Xaxli’p Community, St’at’imc Nation, Lillooet, BC
I feel fortunate to have been raised by my grandparents on a small farmhouse in St’at’imc Nation (Lillooet, BC), with the teachings of the language, traditional knowledge and our way of life. We had no electricity or running water – everything was done by hand or with a very small tractor, which we used for transportation at the best of times. We had five gardens, many fruit trees and hay fields located in several different areas on Xaxli’p reserves. This kept our family very busy year round. We did our canning, storing and drying of our fish as well for winter, catching no less than 700 fish in a summer.
In 2006, I became a chief of the Xaxli’p community for a four-year term, then again in 2014 to 2018, where I received my most significant political teachings about the importance of the land and people. I was taught by Elders to “look at the whole territory when your make a decision,” not just the narrow scope of an initiative. The Elders always reminded me, “what you do to one you do to all,” which includes our Mother Earth! “Being stewards of the land, it is our responsibility to look after Her and nurture Her to the best of our ability, so she can continue to provide for us!”
In 2009, I was honoured by the St’at’imc Nation Chiefs to help initiate the International Indigenous Leadership Gathering in Lillooet, BC. For eight years, I continued working on this gathering of Indigenous spiritual leaders, Elders, healers, and educators on sharing their Sacred Teachings and Traditional ways with the human family. Each year this gathering has doubled in attendance, peaking at about 2,500 people.
It has been an absolute honour to work for our Nation at the traditional and spiritual level. I am looking forward to seeing you all in this new journey of healing through on-the-land teaching.
All My Relations!