Important Aboriginal Unit Vocabulary Be sure to understand what they mean!
Animism: the attribution of a living soul to plants, animals, inanimate objects and natural phenomena
Ancestors: Supernatural beings who emerged and roamed the earth during the time of the DREAMING (*creation), giving shape to the landscape and creating various forms of life.
Assimilation: To absorb one group into another one. No longer being unique.
Elder: A person, male or female, venerated (respected/honoured) for their age and wisdom.
Faithkeeper: A member of a nation selected to maintain the traditional ceremonies and rituals.
First Nations: An Aboriginal Band, or a community functioning as a band, but not having band status: the term First Nations does not include Inuit or Metis.
Indigenous: Origination naturally in a region, belonging naturally to an environment (of people) born in a region.
Oracy: The ability to express oneself fluently in speech and to understand a spoken language.
Potlatch Ceremony: A gift-giving ceremony that West Coast Aboriginal peoples celebrate to mark significant events. Banned in 1884.
Pow Wow: A gathering of Aboriginal people with ritual dances, drumming, chanting, costumes etc.
Reincarnation: The belief in the rebirth of the soul in a new body or form.
Smudging Ceremony: A purification ritual that includes the burning of sweet grass and drawing smoke ritually over the body
Totem: A natural entity that symbolically represents an individual or group and that has special significance for the religious life of that individual or group.
Vision Quest: The process of purifying and fasting in order to be sensitive to a vision or voices that might guide a person; sacred ceremony.