Aboriginal Peoples of Canada
Contrary to the belief of Europeans, that the "state of nature" can and should be improved through the labour of man, "Aboriginals view the natural world as perfect."
In the variety of Aboriginal cultural traditions in Canada today commonalities can be found even though these commonalities are most often manifest in varying environmental or behaviourial contexts. It is not that there is only one Aboriginal culture that is generally applicable to all of Canada's Aboriginal people or that Aboriginal culture can be understood as a form of Pan-Indianism making all Aboriginal people in Canada behave in the same fashion. It is actually quite the opposite.
The cultural traditions of the various Aboriginal peoples in Canada are very different one from the other. In order to understand and appreciate the various cultural traditions practised by the Aboriginal peoples in Canada today a brief look must be taken at the path these cultures have had to follow since coming into contact with the many influences presented to them by Europeans as European migration progressed across the lands of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Aboriginal people are often told by the Elders that we cannot know where we are today or where we are going unless we know where we have come from.
Earlier cultural traditions of Aboriginal people can be seen by looking at what the first meetings between Aboriginal people and Europeans were like. This can be done by reading the descriptions left to us by European people who experienced these interactions first hand.
For example, in his Letter to the Sovereigns (in 1492),
which was promptly printed at Barcelona and widely distributed throughout Europe in a
Latin translation, [Christopher] Columbus stresses the gentleness and generosity of the
Aboriginal people never close the door upon a Stranger,
and, once having received him into their houses, they share with him the best they have;
they never send him away, and when he goes away of his own accord, he repays them by a
simple "thank you."