By Robert Alexander Innes
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Extra resources for Elder Brother and the Law of the People: Contemporary Kinship and Cowessess First Nation
Theresa S. Smith provides examples from a series of Thunderbird stories to illustrate the importance atiso’kanak played in Ojibwe society. indd 34 13-10-16 5:03 PM Elder Brother as Cultural Hero 35 environment and to humans. 46 Whether Ojibwe atiso’kanak or Cree âtahôhkanak, the stories of these spirit beings were central to their societies. ”47 The same is true for the Ojibwe. The similarities between Ojibwe and Cree stories are relevant to the Cowessess situation, as the principles found in both people’s stories are evident in âtayôhkêwina collected by Alanson Skinner when he visited Cowessess in the early twentieth century.
Radin continues, “He wills nothing consciously. At all times he is constrained to behave as he does from impulses over which he has no control. He knows neither good nor evil, yet he is responsible for both. 9 A significant aspect of tricksters is humour, as Radin explains: “Laughter, humour and irony permeate everything Trickster does. ”10 Radin’s work has had a lasting impact on trickster analysis. Though Radin’s descriptions of tricksters are echoed in other writers’ descriptions, his observations hint that he may not fully comprehend Aboriginal world views.
What becomes apparent from these authors is that, in order to come to grips with Aboriginal cultural understandings, it is crucial to become familiar with certain central Aboriginal cultural concepts. As most of these recent authors show, maintaining kinship roles and responsibilities is an important cultural concept for Aboriginal people. This chapter explores the connection between Aboriginal peoples’ beliefs, insights, concepts, ideals, values, attitudes, and codes found in traditional stories and expressed in their cultural kinship practices.