Heritage Site / Ethnography Site / Nakawé / Family Life

Article: Traditional Principles

In the Saulteaux culture, kinship was highly emphasised. The kinship term prescribes how the user interacts with the person he/she is addressing by that term. Elders were referred to as Grandfather or Grandmother even if they were not blood relatives; not to do so was a demonstration of disrespect. To be a good relative was the ultimate aim for all Saulteaux people. Property, social ambition, glory were believed to be secondary to being a good relative, one had to obey the rules of kinship; be responsible toward all; and work toward the good of all people. The word family cannot be translated into the Saulteaux language, the word that is used means a place of residence, (ayáwin). When this word is used it also means a place where a group of people live, meaning family, immediate or extended. Each individual has an obligation to respect all people, all living things. It is important to respect the Elders for their wisdom and knowledge, but it is equally important to respect the young people because they are the future of the Saulteaux.