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Traditional Stories and Creation Stories

Gallery 1: Early Canada ⟶ Origins ⟶ The First Peoples

First Peoples remember their origins through oral histories passed down by elders in each generation.

These narratives describe the creation of the world and how First Peoples came to live in it. More than legends, they embody a view of how the world fits together, and how human beings should behave in it.

Some oral histories refer to a time before human occupation. Others mark significant geographical, spiritual and life events that have occurred over the millennia.

Listen to traditional stories and creation stories told by six Indigenous storytellers from communities across Canada. Each recording is available in the respective Indigenous language and in English, and French transcripts are available.

Haida – The Creation of Haida Gwaii
GwaaGanad (Diane Brown), Haida HlGaagilda Llnagaay (Skidegate Village), Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

  • Haida
  • English

Transcript (PDF): English

Gwi’chin – When Fish Were Men
Joanne Snowshoe, Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories

  • Gwich’in
  • English

Transcript (PDF): English

Piikani – The Story of Napi
Wilfred Yellow Wings, Fort Macleod, Alberta

  • Piikani
  • English

Transcript (PDF): English

Anishinabe (Algonquin) – The Otter
Joan Tenasco, Kitigan Zibi, Quebec

  • Anishinabe
  • English

Transcript (PDF): English

Inuit – The Story of Nuliajuk
Peter Irniq, Naujaat, Nunavut

  • Inuit
  • English

Transcript (PDF): English

Mi’kmaq – Mi’kmaq Creation Story
Stephen Augustine, Elsipogtog (Big Cove), New Brunswick

  • Mi’kmaq
  • English

Transcript (PDF): English

A Vital Presence

First Peoples are not the “first immigrants.” They are the original peoples, and the fastest-growing population in this land. Over 1 million Indigenous people live in more than 600 villages, towns and cities across the country. They speak more than 50 different Indigenous languages, some as different from one another as English is from Mandarin.