Tradition

By Anna Hoefnagels

When discussing Indigenous traditions and traditional practices it is important to consider that “tradition” itself is an evolving concept. It is commonly assumed that the traditional practices and beliefs of a group of people are unchanging over time. However, all traditions change in response to external influences and internal changes in the purpose or function of a cultural activity, or the accepted meanings of traditional practices. In many cases, practices that have come to be traditional to a particular group of people have roots or associations in other Nations’ expressions. They might also have been created due to the needs of the community or in response to a vision or dream. As such it is important to recognize that, like culture, tradition is dynamic and is adapted and renewed to reflect or to accommodate peoples’ situations, needs and interests. Furthermore, central to the redefinition and re-creation of traditions is the ongoing adaptation and renewal that cultural practices undergo as a result of changes within a community and the influences from others.

This project was made possible with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through Canadian Culture Online
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