Political & Economic Organizations - Additional Reading

Traditional Social Organization

Roles and Responsibilties

Traditional First Nations communities had greater social equality than European societies at the time, although individual First Nations varied in the degree of equality.

All groups had institutions to ensure that resources were shared fairly.  For example, food was distributed equally regardless of who killed the game.  Trade and gift-giving were common and everyone had obligations to support and help each other.


No person had noticeably more than anyone else and if they did, it was given away.  Feelings of envy and greed were reduced and there was little incentive to acquire more material wealth than could be used or given to others. Groups encouraged sharing and the most generous individuals were admired.

Men were generally hunters, scouts, and defenders.  Boys learned skills related to these future roles. Women organized the camps, cared for the children, and prepared the game that had been killed in the hunt.  Girls generally assisted with tasks such as picking berries.