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An Approach to Aboriginal Cultural Landscapes


Aboriginal cultural landscapes are a way of approaching Aboriginal history that both relates to the HSMBC mandate and focusses upon the complex relationship that Aboriginal people have with the land. They are not relicts, but living landscapes which encompass the cosmological, mythological, and spiritual worlds interwoven with their peoples' day to day activities of living from the land. The seasonal round of life on the land, practised over millennia, relies on the intimate connection of human and animal movements. Bequeathed through oral tradition from generation to generation, Aboriginal traditional knowledge embodies the relationship of the people to the land through narratives, place names, sacred sites, rituals, and behaviour patterns.

Aboriginal cultural landscapes examined to date have been seen primarily as associative cultural landscapes. Consideration of national significance must address the holistic relationship to the land of the people(s) long associated with it. Aboriginal people must have a core role in identifying places they value, in documenting them, and in defining their significance in the context of Aboriginal culture.

Atmospheric view of shoreline and river.
Mouth of the Saguenay River, Saguenay Marine Park, Quebec
© Parks Canada / M. Bouliane /, 1999.

Parks Canada invites you to comment on this approach to aboriginal cultural landscapes which is presently being considered by the Agency. If you have any questions or comments about this subject, please email us at:


Last Updated: 2008-10-17 To the top
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