to several causes, including the transfer of European diseases, such as influenza, measles, and smallpox, to which they had no natural immunity, conflicts over the fur trade, conflicts with the colonial authorities and settlers, and the loss of Indigenous lands to settlers and the subsequent collapse of several nations' self-sufficiency.

Although not without conflict, European Canadians' early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful. First Nations and Métis peoples played a critical part in developing European colonies in Canada, particularly in assisting European coureurs des bois and voyageurs in their explorations of the continent during the North American fur trade. These early European interactions with First Nations would change from friendship and peace treaties to the dispossession of Indigenous lands through treaties. From the late 18th century, European Canadians forced Indigenous peoples to assimilate into Western Canadian society. These attempts climaxed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with forced integration, healthcare segregation, and displacement. A period of redress is underway, which started with the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by the Government of Canada in 2008. This includes recognizing past colonial injustices and settlement agreements and improving racial discrimination issues, such as addressing the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literature, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 

Eric Michel Official Languages for Canada


Languages Natives Americans

It is believed that the first European to explore the east coast of Canada was Norse explorer Leif Erikson. In approximately 1000 AD, the Norse built a small, short-lived encampment occupied sporadically for perhaps 20 years at L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland. No further European exploration occurred until 1497 when Italian seafarer John Cabot explored and claimed Canada's Atlantic coast in the name of King Henry VII of England. In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the Gulf of Saint Lawrence where, on July 24, he planted a 10-metre (33 ft) cross bearing the words, "Long live the King of France," and took possession of the territory of New France in the name of King Francis I. The early 16th century saw European mariners with navigational techniques pioneered by the Basque and Portuguese establish seasonal whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast. Early settlements during the Age of Discovery appear to have been short-lived due to a combination of the harsh climate, problems with navigating trade routes and competing outputs in Scandinavia.

In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, by the royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I, founded St John's, Newfoundland, as the first North American English seasonal camp. In 1600, the French established their first seasonal trading post at Tadoussac along the Saint Lawrence. French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1603 and established the first permanent year-round European settlements at Port Royal (in 1605) and Quebec City (in 1608). Among the colonists of New France, Canadiens extensively settled the Saint Lawrence River valley, and Acadians settled the present-day Maritimes. At the same time, fur traders and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Mississippi watershed to Louisiana. The Beaver Wars broke out in the mid-17th century over North American fur trade control.

The English established additional settlements in Newfoundland in 1610 and settlements in the Thirteen Colonies to the south. Four wars erupted in colonial North America between 1689 and 1763; the later wars of the period constituted the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War. Mainland Nova Scotia came under British rule with the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht and Canada and most of New France came under British rule in 1763 after the Seven Years' War.

Algonquian language map with states and provinces

Indigenous peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. Although Indian is a term still commonly used in legal documents, the descriptors Indian and Eskimo have fallen into disuse in Canada, and many consider them pejorative. Aboriginal peoples as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act, 1982. However, in most Indigenous circles, Aboriginal has also fallen into disfavour.

Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are some of Canada's earliest known sites of human habitation. The Paleo-Indian Clovis, Plano, and Pre-Dorset cultures pre-date the current Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Projectile point tools, spears, pottery, bangles, chisels, and scrapers mark archaeological sites, thus distinguishing cultural periods, traditions, and lithic reduction styles.

The characteristics of Indigenous culture in Canada include a long history of permanent settlements, agriculture, civic and ceremonial architecture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks. Métis of mixed ancestry originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European fur traders, primarily the French. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period.  Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European immigrants and First Nations across Canada. Today, it is commonly perceived that Aboriginal peoples in Canada have the right to self-government to provide an opportunity to manage historical, cultural, political, health care and economic control within First Nation's communities. However, some Canadian legislation may contradict this; for example, the Indian Act states 35,

As of the 2021 census, the Indigenous population totalled 1,807,250 people, or 5.0% of the national population, with 1,048,405 First Nations people, 624,220 Métis, and 70,540 Inuit. 7.7% of the population under 14 are of Indigenous descent. There are over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands with distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music.  National Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes Indigenous peoples' cultures and contributions to Canada's history.  First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples of all backgrounds have become prominent figures and have served as role models in the Indigenous community and help to shape the Canadian cultural identity.


Native Americans in the United States

Native Americans, sometimes called First Americans or Indigenous Americans, are the Indigenous peoples of the United States or portions thereof, such as American Indians from the contiguous United States and Alaska Natives. The United States Census Bureau defines Native Americans as "all people indigenous to the United States and its territories, including Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, whose data are published separately from American Indians and Alaska Natives." The US census tracks data from American Indians and Alaska Natives separately from Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, who include Samoan Americans and Chamorros.

The European colonization of the Americas that began in 1492 resulted in a steep decline in the Native American population because of newly introduced diseases (including weaponized diseases and biological warfare by European colonizers), wars, ethnic cleansing, and enslavement. After its formation, the United States, as part of its policy of settler colonialism, continued to wage war and perpetrate massacres against many Native American peoples, removed them from their ancestral lands, and subjected them to one-sided treaties and discriminatory government policies. These later focused on forced assimilation into the 20th century.

There are 573 federally recognized tribal governments and 326 Indian reservations in the United States. These tribes possess the right to form their own governments, enforce laws (both civil and criminal) within their lands, tax, establish membership requirements, license and regulate activities, zone, and exclude persons from tribal territories. Limitations on tribal powers of self-government include the same limitations applicable to states; for example, neither tribes nor states have the power to make war, engage in foreign relations, or coin money (this includes paper currency). In addition, several tribes are recognized by individual states but not by the federal government. The rights and benefits associated with state recognition vary from state to state. 


Second Ordination or Co-Ordination

Rev. Eric Michel and Rev. Marie Yvonne were ordained a second time by the Rev. Doc. Bobby Crow Feather, assisted by Rev. Christopher M. Evans at 30567 E 46Th Street, Broken Arrow in the County of Tulsa, Oklahoma 74014, on the 1st day of August 2012. Notary Seal of Leigh A. Vazquez.

From our 2006 Blog

Karyn's pictures from Eric Michel friends on Yahoo