Introduction: between cultures and natures


  • Marie Roué


How can indigenous peoples react to a situation of change that has a particularly strong effect on their youth? This article attempts to understand whether young Crees, who today find themselves all too often in a situation of double social exclusion, can complete their schooling, thus qualifying for work in the dominant society, while at the same time gaining command of the knowledge and know-how of their own society. Among the James Bay Cree Indians, some elders welcome youngsters after a period of delinquency and who are having problems into their hunting camps, and by initiating them to life “on the land” succeed in restoring their relationship with the world. This exemplary experience makes it possible to imagine solutions for helping indigenous youth fully to benefit from the two worlds in which they have roots. The elders, by inventing a healing process based on an initiation to the natural and cultural environment, offer a modern-day shamanism.