The Tłįcho Cosmology Project

The purpose of the Tłįcho Cosmology Project is to "map" the shared experiences of the TłįchoPeople, initiate discussion about what it means, and seek to apply this knowledge to modern organizations such as the Tłįcho Government and the Tłįcho Community Services Agency.

Cosmology Project - Stages of Development

Tłįcho Cosmology is a people's traditional understanding of how they came to be, their relationship to the earth, and how they develop as a people. It emerges out of the life experiences of a people and is the framework for the development of their cultures. These understanding are embedded in stories, legends, and myths.

In his presentation on Tłįcho Cosmology, John B. Zoe discusses the stages of development of the Tłįcho people. He then explains the new relationships that are created during the particular periods and tells the cosmological stories that illustrate the relationships.

Cosmology meeting in Wekweetì, NT February 2005

For example, the first stage, Floating Time, was a time of creation and the first relationships between people and nature. Humans and animals lived together, could speak to one another, could often change shapes and become either human or animal. The stories that flow from this period describe the people’s understanding of their relationship with the land and its animals. See these stories:

Culture flows from the cosmology. It translates the cosmology into values and practices for everyday living. Culture includes stories, legends , rituals, celebrations and practices, taboos, songs, drum dances, child rearing practices, hunting practices, roles and responsibilities, expectations of leaders, forms of punishment, teaching methods, how to relate to outsiders—every aspect of how to live one’s life.

Cosmology meeting in Yellowknife, NT April 2006

In 2007-2008 the Tłįcho Community Services Agency will focus its cosmology work on the child and family services programs of the Agency.