Entries by pemmican

Traditional Medicinal Herbs and Flowers

Non-indigenous visitors and occupants of the “new world” believed that our ancestors relied on primitive remedies. We now know that many of the herbs used by Natives are very effective and have been instrumental in modern drug development. The north-central region of Turtle Island has long been a rich source of edible and medicinal plants […]

Notable Indigenous Women in History

As this month of celebration for the vital role of women in society comes to a close, I’m reminded to always honor the women in my life, both past and present. The everyday heroes that have given so much in order for us to survive and thrive! Moms and Grandmas especially! There are thousands of […]

Irish and Metis Connection

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Growing up as baptized Catholics, I remember dad telling us that we had “a bit of Irish in our blood”. Mom also encouraged us to be proud of our Indian heritage. With those things in mind, I’ve begun to explore the connections […]

Roles of Indigenous Women

Traditional gender roles of Indigenous people varied greatly by region and community. Most of the activities of Native women were considered men’s work by Europeans. Female members of a tribe (or clan) cultivated the crops from planting to harvesting, along with collecting herbs, roots, nuts, berries and other foodstuffs. They gathered wood, managed their homes […]

Rugaru and Wendigo Folklore

The Native people of Turtle Island have many spiritual beliefs and traditions. Some of these are similar in nature to Christianity. Both cultures have used story-telling to inspire fear and obedience. Stories of the creature known as a “Rugaru” were told most often during the Christian season of Lent. These stories are as diverse as […]

Language and Communications

There’s been a common misconception that Indigenous people all spoke the same language. A widely known fact is that the Navajo “Code Talkers” made an impact during WW1. But did you know that Choctaw, Cherokee and Comanche languages contributed to the “code” as well? Just as there are different Spanish or German dialects, the same […]

Bison or Buffalo?

What should we call the national mammal of the United States – bison or buffalo? Actually, the two are distinctly different. “Bison” is the scientific name for the animals that live in North America and Europe. Distantly related are “true” buffalo (Cape and water buffalo), native to Africa and Asia. It’s likely that the term […]

African-Native Americans

Until recently, the topic of historic relations between Native Americans and African Americans has been somewhat neglected. The lives and experiences of people who share African American and Native American ancestry contain stories that have been invisible for ages. Some reports indicate that, after 1492, large numbers of Natives were being shipped to Europe as […]