The vast territory of Turtle Island is home to many different Native peoples. While Aboriginal kids these days listen to Kid Frost and play video games whether they live in Iqaluit, Montreal, or Vancouver, in the past we all lived quite differently depending on where we were from. Some peoples lived in traveling communities which practiced hunting and gathering, others lived in villages and practiced farming, still other did both. No matter how we lived, Aboriginal peoples developed ways and means to survive in harsh climates for thousands of years. We solved problems related to transport, shelter, health, communications and other things in unique and innovative ways. At the Native Access to Engineering Program we like to refer to these innovations as Ancestral Engineering.

This knowledge was passed from person to person from generation to generation without any mass media such as TV, radio, books or the Internet. Traditional skills not only helped our ancestors survive and thrive, it helped the Europeans who arrived on our shores. Native peoples shared wisdom with European settlers which ensured their health, shelter and transport in lands foreign to them. Aboriginal techniques helped early settlers enormously in their survival, and facilitated the occupation of the Americas.

The traditional knowledge and skills of our ancestors is still alive today. Let us take a look at some of these things which Native peoples have been making for generations by simply clicking on an area of Turtle Island. Some of these things you might have seen before.

Arctic Northwest Coast California Southwest Eastern Woodland Great Basin & Plateau Plains Sub-Arctic