Religion and Spirituality

September 8, 2021

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.

There is no definitive and overarching Indigenous religion. Spiritual beliefs vary widely, as do the cultural practices of contemporary Indigenous peoples in Canada. However, there are commonalities among Indigenous spiritual traditions, including the presence of creation stories, the role of tricksters or of supernatural beings in folklore and the importance of sacred organizations. Additionally, traditional ways of life are often intermingled with religion and spirituality. Activities such as hunting, clan membership and other aspects of daily life may often be imbued with spiritual meaning.

As another point, it should be recognized that popular narratives of Canadian history have most frequently been told from the perspective of European settlers. As a result, Indigenous experiences have often been neglected or excluded from the telling of our country’s history. Besides, for a more comprehensive understanding of Canada’s history, it is important to examine it from Indigenous perspectives.1

  1. 2021. Religion and Spirituality of Indigenous Peoples in Canada | The Canadian Encyclopedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 February 2021].