• General Outcome: Students will demonstrate an understanding of aspects of Aboriginal spirituality and worldviews.

    Aboriginal Studies 10 (Senior High) (2002) ©Alberta Learning, Alberta, Canada

    Related Concepts: values, spirituality, worldviews, harmony, unity, oral tradition, cycle of life, ceremonies, religions, animate, inanimate.

    Definition: Worldview

    1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. 
    2. collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual, group or society. Every person, group and society has a worldview. 
    3. Worldviews evolve as people and societies interact and evolve.

    The First Nations World View

    People from different cultures have different ways of seeing, explaining and living within the world.  They have different ideas about what things are most important, which behaviors are desirable or unacceptable, and how all parts of the world relate to each other.  Together, these opinions and beliefs form a worldview, the perspective from which people perceive, understand and respond to the world around them.

    People from the same culture tend to have similar worldviews.  A culture’s worldview evolves from its history, which is the collective experience of the people within the culture over all the years of its existence.  It also includes their beliefs about origin and spiritualism. 

    The traditional worldview of First Nations and Inuit peoples in Canada differs from the worldviews of people with a non-Aboriginal ancestry.  You might compare a First Nations or Inuit worldview to a Euro-Canadian worldview by drawing a circle and a line. The circular First Nations worldview focuses on connections between all things, including the visible physical world and the invisible spiritual world.  It sees time as always a cycle of renewal that links past and present and future.  In contrast, a linear Euro-Canadian worldview lays out separations between elements of existence (spiritual and material, life and death, animal and human, living and non-living) and sees time as a progression from point to point.(Aboriginal Perspectives 2004, 66-67)

    *It is important to remember that this section provides a 'snapshot' of the concept of worldview.

    **Caution: In your research on worldviews, it will be imperative that you understand that worldviews are not absolutes. You will read about 'Western' vs 'Aboriginal' worldviews and authors will speak as if Aboriginal People perceive and relate to the world in one specific way and that the Western Worldview perceives and relates to the world in another specific way. This is a very broad generalization and one that would make an interesting debate! There are as many different worldviews as there are people and cultures.

Origin and Settlement Patterns (Theme 1)Political & Economic Organization (Theme 3)