Europeans discovered a rich and complex spirituality among the Aboriginal peoples, who believed in the existence of a supreme being. The Iroquois called this being "the one to whom all things belong;" the Outaouais referred to "the master spirit of life." Nearly all the Aboriginal peoples shared a belief in the flood, "a worldwide deluge in which all mankind died [except] one elder from each nation [who] was saved with his family and a few animals because he had the presence of mind to have a great canoe built." As soon as a boy could use a bow and arrow, he underwent an initiation rite meant to put him in contact with the manitou [spirit] that would guide and protect him all his life. Fasting played an important role in ritual practices; it induced dreams in which the spirit appeared in animal form.

Aboriginal Spirituality
Report concerning the manitous, ca. 1720
FR CAOM COL C11A 122 fol. 116-118