doodem: Clan, or clan symbol, and, as Basil Johnston points out, “that from which I draw my purpose, meaning, and being.” (Basil Johnston, Ojibway Heritage: The Ceremonies, Rituals, Songs, Dances, Prayers, and Legends of the Ojibway. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976, 61.) Clans added another level to kinship systems and leadership responsibilities across Indigenous nations, but as with chiefs, “clan” is an English term that collapsed the complexity of these systems across the various cultures of North America.
epistemologies: The study of what we can know, and how we can know it—more specifically, the nature, validity, and scope of knowledge and accepted belief of a society, including what constitutes perception, reason, testimony, justification, and skepticism.
ethnohistory: The cross-disciplinary study of history that incorporates the findings and methodologies of such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, folklore, oral history, and linguistics so that decisions made in the past can be understood within their cultural context.
Inuit: Indigenous Peoples inhabiting the Arctic and Subarctic regions of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. In Canada, Inuit are classified in sections 25 and 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act as a distinct group of Indigenous people who are not considered First Nations or Métis and over whom the Indian Act has never been applied even though Canada did include them in residential school policies and other programs.
ontology: In metaphysical philosophy, the branch that studies questions of being and existence, reality, and how beings and things are grouped into basic categories. Some might summarize this as worldview.
trickster-transformer: A common character in the tales of many Indigenous cultures, such as Old Man Coyote in Siksika tradition, who tricks others into doing his bidding, for his benefit and to the detriment of the one who has been tricked, and who also, as with Raven in the Haida tradition, is sometimes responsible for the transformation/creation of the natural world. Often, by breaking social norms or upsetting the balance of the natural world, the trickster tale reaffirms the values of the group and the need for community as well as consequences for poor behaviour. However, some scholars suggest that the term “trickster” itself is colonial language that can be interpreted as pejorative in nature, deriving from an anthropological drive for taxonomies rather than allowing us to experience all of these traditions as unique and distinct.
Indigenous Knowledge: Knowledge derived from Indigenous traditions, such as living on the land in a communal sharing context within nature, and expressed through Indigenous languages.