First Nation, Métis and Inuit religions in Canada vary widely and consist of complex social and cultural customs for addressing the sacred and the supernatural. The influence of Christianity — through settlers, missionaries and government policy — significantly altered life for Indigenous peoples. In some communities, this resulted in hybridized religious practices; while in others, European religion replaced traditional spiritual practices entirely. Though historically suppressed by colonial administrators and missionaries, especially from the late 19th- to mid-20th centuries, many contemporary Indigenous communities have revived, or continue to practice, traditional spirituality.
A windigo is a supernatural being belonging to the spiritual traditions of Algonquian-speaking First Nations in North America. Windigos are described as powerful monsters that have a desire to kill and eat their victims. In most legends, humans transform into windigos because of their greed or weakness. Various Indigenous traditions consider windigos dangerous because of their thirst for blood and their ability to infect otherwise healthy people or communities with evil. Windigo legends are essentially cautionary tales about isolation and selfishness, and the importance of community.
The Indigenous people of the Northwest Coast had numerous origin myths which explained, for example, how daylight began or why summer and winter alternate. The principal character in many of these myths is a powerful trickster, Raven, who is known to different First Nations under various names.
Ralph Garvin Steinhauer, OC, lieutenant-governor of Alberta, Indigenous leader, farmer (born 8 June 1905 in Morley, North-West Territories [now AB]; died 19 September 1987 in Edmonton, AB). The first Indigenous person to serve as lieutenant-governor of a Canadian province, he was committed to Indigenous affairs in Alberta and Canada.
Midewiwin, or Grand Medicine Society, is a spiritual society found historically among the Algonquian of the Upper Great Lakes (Anishinaabe), northern prairies and eastern subarctic. Once widespread, the Midewiwin became less prevalent after the arrival of Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the largest Midewiwin societies are found in parts of Ontario, Manitoba, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The term medicine wheel is not an Aboriginal term, but was initially used around the turn of the century by Americans of European ancestry in reference to the Bighorn Medicine Wheel located near Sheridan, Wyoming. Later archaeological research on the Plains Aboriginal people identified other features characterized by a variety of stone circle, cairn and spoke configurations. Because of general similarities to the Bighorn Wheel, the term medicine wheel was extended to describe them as well.
Kateri Tekakwitha or Tekaouïta (baptised Catherine), known as the Lily of the Mohawks, first North American Aboriginal person elevated to sainthood (born in 1656 at Ossernenon in Iroquois country, now Auriesville, NY; died 17 April 1680 at the St. Francis Xavier Mission at Sault St. Louis, New France, now Kahnawake).