Governance and Society in Mi’kmaq Creation Story Essay (Article)

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

The element of governance is traceable in the Mi’kmaq’s creation story. The story is a folklore passed down to generations and explains how the Mi’kmaq people lived in North America. The story is full of religious undertones especially about the Great Spirit who is the creator of nature and all living things. The survival of the story for many generations can be attributed to strong governance skills of the community leaders. The responsibility of ensuring that the creation story survived over the years was given to the elders. Historians allege that Mi’kmaq elders were wise and knowledgeable about issues of life and the environment.

The ingenuity of the elders and respect of the societal culture is a critical governance issue. Importantly, governance of the Mi’kmaq people was based on cultural practices especially in the belief of the number seven. The numeric figure offers guidance on matters of territorial integrity, medicine, leadership representation, authority and religion. The governing figure in the story is Gisoolg who is the Great Spirit and creator. The creator is above all living and non-ling things. Other authoritative figures in the story include Nisgam who is the sun and represents life. Ootsitgamoo and Glooscap represents earth and man respectively. The creator disseminates authority to man and other human characters within the story.

Mi’kmaqs are known to abide to a code of social rules. In this context, the authoritative structure and levels of creation have predetermined social and individual responsibilities. For example, total respect to the creator, the sun and mother earth is a religious obligation. The first man or the elder is the ultimate leader of the society, followed by grandmother, nephew and mother. Each member has specific responsibilities to the community.

However, the most prolific rules are those based on the number seven concept. In this context, the land is divided into seven districts. In addition, spiritual medicine is produced from seven barks and roots under special guidance from the elders and medicine-men. Each district must produce a man to represent the territory in the Grand Council District.

In the council, various ceremonies are conducted by the seven representatives. The ceremonies must be conducted in a sweat-lodge where seven men smoke pipe and burn grass. According to the Mi’kmaq traditions, the seven men are required to pour purified water over some chosen rocks. Moreover, this is done separately on seven, fourteen and twenty-one rocks. The idea of pouring water is to produce hot steam for the sweat-lodge. From this practices, purification rituals such as symbolic rebirth are conducted inside the sweat-lodge as a way of giving thanks to the creator and other authoritative figures within the seven levels of creation.

The teachings of the Mi’kmaq creation story are intriguing. It is critical that mankind understands the genesis of existence from a traditional perspective. The survival of cultural beliefs especially on humanity is a great achievement that requires strong governing institutions in the community. From the example of the Mi’kmaq, history can be preserved for eternity. From the Mi’kmaq creation story, one learns the significance of structured governance levels in the society.

The organization of the society is vital to cohesion and survival of the community and respective traditional practices. Moreover, respecting social rules and norms is the foundation of a stable society that preserves nature and humanity.

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