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Placing Gitxsan stories in text : returning the feathers, Guuxs Mak’am mik’aax Smith, M. Jane 2004

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P L A C I N G G I T X S A N STORIES IN T E X T : R E T U R N I N G T H E F E A T H E R S . G U U X S M A K ' A M M I K ' A A X by M . Jane Smith Bachelor of Education, University of Victoria 1986 Masters of Education, University of Northern British Columbia 2000 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F D O C T O R OF P H I L O S O P H Y in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S ( CWricuAwvA awei \r\sfrw.crio«Y We accept this thesis as conforming To the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A September 2004 © M . Jane Smith, 2004 ii A B S T R A C T As a Gitxsan child growing up in the Gitxsan territory, I was never sent away to residential school. I was able to experience a traditional Gitxsan education that involved working with Elders on the land and listening to stories. This experience had a profound effect on my way of being, both as an educator and as a storyteller, so much so that I have used this pedagogical approach in my public school teaching. This study documents my journey as I concurrently use stories as research and research as stories and drawing from narrative, autobiographical, reflective practice, and action research literature and the conception of Indigenous research offered by Linda Smith (1999). I narrate the stories and legends that reveal the depth of the Gitxsan culture. Gitxsan culture involves traditions arising from a long oral history. I explore these traditions and stories and transform them into text so that they can be used as an educational resource in order to help students think critically and understand factual content in a personalized manner. Gitxsan educational materials can and should be integrated into the common school curriculum. Gitxsan perspectives on storytelling offer useful insights that would enhance education programs within our public school systems. This thesis/dissertation captures the diversity and complexity of the Gitxsan culture and explores some of the struggles and tensions associated with an inquiry into educational change. iii T A B L E OF C O N T E N T S ABSTRACT ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Hi LIST OF FIGURES & APPENDICES vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii CHAPTER ONE: THE ODYSSEY BEGINS 1 INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 Gunnxhl 1 1.2 Setting 2 1.3 Definition Of Terms 6 1.4 Path To The Spirit World 12 1.5 What Brings Us To This Place 13 1.6 The Breath Of Our Grandfathers 14 1.7 Gitxsan World View : 15 1.8 Upsetting The Balance 16 1.9 Connection To Creation 17 1.10 Walk Gently Xsiwis , 17 1.11 Reflections Of Xsiwis: Gitxsan Education.: 20 1.12 Where Did The Stories Come From 20 1.13 Unending Story Of The Extended,Family 22 1.14 Spiritual Training 23 1.15 Respecting The Ancient Teachings 23 1.16 Language Arts With Na'a (Grandmother) 24 1.17 Cultural Training 25 1.18 Summary 25 1.19 The Call Of The Stories 26 CHAPTER TWO: RETURNING THE FEATHERS 29 2.1 The Feather Returns 29 2.2 The Power Of The Feather 30 2.3 The Strength Of The Feather 31 2.4 Preserving The Stories 31 2.5 Learning More From Elders 32 2.6 Collaborating: Between People, Between Languages 34 2.7 Significance Of The Problem 39 CHAPTER THREE: THE TASK OF PLACING THE BONES TOGETHER 41 3.1 Methodology: The Return Of The Bones 41 3.2 Research Is Instructional 42 3.3 Pedagogy 44 3.4 Looking At Mainstream Research 45 3.5 A New Direction 47 3.6 Indigenous Research: What Is It? 48 CHAPTER FOUR: STORIES IN TEXT 50 4.1 Adaawk 50 4.2 Ant'imahlasxw 50 4.3 Giving Direction ' 51 4.4 Adventure Stories 53 4.5 Spiritual Stories 74 iv 4.6 Origin Stories 82 4.7 Informative Stories 97 4.8 Creation Stories HO 4.9 Entertaining Stories 115 • 4.10 Modern Day Story.... 124 CHAPTER FIVE: AN UPHEAVAL IN THE ODYSSEY 128 5.1 Historical Look At Residential Schools 128 5.2 The Finger Wrestler 128 5.3 Church And Government 129 5.4 Levels Of Awareness 130 5.5 Significance Of The Literature 132 5.6 Educators Need To Investigate 135 5.7 Analysis Of The Legend: The Finger Wrestler 136 CHAPTER SIX: CURRICULUM CONFLICT 137 6.1 The Man With Haldowgit Powers 137 6.2 Conflicting World Views 139 6.3 Oral Tradition • 140 6.4 The Power Of Stories 142 6.5 A Great Storyteller 144 6.6 Training New Storytellers 145 6.7 Advice To New Storytellers 146 6.8 Interrupting The Story 147 6.9 Storytelling And Residential Schools 148 6.10 The Story Of First Nations Control 149 6.11 Storytelling And Literacy 150 6.12 Traditional Education ••• 155 6.13 Historical Background 156 6.14 Historical Contemporary Background 157 6.15 Authentic Curriculum 159 6.16 Culture And Education 160 6.17 Failure Syundrome 161 6.18 Changes Required 163 6.19 Creating Opportunities For Community Involvement 166 6.20 Cultural Framing 167 CHAPTER SEVEN: FOCUS ON CULTURE AND LANGUAGE 169 7.1 Potlatch (Li'ligit) 169 7.2 Damaging Historical Policies For First Nations ; 170 7.3 The Good Reasons They Gave 172 7.4 The Decline Of Sim 'algax 173 7.5 Woman With The Robe, Cane And Red Eyes 173 7.6 Description Of Gitxsanimx 174 7.7 Stories In Text : 175 7.8 The Possibilities For The Classroom 175 7.9 The Sleeping Monster Snake 178 7.10 Gitxsan Children Of The 21s' Century 182 7.11 Conclusion 184 7.12 Recommendations 186 7.13 The Journey Completed 187 REFERENCES • !88 V APPENDIX A 194 Answering The Validity of Indigenous Research 194 APPENDIX B 196 Band Council Resolution 196 APPENDIX C 198 The Sim al 'gax Alphabet 198 APPENDIX D 199 Sim al'gax Stories For Gitxsan Teachers 199 APPENDIX E 222 Time Line: Occupation Of Gitxsan Lands 222 APPENDIX F 230 Residential Schools Timeline 230 V I LIST O F FIGURES FIGURE 1. M A P OF T H E G ITXSAN TERRITORIES 3 FIGURE 2. L O G O OF T H E G I T A N M A A X S B A N D COUNCIL ; 5 FIGURE 3. XSIWIS ; 19 FIGURE 4. T H E L O G O FOR T H E G I T A N M A A X S E D U C A T I O N SOCIETY 33 FIGURE 5. T H E PHILOSOPHY W H E E L OF T H E G ITXSAN 35 vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to return the feathers to express my gratitude to the Gitxsan Elders who took the time to tell me stories. M y mentors were my father Joe Smith; my Grandparents, John and Emma Smith and Eva Moore; and my friend and teacher, Sophia Mowatt. They are now in the spirit world, but their teachings live on. These exceptional individuals have been significant forces in my life. Without their voices and vision, the study would not be possible. I thank them for their wisdom, their courage, their faith, their commitment, their sense of humour, their generous sharing and their tremendous patience with me throughout my life. I return the feathers to my helpers who are still among us: Chief B i l l y Blackwater; my mother, Mary Smith; my aunt and uncle, Fanny and Charlie Smith; Sim 'algax writing guide, Vera Wale and my Gitxsan Advisor, Joan Ryan. I return the feathers to thank Gitxsan artist Ken Mowatt for giving permission for the artwork used in this study. I would like to thank the Gitanmaax Band Council for their financial support. I would like to return the feathers and extend my appreciation to those who helped me in the actual writing of this project, especially my committee members. Dr. Jo-ann Archibald, Dr. Jean Barman, Dr. Karen Meyer, and Dr. Pamela Courtney-Hall. I return the feathers to my friends who have contributed to my work, Dr. Gale Smith, Dr. Shirley Sterling and Dr. Col in Chasteauneuf. I return the feathers to try and express that I am very grateful to my family and friends in Gitanmaaxs and Vancouver for all their love and support and for believing in me. Ha mi yaa ni 'y. 1 CHAPTER ONE: THE ODYSSEY BEGINS INTRODUCTION This study is about Gitxsan history, laws and traditions. The study contains Gitxsan interpretations. The Gitxsan are very independent. They own the land and the territories, it has never been purchased from them and they have never signed a treaty. The chapter begins with an. ant 'imahlasxw that introduces the connection the Gitxsan have with the land. In addition, I explain who the Gitxsan are, where they have come from and where they are going. This begins their story. 1.1 Gunnxhl (Excerpt from The Odyssey of Nuhlx, His Three Brothers and Sister). It was in a northern village in the Gitxsan Territories where this story took place. People stayed close to the village because of the monsters that surrounded the territories. There was a sandbar at the lower part of the village. The sandbar extended out a great distance. It was flat and large. This was where the young people played gunnxhl. They played and played. Sometimes they would stop playing when one got hungry and they would eat fish and start again. The Elders would ask the young people to come and help with food preparations, but their cries fell oh deaf ears.. . Then one year while they were playing someone spotted a beautiful feather, brilliant with the colours of the rainbow. One rather foolish young man was lured by the beauty of the feather so he grabbed it to place in his headband. He caught the feather and soon his legs were dangling in the air. The feather was lifting him and he could not let go. Another boy ran to his rescue to pull him down only to find that he too was attached to his friend's legs. Others ran to help and soon all were stuck to each other. The feather 2 seemed to realize there was no one left and it lifted all the people from the village upward and disappeared into the sky. 1.2 Setting The territorial home of the Gitxsan Nation where Nuhlx and his brothers and sister once faced the monsters is a vast area in the upper Skeena Valley in Northwestern Central British Columbia. The people consider themselves to have originated at T'emlaxamit, an ancient Gitxsan community. When the Europeans arrived, the Gitxsan, in addition to occupying their specific family territories to obtain resources, lived in the following co-operative seasonal settlements: Galdoo'o, Gisgaga'as, Gisbahyakws, Gitanmaaxs, Gitjeigyukwhal, Gitwangax, and Gitanyaaw. The First Nations groups who are territorial neighbours to the Gitxsan include the Nisga'a, the Tsimshian, the Haisla, the-Tahltari, the Carrier-Sekani and the Wet'suwet'en. 3 Figure 1. Map of the Gitxsan Territories Courtesy of the Sim'algax Working Group 4 The setting of this study is in Gitanmaaxs; the name, when translated, means "People Who Fish B y Torchlight." Gitanmaaxs is a reserve at the confluence of the Skeena and Bulkley Rivers (see Figure 2). The village of Hazelton is adjacent to the reserve. The Gitanmaaxs are members of one of the Lax Gibuu (Wolf), Lax Seel (Frog) or Giskaast (Fireweed) Clans. Each clan is comprised of many House groups, and each of these House groups has one head chief and may also have two associate chiefs. A person is a member in the mother's clan by virtue of laws of matrilineal descent. 5 F i g u r e 2 - Logo of the Gitanmaaxs Band Council. Coutresy of the Gitanmaaxs Band. 1.3 Definition Of Terms 6 Aatxyasxw: Tools given by the Creator for our earthly journey. These are intuition, inner knowing and visions. Adaawfc Used to describe the personal bloodline histories of the Gitxsan. Adaawk involve Gitxsan stories and crests. Anlo: Isolated reserve lands situated on the banks of the 'Xsan, four miles north of Hazelton. An lo means where the salmon swims or where the canoes are launched. Ansbahyaxw: The traditional name for the Gitxsan Village of Kispiox. The word Ansbahyaxw means people of the hiding place. The village is located on the north bank of the Skeena at the mouth of the Kispiox River. Aspiiyuwa: Gitxsan name given to a Gitxsan Elder. Ant'imahlasxw: The stories and properties of all the Gitxsan. The ant'imalhlasxw axe used to instruct, inform, guide and entertain the listeners. Ayook: Gitxsan laws. Baaskyaalaxha: The name of a Chief of the W o l f Clan. Breath of our Grandfathers: Stories and songs of all our ancestors; grandfathers and grandmothers since time immemorial. Coast Mountains School District #82: A public school district with its main office located in Terrace, which is 145 km. west of Hazelton. There are 5400 students in the District attending 20 different schools. Approximately 550 First Nations/Gitxsan students attend elementary public school in the Gitxsan territory. 7 Delgamuuk: The name of a House Group and Chief of the Frog Clan. In addition, The Delgamuukx Court Case resulted in the landmark Supreme Court decision confirming that Gitxsan oral history is credible evidence. First Nations: The current term used by aboriginal peoples in Canada to describe themselves. It replaces the words Indian and Native that are commonly used in literature about the First Nations people. Giskaast: Members of the Fireweed Clan. Gitanmaaxs: A Gitxsan Village located near the confluence of the Skeena and Bulkley Rivers. The name Gitanmaaxs means people who fish by torchlight. Gitanyaaw or Kitwancool: A Gitxsan Vil lage located on the Kitwancool River about fourteen miles above its mouth on the Skeena. Kitwancool means people of the narrow place. Gitxsan: Name of the First Nations people who live mainly in a number of communities that are situated in the valley of the 'Xsan in central western British Columbia. Gitxsan is their name for themselves and means people of the river of mist. Gitxsanimx: The language spoken by the Gitxsan. The term Sim 'algax is also used by some Gitxsan to describe their language. Gitxsan Wet'suwit'en Education Society (GWES) : A local society that places great importance on the local control of education. G W E S regards community involvement as an essential component of any education program. Gitwangax: People of the place of rabbits. Location on the north bank of the 'Xsan near the mouth of the Kitwancool River. 8 Gus makt am mik'aax (Returning the feathers): A ceremony used by the Gitxsan to acknowledge a kindness bestowed on them. In the past it was used as a ceremony to display peace after a disagreement or war. Gunnxhl: Ancient game of field hockey. The sticks were made from hazelnut bushes and were shaped like the hockey sticks of today. The ball was made from deerskin wrapped around a small rock. Guxs witxw: Reincarnation. Ha gwilii yin: Walk gently, on a soft path that is covered with eagle down. Haldowgit: The evil side of the culture. The art of practicing witchcraft. Hanamuxw: The name of a Chief, Elder and advisor for this study, presently held by Joan Ryan. \ r Hawal: Cash donations made in the feasthall by the hosting clan. Heyuxw: Soul of the dead. ' . * Hi madam: The mountains are streaked with sheets of clouds. Hix: Mountain Goat fat used for scared ceremonies. Huwilp: Sim'algax word for House Groups of the extended family. It is the plural for wilp. Indian Day School: A federally funded school on reserve attended by Gitxsan students who did not attend residential schools and who were not allowed to attend provincial public school. Integrated Resource Packages (IRP): B C curriculum guides that define the mandated parameters for the implementation of curricula in all programs from Kindergarten to Grade 12. R'aas': Marrying within your clan; also the Sim'algax word for incest. K'alidakhl: Sim 'algax word for blue jay. K'alidakhl means hair tied back. Kitsegukla: A Gitxsan Village (Gitjeigyukwhal) located on the south bank of the 'Xsan at the mouth of Kitsegukla Creek. K'olim Wop: Gutting knife made from stone. K'ubawilksihlkw: young people who are in line to become chiefs -simgigyat (men) or sigidimhaanak (women). Lax Gibuu: Members of the W o l f Clan. Lax Seel: Members of the Frog Clan. Li 'ligit: A gathering where repayments are made. Limx'ooy': Mourning song or lament sung when a new chief takes on the chieftainship. Luu hix hogix: Spiritual balance. Mahumim lo 'op: Stone file. Malwasxw: A root of the Indian Hellebore burned and used to purify one's aura or home. The smoke cleansed the area of unwelcomed spirits. Mas: Red ochre. Masxwagwa lo'op: Red rock. • Mii K'aax: Fine eagle down used for scared ceremonies. Miin Wilp: Head chief of a House Group. Na 'a: Mother or grandmother. Naadahahlhakwhlinhl: Interconnectedness with all l iving things. 10 Naxnok: Used to describe a supernatural person or a being that is higher than humans. Nuits: Musus secreated from the nose. Nuhlx: Name given to the child born from nuits. Pdeek: The Clan to which one is a member. Sabax: The end. Sbil naxnok: Asupernatural place where power ceremonies take place. Sdikyoodenax. The highest peak in the Hazelton mountain range (Rocher de Boule). Sigit'ox: Gitxsan Village located on the north bank of the 'Xsan a few miles below the mouth of the Kispiox River. Sigit'ox is the name of a nearby h i l l . Sim 'algax : Term used by some Gitxsan to describe their language. Sim 'oogit: Chief. Simgigyat: Chiefs. Sigidim haanak': Women chiefs or high ranking women. Skants'ook': Chokecherry branch. So'o: Excess food at the feast given to the guests to take home. Guests are not allowed to refuse food or gifts given to them in the feast hall. T'axim Gisgaga'as: A lake located in the village of Gisgaga'as. T'axim Sdikyoodenax: A lake at the base of Sdikyoodenaxnovv known as Seely Lake. T'ets: Messengers sent out to invite guests for a feast. Ubin: Pregnant. 11 Uun ts 'iist': Sim 'algax word for a positive affirmation. In ancient times, uun ts'iist' was a small woman who lived in the ground and came to the rescue of those who were in trouble. The uun ts 'iist' always gave positive advice and for payment she wanted the soft string that was used for earrings in earlier times). Weget: Gitxsan trickster who transformed into raven; also the word for big man. Watsx: Otter Wiit'axgats'agat: Sim'algax word used to describe mosquitoes. Wiit'axgats'agat means long noses.' Wii K'aax: The name of a House Group and Chief of the W o l f Clan. Wilxsilaks or Wilk silaks: Members of the father clan. WU'naa'tahl: Relatives within the House Group. Wilp: The House Group of the extended family. 'Xsan: River of mists (Skeena River). Xsim lax ha: A place in the sky. The people were taken by the feather to Xsim lax ha. Xsimoos: L ike a thumb also, number nine. Xsiwis: (The writer) I am Xsiwis. I am a House Member of Wii K'aax the name was given to me by the House Chief. Yukw: A large feast. A feast used for a totem pole or gravestone raising when all the villages are invited to witness the event. Yahlxw wila yeet': Harmony (the way is smooth). Yuuhlimxw: Giving advice. 12 1.4 Path To The Spirit World It is customary in the Gitxsan culture to give thanks for all the gifts of life. The chiefs, in their speeches, give thanks to the Creator, the land, their ancestors, animals, plants, their relatives and everything else. So it is in the same spirit that I give thanks to my Creator and teachers as I begin my story of the past, present and future. This, according to the Elders wi l l promote the principles of harmony (yahlxw wila yeet'), balance (luu hix hogix) and interconnectedness (naadahahlhakwhlinhl) as shown on the Gitxsan philosophy wheel (see Figure 5). These guiding principals surface in the Gitxsan stories of the land (see Chapter 4). Through the ages, my ancestors have kept the culture, the language and the stories alive. For these gifts I am truly thankful. I now take these gifts and in turn share them in the form of this study. To begin this study I needed to strengthen my spirit. I began by smudging my head and my heart with malwasxw, a sacred root used by the Gitxsan for this type of ceremony. I then journeyed to the wilderness to burn tobacco and food to feed the ancestors of the land. I also sang the limx'ooy'' from the House of WU K'aax. This is the way in which Gitxsan show respect to those in the Spirit World . A s I gave my gifts, a squirrel came over to investigate and an eagle flew above me. I took this as a sign that I would not be alone on my journey. 13 1.5 W h a t Brings Us To This Place Despite the affirmation of oral histories as legally significant (Persky 1998) and the Elders' teachings of the importance of legends, stories and songs for cultural survival, the number of Gitxsan who are fluent in Sim 'algax (Gitxsan language) has declined dramatically in the past half century. It is my belief that i f the Gitxsan stories are not translated and converted to text they wi l l be lost. Fulford (1999) cites Alasdar Maclntyre, the moral philosopher, when he states "humans create their sense of what matters and how they should act by referring consciously or unconsciously to the stories they have learned" (p. 33). According to Fulford, Maclntyre suggests, I can only answer the question, 'What am I to do?' i f I can answer the prior question, ' O f what story or stories do I find myself a part'? Children grow into adults by learning stories, and so do nations and communities.... Deprive children of stories and you leave them unscripted, anxious stutterers in their actions as in words. There is no way to give us an understanding of any society, including our own, except through the stock of stories which constitute its initial dramatic resources (p. 33). The lives of those who attended residential schools and the future generations, who are not l iving their stories, are illustrations of what is to become of the Gitxsan students without their stories. They drift into the master story of mainstream society. 14 1.6 The Breath Of Our Grandfathers I am conflicted by my desire to leave the stories behind in written form for future generations. In my life, I was fortunate enough to hear the stories travel from the breath of my storytellers. The stories had traveled in time on the 'Breath of our Grandfathers.' Writing the stories stems from my need to identify the Gitxsan culture and define and protect it because it has the potential to empower. As technology now presents a tool that will ensure that the stories are not lost, something vital is lost. The spirit, the breath, and the tonations are lost when stories become textual rather than oral and the multiple voices are lost as just the written version is available to readers. I would not have been convinced to take the stories to text if it had not been for a dream. I woke up one morning to the sound of my alarm. I was startled because I am usually awake before the alarm. I was grateful to my alarm clock for waking me up; unlike the little porcupine who was so annoyed with the creek in a story I often tell (see Chapter 4). In the dream I was given deer meat and I had wrapped it for the freezer. I was surprised in the dream because I do not eat deer meet. This is because the deer are so beautiful and look so harmless. In my dream as I placed the deer meat in the freezer it had all turned into books. The dream inspired me to write the stories that had been given to me as a gift. The ways of our people should be written by those who know and the written records should be treasured like the chief's regalia. This way those who do not know the language will read and know the disciplines and the uniqueness of the Gitxsan. This does not take away from the oral tradition, it is an addition. The oral tradition will always be there for those who understand (Baaskyaalaxha, Gitxsan Elder and chief, personal communication, 2000). 15 1.7 Gitxsan World View The Gitxsan concept of non-linear time emerges from our worldview of the co-existence of the realms of the physical and supernatural worlds and our belief in reincarnation (see Chapter 4). In addition, Gitxsan stories, laws, songs and language that shape our worldview come from the Breath of the Grandfathers. Since time immemorial the stories have been passed down. When the storyteller speaks, he or she is the vehicle for the voices of the Gitxsan ancestors. The listeners become a part of many storytellers past, present and future. The Gitxsan had a way of thinking and looking at the world through stories. Gitxsan spirituality was and is intimately connected with all things in nature. Animals , water, rocks, trees and earth all have spirits and are all gifts from the Creator. M y Grandparents told me stories to help me with decisions to. be made in the future when they were no longer around to help me. M y Grandparents taught me about respect at an early age. Ever since" I can remember, I was taught to "Be kind to birds, animals and all of God's creation, be kind to old people and the handicapped." I always thought this was a strange teaching because I would not be otherwise. M y Grandparents were emphasizing that everything and everyone was naadahahlhakwhlinhl: animals, trees, rocks and humans all have spirits. Everything was created in perfect yahlxw wila yeet' and to disturb a part of creation was to disturb the Luu hix hogix. M y Grandparents taught me that death was a natural part of life. Death was required so others could live; thus, the bodies of the Gitxsan who have died have fed the soil. Everything growing from the land was a part of the Gitxsan. This was why the Gitxsan respected the land and felt that it was sacred. The land was not a commodity to 16 be sold to the highest bidder. M y Grandparents taught me to respect the newcomers to the land. "We all come from the same Creator and the same earth," they would say, "How can they be different, we are all the same." Everyone and everything that took nourishment from the land, including the newcomers to the land, were connected to the Gitxsan. We are all relatives. 1.8 Upsetting The Balance The idea that we are all the same echoed in my mind all of my life, but the newcomers did not always treat us with respect. Children in Gitanmaaxs could not attend public schools. Gitxsan students had to attend Residential Schools and Indian Day Schools. Unti l 1950, First Nations peoples had to use the back door of the local hospital. The front entrance was for whites only. In the early 1900s the Reverend John Field strung a rope down the aisle of the Anglican church in Hazelton. He instructed the Gitxsan to sit on one side and the non-Gitxsan on the other side. According to the values of my Grandparents, this was not respectful so they left the church. I am including these three incidents to show how, in the past, lack of respect for a people upsets the balance. Young people need to know that events such as this occurred on Gitxsan lands. A l l people must remember to show respect to all creation. The Gitxsan have lost many things in their culture, but I am glad that the spirituality passed down to each and every one of us still remains intact. 17 1.9 Connection To Creation A s I placed the story of The Oddessy ofNuhlx, his Three Brothers and Sister and The Origin Story of the Gitxsan into the context of the Gitxsan spirituality and worldview, I was struck by the connection that Gitxsan have with all of creation (see Chapter 4). The young girl came from the Puberty House and as she searched for her people and wandered from house to house, she picked up a little red rock, a rock for sharpening stone tools, a rock knife and a root from a chokecherry bush. Once she combined her tears and her mucus with the items from nature they became her children. In the story, The Origin of the Gitxsan, the first Gitxsan was thrust out of the earth and became the first child of the earth. The Gitxsan are children of nature (see Chapter 4). 1.10 Walk Gently Xsiwis I am Xsiwis, a Gitxsan l iving in Gitanmaaxs Vil lage. I am a member of the W o l f Clan and my Father Clan is the Fireweed Clan. Xsiwis translates to Spirit of the Rain (see Figure 3). This name was given to me by our house chief, WU K'aax, at a stone raising feast; the name Xsiwis once belonged to his mother. Gitxsan names have been passed down since time immemorial: In the feast hall WU K'aax announced my Gitxsan name and called on many of the high-ranking chiefs to call out Xsiwis. He started with the Fireweed Clan, which is my Father Clan and then called on the chiefs from the Frog Clan. Some chiefs called out my name and added a phrase saying something humorous, using the crests of their own House. Others said "ha gwilii yin" which translates to walk gently, on a soft path that is covered with eagle down. 18 My House Members gave their hawal (presently comprised of cash donations) to assist me in paying the chiefs who abided by the laws of our grandfathers and gave power to my name by calling out my name. This is the way in which I received the name Xsiwis. I was born Lax Gibuu and will belong to them forever, but the name can change depending on the wishes of the chief. In the past, names were given to children; the boys were given names and their ears were pierced. Girls were given names when their lower lip was pierced. These are the markings of those who would eventually become chiefs. Each ceremony was defined with laws, rituals and feasting. 19 E g u r e ^ , Emblem for the Gitxsan name 'Xsiwis' which translates to 'Spirit of the Kain. The W o l f head symbolizes the W o l f Clan. The feather symbolizes the House Group, Wu K'aax. The rain represents Xsiwis. Property of Jane Smith 20 1.11 Reflections Of Xsiwis: Gitxsan Education It is important to note that I did not attend Residential School. The Gitanmaaxs Band Council , of which my grandfather John Smith was a member, decided that a school should be built in Hazelton. Discussions started in 1946 to obtain land for an amalgamated school to service both Gitxsan and non-Gitxsan students in the area. It was not opened until 1954. The Council surrendered land and the Skeena Amalgamated School was built in joint agreement with Hazelton School District # 53 (now known as Coast Mountains School District #82 see Appendix 2). Gitxsan children no longer had to attend Indian Day School or leave to go to residential school. The teachers of the public school system seemed very unhappy. B y the time I went to school in the 1950s the attitude of the teachers was still the same. It appeared as i f they considered it a great burden to have to teach Gitxsan students. M y elementary schooling was very difficult, because of the differential treatment of First Nations students, non-First Nations curriculum and racism. I had older sisters who taught me to read. M y father taught me to do Math. So in spite of the seemingly negative environment at the school, I made progress. 1.12 Where Did The Stories Come From Unlike the residential school students, who were sent away to such places as Edmonton, Port Alberni , and Lejac residential schools, I went home each day to a loving family, who supported and helped me with everything. I knew who I was and where I belonged all of my life. Spending entire summers at the fish camp at Anlo (where the 21 salmon swims) was a family tradition. A s a little girl, my father made me a fishing pole from a hazelnut bush and sat me by the river where I spent many delightful hours catching bullheads and minnows. A s the summers rolled into one another I was old enough to help my sisters gather ferns for the women to use while they were gutting salmon on the banks of the 'Xsan. The children would then haul the cleaned salmon in tubs on the red wagon to the smokehouse and canning area, at the fish camp. A t the smokehouse, in the early evening I would sit quietly and listen to my two grandmothers tell each other stories. Some were funny like The Mosquitoes and the Woodpeckers (see Chapter 4). Some were frightening. I remained fascinated and very much afraid. I knew that my father would come in and check on the women to see i f they needed help with wood or lifting salmon and I would walk home with him with my hand in his to the cabin that was seven metres away. Listening to the story about The Wild Woman of the Woods made me afraid to be alone (see Chapter 4). A t the Fish camp everyone slept in a one-room cabin. After the lantern was turned off, my Na 'a (Grandmother) would tell a story. If one went to sleep, it would be retold again another night. The stories seemed togp in circles. I remember tracing images of the characters and setting in the air with my finger. Na'a 's stories were my television. Na 'a had many talents, but telling a story was her greatest talent. Before she would begin she would credit all her sources. Soon the listeners would realize that they were listening to the stories from the beginning of time. Na ' a would weave a story that would bring forth all the images and action in your imagination. She did not miss the smallest detail; she used humour and could hold your attention for hours. Sometimes she would stop and scold the characters in the story, and then get back on track. The added bonuses in listening to her tell a story was the wealth of the language one was privileged to hear (see Chapter 4). 1.13 Unending Story Of The Extended Family In the afternoon at the fish camp I had to help with the haying. It was fun to make haystacks with the pitchfork. I had six sisters who all helped and several of our cousins came from Gitanmaaxs to help and also to play in the hay. It was great fun to jump off the crossbeam in the hay shed onto the soft hay. Grandfather never scolded us. A l l the children including me would hunt for mice and baby mice under the haystacks and k i l l them with the pitchfork. The story for the evening meal would be one about respect for all l iving things. See The Lack of Respect: The Mountain Goat Story (see Chapter 4). I have never killed a mouse since; I suppose I was always afraid of revenge. The stories became a part of whom I was. Another job for the children in the late afternoon was to go and hi l l potatoes. There was a large potato garden at Anlo every year. Everyone had helped to plant and everyone would help with the harvest. There was a lot of work to be done at the fish camp, but it was family working together and having a wonderful time. A l l the children were taught to be very quiet at night. The Gitxsan believed that creatures of the night could come and take a child. The story of The Night The Owl Came was told so the children would understand the importance of not crying in the night (see Chapter 4). Once I cried in the night to see i f the owl would come. Nothing came 23 for me. However, for many of the children in our village the owl came in the form of the people who took them to Residential Schools. 1.14 Spiritual Training In the afternoon when the haying was complete I would set off with the family to cut wood for the smokehouse. M y father and grandfather would cut and split the wood and the children would pack the wood to the wagon pulled by a team of horses and then we would pack wood from the wagon to the smokehouse. I watched my grandfather, as he placed tobacco on the ground and expressed gratitude to the earth for her many gifts. In addition, i f anyone died my grandfather would burn tobacco and food to send to the spirit world. This was so the spirit guides from the spirit world would come and help the newly departed spirit on his/her spirit journey. Today, I am the keeper of the fire for my family and Iburn tobacco and food at Anlo for the spirits. 1.15 Respecting The Ancient Teachings In the autumn when the fish camp was closed for the season, it was time to go berry picking. The family hiked up the mountain to pick huckleberries. The children were trained to stay close to the family. I remember the story my mother told about Otter Woman (see Chapter 4). M y mother had first-hand experience with hearing the otter and she said it was frightening. She went out for the day picking berries with other women from Gitanmaaxs. It was dusk as they came down the mountain road. In the distance they could hear the chains rattling from the horses' harnesses and they were so pleased thinking that the 24 men were coming to meet them. A s they hurried along my mother had a strange feeling that it was not possible that anyone should be meeting them. She uttered the word, "Watsx," (Otter) and the women moved quietly into the bushes on the side of the road. Instantly, the rattling of the chains was silenced and all was quiet. The frightened women hurried back to the village. Their story would be told over and over again. Years later, at a very low point in my life, I was hiking up a mountain path with a non-Gitxsan friend. We heard a vehicle coming very close to us. We stepped off the winding mountain road to let the vehicle pass when I said, u Watsx,'" to myself. The sound of an approaching vehicle disappeared. M y non-Gitxsan friend was puzzled with the strange event. I chose not to tell her what was happening. I was happy that I knew the ancient teachings and I knew how to apply them to the situation. We are given aatxyasxw by the Creator which are tools for, our earthly journey. These are intuition, inner knowing and visions (flanamuxw, Gitxsan Advisor, Elder and chief, personal communication 2004). 1.16 Language Arts With Na'a (Grandmother) It was a time before big business, large sawmills, and logging trucks. Many Gitxsan families would work at a pole camp on their territories, harvesting trees. I was fortunate enough to be taken along as company for my Na 'a while the men were out working. During the day I helped Na'a with simple chores. I would pack wood and fetch water for Na'a. Sometimes we made bannock or cookies. Throughout the day Na'a would tell me Weget stories such as The Origin OfWeget and Weget And The Ball Of Light (see Chapter 4). Then at the evening meal I told the Weget stories to my father, grandfather and uncles with the help of my Na 'a. So powerful was the confidence 25 instilled in me, I was able to write a modern day legend about The Young Egret (see Chapter 4). When I became an educator I had the ability to use the stories and the culture to write plays. Years ago, Na'a had an excellent curriculum that I have been using since I became an elementary educator in 1986 and I hope to encourage others to use also. 1.17 Cultural Training A s I listened to the stories as a child, I did not realize that I was collecting knowledge about the culture and language. I became a storyteller just like my Na'a, and today I find when I am telling a story to a group of non-speakers I have to struggle to keep using English, as the power of my language, the original voice in which I heard the stories, rises to the surface. The Legend ofK'alidakhl is written in English and Sim'algyax (see Appendix D) . In addition, I felt that my Elders valued me. This was their greatest gift to me. I did not have to face any monsters by myself. A s a child there was someone always by my side. Now in my adult life, my early teachings and stories are my constant companions. 1.18 Summary A s a child, I compared my life with those who attended residential school. I was often envious. They would come back sophisticated and knowledgeable about the world. I never left my humble village. After I read the documents (e.g., Sutherland, 1997) relating to the negative residential school experience where they were denied their language and culture and being constantly hungry, I was glad that I never attended. It seems that I worked just as hard as the Residential School students with all the chores 26 that needed to be done. However, my work was contributing to the family unit and I was encouraged and praised for my accomplishments. The stories of residential school indicate quite a different experience, where mental, physical, and emotional abuse was endured. The Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (1996) revealed the losses experienced by many of those who attended Residential School. On the contrary, I did not lose my family ties, my identity, my language, my role models, my values, my support systems, my individuality, my self-image, my childhood, my innocence and my freedom to be a child. I do not consider my early public school experience helpful in my academic education but fortunately I had the cultural teachings of my family and Wilp. With these teachings, I had the self-esteem required to obtain a formal education, as my life in later years demonstrates. The Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council revealed that being absent from the culture-as was the case of those who attended residential schools in their formative years-was devastating and made a lasting impact on the life of the young child. 1.19 The Call Of The Stories (Excerpt from The Odyssey of Nuhlx his Three Brothers and Sister). The children knew that they had to leave the village. They knew they had a purpose to fulfi l l . Nuhlx and his siblings decided to set off into the territories that were guarded by different monsters. They would go and destroy the monsters that did not allow the Gitxsan to venture out any great distance on the territories. The five youngsters hardly seemed adequate to face the challenges that plagued the Gitxsan Territories. Nuhlx and his brothers and sister did not pack a lot of food for the journey. They left all the food they had prepared for their mother. They had explicit instructions from the spirit guide. The 27 Naxnok who was watching over them had informed them of what they would need so they took just enough food for one meal. The spirit watching over them would provide their food. They had the feather for their power. Nuhlx and his brothers and sister set off on their journey. They knew they had a purpose; it was a journey of choice. Their mother wanted to go with them, but the youngsters knew that their journey was a dangerous one. Their mother walked with them as they began their mission but then she returned home. They convinced their mother that she must stay home with her people. The children knew they had their supernatural powers to help them. If they had to go and rescue their mother - who was human - they might not be successful. The mother wept as she watched her children disappear around the bend in the trail. She knew she would never see them again. She collected the items that had transformed into her children and found comfort in them as she placed them in her apron. Each place where Nuhlx and his brothers and sister defeated the monsters that plagued the territories became a power place. The Gitxsan call this place a xsbin nax nox ( a supernatural place). The Gitxsan have several supernatural or power places throughout their territories. The place where the owl took the child is a xsbin naxnox. The banks of the 'Xsan at the point where it meets the Bulkley River is a sacred place. The Gitxsan endured great suffering at these places and a supernatural being appeared to them. The xsbin naxnox is a place of immeasurable strength. It can bind an individual to that spot of ground in the face of adversity. Before I leave on a journey I go to the xsbin nax nox and wash my face and hands. A true ceremony would be to immerse myself in the icy waters. This was so I would not forget my early teachings and who I was. Upon 28 my return home I go there once again, to wash my journey off my spirit. Here I have often felt the sensation of my ancestors who are doing it once again in my actions as I obey the laws of the land. These are special rituals that have been handed down through time. L ike the children in The Odyssey of Nuhlx, I have always felt that I have a purpose to fulfil l . Supported by the confidence of family and friends I decided to leave my comfort zone. I obtained my Bachelor of Education from the University of Victoria, and then I went to the University of Northern British Columbia to secure a Masters of Education degree. This included a session of summer school in Prince George and throughout the year working and attending classes on weekends in Terrace. Finally, I am now on my last journey that took me to the University of British Columbia. It was not an easy decision; I had a job tha t i loved but I felt the Elders had invested so much of their time in me that I needed to take their stories beyond my classroom. Equipped with the knowledge that it was my destiny to take the stories to text, I left my family, home and job to go to university in order to learn how to take the stories to a place where they would be considered of great value in an educational setting. I felt the academic world had to accept them. I had to convince them that my Elders' stories were worth telling. The purpose was to gain the sanction of the "authority" of academia, to aid my goal of using the stories and storytelling as curriculum for elementary students in the Gitxsan territories. So my journey of choice took me to the University of British Columbia. It was a difficult year, but the call of the stories was so strong I could not fail . I had my stories for my power. 2 9 CHAPTER TWO: RETURNING THE FEATHERS I w i l l explore the stories and legends that reveal the depth of the Gitxsan culture. Gitxsan culture involves traditions arising from a long oral history. I wi l l explore these stories and put them down in text so they can be used as an educational resource in order to help students think critically and understand content in a personalized manner. The stories dominate the cultural lives of the Gitxsan people. The stories are the subject of many art pieces, the medium by which storytellers keep alive the memories of their Gitxsan heroes and lawmakers. Stories, throughout the ages, have provided inspiration to music and are the core of the rich and extensive ceremonial practices of the Gitxsan. These stories become part of the stock of teaching stories. I am a Gitxsan educator documenting these stories using Narrative as Research. 2.1 The Feather Returns (Excerpt from The Odyssey of Nuhlx his Three Brothers and Sister). Then the dreaded day arrived and the feather returned to the community from the sky. It shimmered as it floated above the players. Nuhlx had established himself as the best player but he was losing and blamed the feather for distracting him. Nuhlx grabbed at the feather and stuck it in his headband. Soon his legs were dangling in midair. Nuhlx turned into a mess of green slime, but the feather did not get disgusted with the slime. His brother, Masgwa lo 'op ran to Nuhlx''s rescue. The boy changed into a rock and grew and grew and turned into a huge boulder to try and help Nuhlx. The boulder was like a pebble to the beautiful feather. Mahnim lo 'op went to the rescue next, thinking that the extra weight would cause the feather to fall to the ground. L ike the first group taken by the feather, the children did not see the string to which the feather was attached. Then came Skants 'ook\ He grabbed at his brother's legs and changed into a tree and his roots grew into the ground, but the feather uprooted him. Their sister K'ohlim lo'op screamed while she sharpened her hands on Mahnim lo 'op. She knew she was a broken knife and she was fil ing her blade. The little girl ran 3 0 climbing up on her brothers and stood on Nuhlx's shoulders as she reached around for the invisible string. She did not know what she was doing but she grabbed and cut the string. Those who were hanging fell to the earth. 2.2 The Power Of The Feather The story of Nuhlxand his three brothers and sister with the feather as their power wi l l lead the journey through the Gitxsan Territories. Wi th the strength of the Elders behind me, I wi l l return the feathers and I w i l l lead young Gitxsan and others who want to learn about the Gitxsan on a journey through Gitxsan culture. In the past, Nuhlx, his three brothers and sister captured the feather; today I am returning the symbolic feather to say thank you to my storytellers. Guuxs mak' am mi k'aax is a ceremony used by the Gitxsan to acknowledge a kindness bestowed on them. The headdress is a power symbol worn by a chief. A chief dances and the eagle down falls gently from his/her headdress. Today, this is the way in which Gitxsan say thank you. In the past it was used as a ceremony to display peace after a disagreement or war. This study is my way of saying thank you to my Gitxsan teachers, the Elders who used stories to teach me and encouraged me both to be a keeper of the stories and to pass them on to the children of the present and to preserve them for the children of the future. 31 2.3 The Strength Of The Feather The strength of the delicate feather is incredible to me. The feather lifted all the people of an entire village into the sky. The fine eagle down that floats from the chief's headdress represents the powerful concepts of peace and honour. The oral stories, which are in a precarious state of being forgotten, will, with the power of text, last forever. As a Gitxsan Educator who is fluent in both English and Sim 'algax, I am compelled to preserve the stories of the Gitxsan for future generations. It has been a part of my calling. I have always been disappointed that there is so little educational material based on Gitxsan content. Most educational resources tend to put the Gitxsan into the larger linguistic group of the Tsimshian and in so doing have obscured the rich culture and stories of the Gitxsan. I have used Gitxsan stories and legends in my teaching and in my community work. In this study, I intend to use my collection and convert to text some of the stories that I have used while exploring their pedagogical, epistemological and ontological significance. Listening to stories was the beginning of my earliest education. Early in my life I was given the sense of belonging through the stories told to me by my storytellers. In later years, from the storytellers' examples, I was able to take on the role of storyteller. 2.4 Preserving The Stories As an educator, I have used storytelling as my mode of instruction. In my professional background as a classroom teacher with Gitxsan students, I have often stressed the importance and the effectiveness of using the Gitxsan culture as an avenue for instruction (Smith Mowatt, 1988). I believe it is important for children to receive instruction through their own cultural stories in order to enhance their self-images and to provide them with an accurate understanding of themselves. The powerful pedagogy of the Elders calls to me. 2.5 Learning More From Elders This study translates into English some of the ant'imalhlasxw of the Gitxsan passed down to me by the storytellers and documents them in written textual form. These are stories that reinforce Gitxsan values, customs, language, culture and identity. Repeating these stories acknowledges and validates the knowledge of the Elders. According to the Elders, the children need to learn from the past in order to be prepared for the future. They state that the youth must take the talking stick from the hands of the oral culture and incorporate it into the hands of their book learning (see Figure 6). M y purpose is to make the stories of the Elders accessible to others so they come to know, value and respect the stories of the Gitxsan. I want to present the Elders as master storytellers and teachers as their pedagogical approach can be used in the education system of today. The younger generation and the future generations of the Gitxsan need to know who they are and from where they have come. They need to gain the confidence and pride that comes from the knowledge and sense of belonging as a result of knowing one's story. They need to know the legacy of the residential school system that denied them the legacy of the wisdom of the Elders. F i g u r e 4 - T h e l o g o for the Gitanmaaxs Education Society .The logo portrays the oral culture (circle representing the Elders placing the talking stick into the hands of the Gitxsan youth represented by book learning). Courtesy of the Gitanmaaxs Education Society. 34 2.6 Collaborating: Between People, Between Languages The Elders have taught me language, stories,, beliefs, traditions, songs and dances. From these teachings came the higher dimensions of learning. One cannot sit by the feet of an Elder and not learn about trust, honour, respect, honesty, humour, humility and sharing (see Figure 5). In this study, I wi l l share this experience and use my fluency in both languages - Sim 'algax and English - to transmit the Gitxsan worldview to a broader audience. A l l my life I have been called by the language and stories. For years before I became an educator I visited elders and collected their stories in the oral traditions. I was excited to learn "new" words that had been largely dropped from Gitxsanimx vocabulary from the lack of use. I used the languages and stories in informal, community educational settings. Then in 1986, when I completed my Bachelor of Education, I began to use them in elementary schools. Over the years I have documented the language and stories in field notes and at times I audio-taped Elders telling stories, talking about the past, singing songs and discussing our many beliefs. This data collection was for my personal learning and teaching. I believed that this was the reason the Elders taught me. Not in my wildest dreams did I think that one day these notes and tapes would be used for a major thesis. D i d the Elders in their wisdom know this? 35 S P I R I T U A L I T Y oo T f i—< t—l H a > Figure 5. The Philosophy VvTieel of the Gitxsan. The wheel represents the values of the Gitxsan. Courtesy of WU Muugwikuxsxw. 3 6 Gitxsan Elders took on the task of preparing for the future through their visions and prayers. Part of this responsibility meant observing babies as soon as they are born, assessing their potential. What gifts did they bring with them from the spirit level? What w i l l their purpose be in life? Once the Elders figured it out, then the paternal side of the child organizes a curriculum to develop the gifts to their highest potential. The Gitxsan are expected to leave earth in a better state than when they first arrived for the physical journey (Hanamuxw, Gitxsan Advisor, Elder and chief, personal communication 2004). Today, many of the young people question why they should respect Elders. The younger generations have not been taught about the great contributions the Elders have made through their stories. Many of their parents are products of the residential school system and this has limited their understanding of the language and culture. The Elders have trouble communicating the stories in English. A s told in the Gitxsan language these stories are vivid and the telling is eloquent. I do not want the stories to appear in broken English: this is not how I hear them. The aim of this study is to connect the younger generations to the Elders as the journey of stories enters the school system arid the following questions are addressed. 2.7 The Research Purposes 1. To record in written form the oral history, the cultural beliefs, the traditions, the stories, the perceptions, the visions, the struggles and the legacy of the Gitxsan before it is blurred in the memories of those who know and to establish that the Gitxsan have ownership of their stories. 2. To present teachers in the Gitxsan Territories the knowledge about the devastation of residential schools. The teachers need to understand the history of the education of their Gitxsan/F'ust Nations students. 3 7 3. To provide teachers and GitxsanlYwst Nations students with authentic materials from which they can take information to meet the needs of the Integrated Resource Packages (IRP) as outlined by the Ministry of Education (1996). The stories included can meet the requirements of reading and writing for the Language Arts Program. There is always a shortage of culturally relevant materials for the classrooms in the Gitxsan territories. A s a teacher in the public school system in British Columbia, my intent is to use this study to provide information and materials for teachers working in the classrooms in the Gitxsan Territories. The curriculum documents mandated by the British Columbia Ministry of Education (hereafter, the Ministry of Education) (1996) encourage the use of locally developed resources. The Odyssey of Nuhlx, His Three Brothers and Sister on their journey to free the Gitxsan terroritories wi l l be used as a metaphor to lead the reader on a journey to release the pedagogical significance of stories and storytelling. In the past, Nuhlx, his three brothers and sister captured the feather; today, with this study, I am capturing some of the stories in text and returning the symbolic feathers to say thank you to all my teachers. The study of Gitxsan storytelling rooted in actual "places on the land is presented in seven chapters. The stories serve to show the Gitxsan contributions to history and how I have used them in my teaching. Chapter One began with an excerpt of the story of Nuhlx and his brothers and his sister, as do all the chapters. The Gitxsan culture group was introduced and I placed myself within the cultural group. I reflected on my educational experience and learning 38 to show from where the stories in the document came. I also highlighted the losses of those who attended Residential School compared to my experience. A s the one who remained at home, I speak Sim 'algax and I know the Gitxsan stories. Chapter Two poses the research purposes and begins to show the transitions through which the Gitxsan have passed. The story of Nuhlx and his brothers and sister's voyage is the metaphor for this chapter. I reflect on my odyssey, as I had to leave my village to fulfdl my purpose of taking the stories from their oral place to a place of text. Chapter Three discusses the research methodology utilized and the manner in which the data was collected for this study. The story of Nuhlx and his brothers and sister placing together the bones that fell from the sky wi l l reflect my task of placing the stories into text that came to me from my Elders. This chapter discusses the importance of Indigenous researchers using Indigenous research methods as defined in this study (see Appendix A ) . Chapter Four translates the returning of the feathers to bringing the stories back to the people in an educational setting. Linda Smith (1999) states that research has to be of benefit for the community. The stories in this study are my gift to the Gitxsan children. The Gitxsan oral culture must take advantage of the technology available in order to reach their own and other communities with the important message of who the Gitxsan are, where they have come from and where they are going. Like the feather in earlier times, the Gitxsan stories have returned. Chapter Five presents the experiences and losses of those who attended residential school. A n y research done on GitxsanlYirst Nations people must include the history and devastation of Residential Schools. 39 Chapter Six brings Nuhlx and his brothers and sister to the sleeping "Monster Snake." This metaphor brings the journey of Nuhlx and his brothers and sister full circle. This chapter stresses the significant factors relating to effective utilization of authentic Gitxsan cultural materials in the classroom including the importance of identifying the Gitxsan literature as Gitxsan. The impact of the conflict of cultures, First Nations versus European, viewed through literature using the following themes: culture and education, historical-contemporary background, cultural framing, story telling across the curriculum, bridging, curriculum theory, cultural dynamics, and learning and teaching. Chapter Seven brings Nuhlx and his brothers and sister to their final confrontation as they meet The Woman With the Robe, Cane and Red Eyes. Nuhlx and his brothers and sister are defeated and turned to stone on the mountain. The pillar that was Nuhlx has fallen, and four pillars remain. Within the Gitxsan culture, Sim'algax has fallen and is on the verge of extinction. This chapter discusses the decline of Sim'algax to show how important it is to place the Gitxsan stories in text and have them returned to the Gitxsan territories. This chapter also includes my concluding remarks on the renewal of the pillar of Gitxsan storytelling. 2.8 Significance O f The P rob lem Over three decades ago, the National Indian Brotherhood (1972) strongly advocated that the right to control First Nations education be based on the two principles of "parental responsibility and local control." Their document, Indian Control of Indian Education, insisted that quality education be provided for First Nations learners, but not at the expense of their self-worth and identity. They argued that positive changes in 40 education of First Nations children can only come about through full participation and partnership with First Nations parents, local communities and educational institutions. Their argument continues to resonate among First Nations people. Jeffrey (1999) found that the public school system's inability to understand and meet the needs of First Nations children resulted in many of the First Nations children suffering from a lack of belonging, low self-esteem and the inability to conform to the standards of the public school system. She concluded that, for many generations, the First Nations leaders have been consistent and strong in demanding educational change, but many of the public educational institutions have not responded to the call for change. According to Jeffrey, to continue with this inaction will do injustice to a great majority of First Nations students who have historically been denied an opportunity to develop to their full potential. Many First Nations groups are making some gains in making the education system more conducive to developing the potential of First Nation students. For example, there are band controlled schools, the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP) and similar programs providing role models for developing First Nations teachers, the Nisga'a have their own school district and First Nations language teachers are in many communities. However, curricular and pedagogical approaches have largely been tailored to fit into the traditional Western conceptions of education. This study demonstrates the importance of exploring the call of stories and storytelling as curriculum and pedagogy appropriate for Gitxsan students living in the Gitxsan territories. 41 CHAPTER THREE: THE TASK OF PLACING THE BONES TOGETHER Do the Gitxsan consider their oral culture useful? W i l l there be a loss of cultural identity and oral traditions with the use of technology to relate the culture to the young people? I realize the contradiction in which I have placed the Gitxsan oral tradition. However, I am convinced that I must place the stories in text. The purpose of this study is grounded in my belief that classroom teachers should recognize storytelling in addition to reading and writing, as a valid means of communication and that storytelling is made more valuable when the school incorporates the traditional stories of their Gitxsan students to enhance the students' imagination and creativity. The underlying assumption is that values learned through the use of these particular stories serve to strengthen the identity and self-respect of the students. 3.1 Methodology: The Return Of The Bones (Excerpt from The Odyssey of Nuhlx his Three Brothers and Sister). One night the mother heard a loud roaring noise coming from the sandbar. "Do not get up," she instructed her children, "We wi l l just ignore it; after it is quiet we wi l l go and see what has happened." It sounded like things were dropping on the gunnxhl field at the sandbar. Then after a while it was quiet. The family got off their sleeping mats and went outside and there were the bones of corpses on the gunnxhl field. A l l the bones of the villagers who had disappeared had dropped from the sky. The children placed the bones together because they wanted to see what would happen. The children guessed at who owned what bones and spent several days arranging them. Then the job of putting the bones back together was done. The five children were ready. The little girl took the feather from Nuhlx's headband and walked around the bones.. On the third time around they stopped; the bones stirred. Then the little group went around the fourth time. The bones were humans again. They sat up just l ike they had just woken up and stretched, scratched and 42 yawned, and then they got up and went home, leaving behind Nuhlx and his brothers and sister. But many of the people limped to their houses because the children had not put all the right bones together. The villagers just resumed their lives where they had left off and they had no recollection of what had happened to them. They just thought they had been sleeping and had been awakened from a deep sleep (Smith Mowatt [1988], from a story told by Aspiiyuwa). 3.2 Research Is Instructional In the story of The Odyssey of Nuhlx, His Three Brothers and Sister, five Gitxsan have the task of placing together the bones that fell from the sky. It was my duty in this study to place the bones of the stories together in text and leave them available for the children of the future. Using the idea that narrative is both phenomenon and method, and that the stories of the land reveal the cultural beliefs and perceptions of the Gitxsan, I situated this study within this framework. I used a method of storytelling based on learning and sharing. Storytelling in Indigenous research is both phenomenon and method. In other words, I w i l l research storytelling (the phenomenon) arid use storytelling as research (method). Researching storytelling involved listening to, analyzing and interpreting the stories I gathered from the Gitxsan Elders. Linda Smith (1999) argued that very few have attempted to find out how Indigenous people would interpret, analyze, or question the phenomena they encountered on their life's journey. Therefore, I consulted Hanamuxw, Gitxsan Chief, Elder and advisor for this study, about the interpretations and the perspectives of history that I formed as the basis for this research. She stated that 43 research is instructional. It teaches you new information and adds to your store of knowledge. It has epistemological significance. It also improves the core content of your curriculum material. Teaching is research. It is both a way of being and an ontological orientation. Research is an inquiry that promotes openness and acceptance of new ideas that in turn enhances the teaching experience. Research is an inquiry into the experience of teaching. The Gitxsan have been researching and teaching since time immemorial and now it has found a place in Indigenous research. M y intent is to tease out the epistemological function of stories. Archibald (1997) and Sterling (1997) show us that the lessons from the stories serve an epistemological function. Accordingly, the shared knowledge of welUknown stories establishes the foundation of cultural identity. The Elders of a cultural group select what stories are important, which values to encourage, which heroes to celebrate and what goals are important to pursue. The stories Gitxsan tell about themselves are tools of identity. Using storytelling as research methodology draws from the work of Bruner (1987) who argues that stories and narrative as instruments of research are a telling of events, a recounting of history, and an explanation of self discovery as it moves through time. Bruner states that narrative has organized our world from the beginning of time. He explains that human beings construct two avenues of thought: one is the action; the other is the awareness of those actions. The use of storytelling is how these actions and events are interpreted. When we teach, we tell stories. We tell stories about our disciplines, about the place of these disciplines in the structure of human knowledge. We tell stories about knowledge, about what it is to be a human knower, about how knowledge is made, 44 claimed, and legitimized continuously from and through the experiences of the Gitxsan over time. The stories that we tell are stories built on others' stories; they forge the community between our stories and those of others, to confirm community among others and ourselves, and to initiate others into our communities. It is important to realize that stories are performances as well as narratives. They express and represent. In educational theory we tell stories of teaching, stories that at once reveal, constitute, and confirm the values giving significance to pedagogical acts in our classrooms (Pagano,1990). In addition, I drew from the works of Sterling (1997) and utilized her autobiographical research style as she placed herself along with her family and culture group into her study. I wove my story, my thoughts, reflections, emotions, spirituality and actions within the stories and storytelling of the Elders. Informed by Schon's (1983) work on reflective practice, I explored my way of being as a storyteller/teacher. There is a connection here to the current use of action research in educational settings, where the prevailing descriptions in that action research are research into our practices (See, for example, Peterat and Smith 2001). 3.3 Pedagogy Sterling (1997) makes a compelling case for First Nations' concepts to be successfully implemented witli the existing curriculum. According to her, within the last few decades there has been a paradigm shift that allows First Nations' epistemology to return. She found that the pedagogical principles that appear in many First Nations societies stem from their connection with nature. First Nations' pedagogy acknowledges 45 and promotes interconnections between knowledge and relationships with the land. As each concept is acquired and reflected upon it returns to the self and becomes circular as everything connects to other spirits. In the story, The First Salmon Celebration, the man who is taken by the salmon returns and tells the Gitxsan the laws of the salmon. These laws are still in effect today. Gitxsan pedagogy allows for the implementation of ritual within the society. It is important to realize that there is not just one way to do things, although certain protocols must be observed. For example, upon entering the feast hall in Gitxsan territory certain protocols are observed. A chief is called to his/her place with great ceremony. If these protocols were not acknowledged, then the feast hall would be just another dwelling. Protocol defines the rituals of the culture. Protocol respects the importance of yahlxw wila yeet', luu hix hogix and naadahahlhakwhlinhl. Since time immemorial the Gitxsan have based their activities on the changing seasons, the cycle of birth and growth on the territories. Erickson (1996) states that the land, and the Gitxsan connection and relationship to the land, serve as the primary source for learning observational skills, analytical skills and comparative skills. 3.4 Looking At Mainstream Research What is research? There is no clear, unambiguous answer available. Some would characterize it as disciplined inquiry, others would say it is a process of discovery, a scientific investigation, a deliberate learning, a searching and searching again. In the past, researchers have come to the Gitxsan Territories with their research questions and their assumptions and their points of view well established. The research is not connected to the community's needs. The research belongs to the guest researcher. 46 Many of the outside researchers report on the Gitxsan in ways much as what Singh (1994) described as Orientalism whereby outsiders became the authority on the culture without the deep understanding that come from knowing the language. Singh (1994) explores the relationship between cultural identity and questions of literary and textual representation. Her study discusses how we talk and write, teach and learn about differences that remain unresolved issues in many classrooms. Singh argues that colonization is not satisfied with holding people in its grip; it has to empty their brains of all form and content. It turns to the past of oppressed people and distorts, disfigures and destroys. This is evident in the lives of the people who have not resisted: the despair that is turned inwards becomes self-hatred and hatred of others. These differences remain unresolved issues in schools. Others are measured against the myth of a rational white European male self. Singh's criticism is not of the "white male," but of the symbolic white male in cultural and literary production. The colonized person always remained the "Other" of the Western subject. Singh speaks from the voice of a colonized person. When Singh first began her academic writing, readers of her writing claimed that she was not using her authentic voice. Singh was told she wrote like a white, middle-class male; her.gender and ethnic voice had been suppressed. This was all a contradiction of that which she was told as a child, when she was told not to speak her first language (Punjabi). She was expected to be like everyone else. When she was successful in the dominant way of writing research, the rules changed; now what was wanted was her ethnic accent. The dilemma was that Singh did not know how to incorporate ethnic difference within a text except from the voice of a powerless victim. 47 The celebration of Singh's "difference" was organized from the dominant group's view in order to keep her and other members of oppressed groups excluded from the language and cultural practices of the dominant society. Through these language maneuvers the "difference" was appropriated, staged and then negated. The ethnic difference became just another individual difference. Smith (1999) demonstrates that mainstream researchers frame their study in such a way that the emphasis is on a "deficit" model based on the individual rather than on examining systemic problems that exist in the environment. Many mainstream researchers often fail to realize the broader picture in which the culture exists. The researchers describe, analyze, and interpret phenomena based on their own beliefs and assumptions. The intellectual property of the Indigenous group is not protected. In comparing the work of non-First Nations and First Nations researchers, Deloria Jr. (1995) explains that the major difference between the views lies in the evidence that what First Nations people accept as histories is interpreted by the Western system as mythology, legend and superstition. There is no question in my mind of the truths that I have been taught. The stories and the culture define who I am. 3.5 A New Direction In both Smith (1997) and Singh (1994), the pace and direction of cultural development were determined by the colonized, rather than the colonizers. This is not to say that the colonized wished to assimilate the colonizers, but to come to an understanding of the past and acceptance of the new method. There is a process of 48 decolonization for the colonized and the colonizer. It liberates the colonized from the shackles of control by an oppressive, dominating, and paternalistic society. Decolonization also liberates the colonizers from the colonial mentality and preoccupation with control. In addition, decolonization education fosters understanding, tolerance, and respect and gives a direction on how to resolve the issues about teaching and learning differences in the classroom. The result would be a balanced education. 3.6 Indigenous Research: W h a t Is It? Smith defines Indigenous research as a method to decolonize and as a tool to transform history into justice. History is about power. The powerful need their story in order to continue to dominate others. While this continues, Indigenous people continue to be colonized. Smith explains that with Indigenous research, the researcher has to justify and clarify his/her intentions. Smith (1999), using Harding's definition of methodology, states that methodology provides a theoretical framework, frames the questions being asked, determines the set of instruments and methods to be employed, and shapes the analysis. Because I have described this study as Indigenous knowledge, I studied the works of Linda Smith (1999), Singh (1994) and Archibald (1997) to attempt to understand what comprised the method. The experiences of these three authors have helped me to move away from Western mainstream research methods to place my study in the context of Indigenous methodology. Smith helped me to recognize the validity of Indigenous research. I set out to write my Elders' stories to meet the requirements of the university and in the 49 process I became accountable to the Gitxsan of the past, present and future. Singh contributed to my understanding of Indigenous methodology as she articulated her experience that the voice of the researcher had to be authentic. The voice of the researched needed to be their own. Archibald helped me discover the power of the stories as a way of being. Her "storybasket" guided this study as she demonstrated the use of stories and storytelling as a form of pedagogy. Storytelling has become an essential part of Indigenous methodology. Equipped with this knowledge I have taken the Gitxsan stories and developed a Gitxsan/Indigenous story based curriculum. In addition, I have used the method of the Gitxsan storytellers, in that the storytellers sometimes interrupt the story to give guidance, make a statement or connect with an ancient teaching. In the story of Reincarnation, the storyteller stops and counsels the listeners that i f they are going through a bad time, not to do anything hasty. The listeners are cautioned to wait until the mountains or the insurmountable problems that have closed in on them pass and fade (see Chapter 4). I interrupt the telling of my stories and connect them to the outside forces such as residential schools and the irrelevant curriculum that have moved in on the Gitxsan and threaten to silence the stories. Indigenous research has given me a way to remove the mountains that have closed in on the Gitxsan for too long. 50 C H A P T E R F O U R : STORIES IN T E X T Too often the stories of the Gitxsan are marginalized and not a part of the main thesis. I wanted the stories to be in the main part of the thesis and not listed as an appendix. The stories of the Gitxsan, in text have to be placed in the predominant libraries of the country, in order for all to see the great contribution of the Gitxsan storytellers. The need for knowledge, self-awareness, support, and growth to restore balance for Gitxsan is examined through the stories and cultural beliefs. 4.1 Adaawk If one is to show respect to the Gitxsan culture, it is important to know about the adaawk and the ant'imalhlasxw. This is essential in order to respect the property of others. The adaawk of the Gitxsan are very important to the culture and society. The adaawk are personal bloodline histories of the Gitxsan. They tell about the house group, whose members are descended through a line of women; adaawk involve their stories, their crests and their territories. They tell of the past and of identity. The adaawk are the personal properties of each house group. Therefore, one cannot write or discuss the adaawk,of another house group. Being ignorant of the adaawk puts one at risk of unintentionally breaking the Gitxsan laws. Artists cannot use the ayuxws (crests) that are integral to an adaawk unless the chief who owns the story commissions them. 4.2 Ant'imahlasxw The ant 'imahlasxw, on the other hand, are the stories and properties of all the Gitxsan. The ant'imalhlasxw are used to instruct, inform, guide and entertain the listeners. The ant'imalhlasxw often have implicit lessons which the listener has to infer. 51 Storytellers, teachers and writers can use the ant'imahlasxw. Artists can use the ant'imalhlasxw in their carvings, their jewelry, paintings, illustrations and artwork. 4.3 Giving Direction In teaching my students I often guide them by examining the lessons from the stories for them. I teach my students to fthink about the lessons and apply it to their own experiences. Archibald (1997) suggests that to prepare students to listen to a story, a song is sung. This sets the atmosphere for the children. They are involved and attentive to the storyteller. To begin my story in the classroom, I turn off the lights. I finish the telling and switch on the lights. I then help the children write the story. Then I move away from the re-writing of the story and have the children look at the story from the different perspectives of the characters. Then they write poetry, letters, messages or I have them illustrate the story. The"" stories in text tell the'Gitxsan where they have come from. In order to examine the question Where are we going? the educators need to explore the meanings and significance of their stories in the context of the Gitxsan worldview, which includes, luu hix hogix, yahlxw wila yeet' and naadahahlhakwhlinhl. The educators need to examine how beliefs and value systems are formed and reinforced through traditional learning and spiritual practices passed from generation to generation through stories, ceremonies, and celebrations. The impact of European contact placed layers of influence on traditional beliefs and practices. The need for knowledge, self-awareness, support, and growth to restore 52 balance for the Gitxsan is examined through the stories and suggestions are made for the focus that educators can use. Archibald (1997) stresses the importance of stories and making meaning from them. She notes that the principles of respect, responsibility, reciprocity, reverence, wholism, synergy and interconnectedness are connected to the stories and to the teller and listeners. The seven categories of the stories were taken from the philosophy wheel of the Gitxsan (see Figure 5). A short discussion about the teachings follows each story. This is so the readers can search out other lessons that apply to their lives. 53 4.4 Adventure Stories The Oddessy Of Nuhlx, His Three Brothers And Sister It was in a northern village in the Gitxsan Territories where this story took place. People stayed close to the village because of the monsters that surrounded the territories. There was a sandbar at the lower part of the village. The sandbar extended out a great distance. It was flat and large. This was where the young people played gunnxhl. The sticks were made from hazelnut bushes and were shaped like the hockey sticks of today. The ball was made from deerskin wrapped around a small rock. The young people played gunnxhl all day. They cheered and hollered encouragement to each other as other activities and tasks were neglected. They played gunnxhl until the daylight was gone. The young people played and played. Sometimes they would stop playing when one got hungry and they would eat fish and start again. The Elders would ask the young people to come and help with food preparations, but their cries fell on deaf ears. The gunnxhl players said that they were taking advantage of the long summer days. They played and played. They did this every summer. Then one year while they were playing someone spotted a beautiful feather, brilliant with the colours of the rainbow. It floated above them while they played. The feather swayed over them as it floated downward and then upward again. The players wore woven cedar headbands to keep their long hair in place while they played. One rather foolish young man was lured by the beauty of the feather, so he grabbed at it to place in his headband. He caught the feather and soon his legs were dangling in the air. The feather was lifting him and he could not let go. 54 Another boy ran to his rescue to pull him down only to find that he too was attached to his friend's legs. Others ran to help and soon all the gunnxhX players were stuck to each other. The beautiful feather floated upward and the group became larger. Then the women in the village saw what was happening. Even though they had their babies tied to their backs, they ran to help. They tugged, thinking that i f there was more weight the feather would break away, but when they grabbed at the legs, they too were attached. Then the old people came to help, old women and old men were also stuck. The feather seemed to realize that there was no one left and it lifted all the people from the village upward and disappeared into the sky. Meanwhile, in a little house a young girl sat completing her puberty rites. She was alone and out of water. Strips of leather were attached from her little house to the main house. The leather strips had deer hooves attached to the ends in her parent's house. One strip had a wood chip tied to it, another had a little water basket, another dried fish and meat and the last string had berries. The young girl pulled at the string for water. One of the women from the main house would come and see her with the provisions. Only women were allowed to tend to the girls in the puberty house. She waited. After all , her mother always came to check on her. The young girl was very thirsty so she pulled at the leather strips again to make the deer hooves clatter in the main house. She thought maybe something was wrong with the water leather strip so she tested the string for dried fish and meat and then the leather strip for berries. She was afraid so she just kept pulling on the strings. The young girl became alarmed, knowing that things were not right. So she dressed and tied her little blanket to her waist. She put on her cape with a large hood. She left the puberty shelter to go and investigate. She pulled the hood over 55 her head and lowered her eyes to the ground so she would not look on the mountain. It was taboo for girls in puberty to gaze at the mountain for a year. If she were to gaze at the mountaintop she would be cursed with blindness at an early age. Looking down at her feet, the young girl left the puberty shelter looking for someone or a sign of what had happened. The young girl went to her parents' house. When she saw that no one was there, she began crying. She knew something had happened because everything had been left. No one had prepared for a journey. She went down to the sandbar at the lower end of the village. She saw all the gunnxhl sticks strewn about but knew that the young men would not have left their game. She cried and she wiped her tears and the nuits (mucus) from her nose on her little blanket that she wore like an apron. She could not find anyone so she cried as she walked. Again she wiped her tears and nuits on her little blanket that she wore like an apron. She walked around the house and village looking to see i f anyone was alive and she cried as she walked. There was no one around, not even an old person. The village had been wiped out. She cried for all the people. She found a masxwagwa lo 'op (red rock). She picked it up and walked around the house. Absentmindedly, she placed masxwagwa lo'op in her little blanket that she wore like an apron, guided by the spirits who were helping her during her time of puberty. She left the house and her crying never ceased. She kept wiping her tears and nuits on her apron that now carried the masxwagwa lo'op. She entered another house and found a mahumim lo 'op (stone file). She placed it in the apron alongside the masxwagwa lo 'op. She wandered back outside, and entered another silent house, where she found skants 'ook' (chokecherry branch) which was used to make handles for the stone knives. 56 She cried, always wiping her tears and nuits on her little apron. She wandered from house to house feeling very lonely and very sad. It was so strange that everyone was gone; she could not understand it. She entered the last house and found a K'olim lo 'op (gutting knife made from stone). She took it and placed it next to her belly in the little blanket apron. She cried the whole time and continued to wipe her nuits on her belly. She went back to her parent's house and she took out her little findings from her apron. She played with the items for a short time and placed them back into her little blanket apron. The little fire was still burning but she had to fan the embers. She had lived in her parent's house before going to the puberty house. She started re-arranging her parent's house. She took the boards and made a partition by the fireplace where she would sleep. There was plenty of food in her parent's house. There were no taboos about berries but it was taboo for young women to eat fresh meat or fish. It had to be dried. Her breaking the law would bring bad luck to the hunters but there were no hunters around. Trout was not allowed for these young girls. This was for one full year. After the year was up she was allowed to eat whatever she desired. This was the law she thought as she ate fresh trout and rabbit meat. She set the taboos aside as she looked at the mountaintops and snared rabbits. What else could she do? It was against the laws; but she was alone. It was late fall and winter was approaching. She made all her preparations for the long winter ahead of her. She set in firewood, piling the wood in her house. She had forgotten the nuits and the other items she had placed in her apron by her belly. It was completely gone from her memory. Then one day she noticed that her belly 57 was swelling. She was astonished. After all , there was no one around. There was no man to visit her in the night. She knew she was going to have a baby. She went to where the moss grew, picked it and put it on the rocks to dry. This was what she would use for diapers. Then she moved the dried moss up to her mother's house. She made blankets for the baby from rabbit skins. Why was she to going to have a child? Suddenly, she remembered how she had wiped her nuits on her blanket that she wore like an apron and how she had placed the items in the apron next to her belly. The items had disappeared. She made preparations for the birth of a child. She brought in water when she felt her time was near. This was after a long time. She placed everything near her. She placed rocks near the fire so she could heat them and placed them in the earth. The young girl did all this to prepare for the birth. She had her baby. It was a boy. She took the baby and wrapped him with moss and rabbit fur. In a little while another child was born. It was a boy. There were four boys and one girl. She named her babies after the items that she had placed in her apron. The first was Nuhlx named for the nuits she had wiped on her apron. The second was Maswgwa lo 'op which means red rock, the third was Mahumim lo 'op named after the stone file, Skants 'ook' was the chokecherry branch and Kolim lo 'op, the little girl, was named for the gutting knife. The Gitxsan had a birthing place. The ground was dug and hot rocks were arranged in there and boards placed on top. After a woman had a baby she would lay on this bed of warmth to warm her back and cleanse her womb. The new mother lay on the birthing bed of hot rocks. Her five babies lay beside her. She would sit up and put wood into the fireplace. She had food close by. It did not take long and she recovered. She was strong again. She ate so her five babies could eat. These children grew very quickly. 58 Then she started feeding them broth from fish and meat. She fed them fish and meat with her spoon that was a stick with a circular tip. Soon the children were walking. It was springtime. The snow was melting quickly this springtime. She explained to the children that she would go and get them some food. " Y o u wi l l all stay in bed until I get home," she said, not explaining that she had a great fear but did not know what it was. The children obeyed their mother and stayed in bed. The mother set off in the early morning and she was gone for a long time. When she returned home, the children were still in bed. They were allowed to get out of bed. The mother cooked and they ate. They were forever eating. She did not let them go outdoors. When she did let them out, she made them walk directly to the forest path with her. The children grew quickly, because they were supernatural beings. She did not allow them to venture down to the large sandbar on the beach. The children grew and helped their mother as she prepared salmon. The children saw the gunnxhl sticks on the beach many times. Their mother always with great fear sent them away from the sandbar. One morning, while their mother slept, the children were drawn"to the sandbar and they could not resist. Even the little girl joined in the game. The mother woke when she heard the noise and the cheering of the game. She got up and saw that they were playing gunnxhl on the sandbar. If only she had burned the sticks. She called them to come and eat. They ate quickly and ran back to the sandbar to continue the game. The mother did not know what to do. She knew that something happened to the people in the village when they played the game. She knew something would happen to them also. She warned the children that something would happen but they did not heed. The 5 9 children no longer helped their mother. The just played gunnxhl. They started playing as children and they became adolescents. That is how long they played. Then the dreaded day arrived and the feather returned. It shimmered as it floated above the players. Nuhlx had established himself as the best player but he was losing and blamed the feather for distracting him. Nuhlx grabbed at the feather and stuck it in his headband. Soon his legs were dangling in midair. Nuhlx turned into a mess of green slime, but the feather did not get disgusted. His brother, Maswgwa lo 'op ran to Nuhlx's rescue. The boy changed into a rock and grew and grew and turned into a huge boulder to try and help Nuhlx. The boulder was like a pebble to the beautiful feather. Mahnim lo 'op went to the rescue next, thinking that the extra weight would cause the feather to fall to the ground. L ike the first group taken by the feather, the children did not see the string from which the feather was attached. Then came Skants' ook'. He grabbed at his brother's legs and changed into a tree and his roots grew into the ground, but the feather uprooted him. Their sister K'olim' lo'op screamed while she sharpened her hands on Mahnim lo 'op. She knew she was a broken knife and she was filing her blade. The little girl ran climbing up on her brothers she stood on Nuhlx's shoulders and reached around for the invisible string. She did not know what she was doing. She grabbed and cut. Those who were hanging fell to the earth. They were in their supernatural forms, the items their mother had placed in her apron. Nuhlx's original form was smeared on the feather. K'olim' lo 'op took her four bothers and placed them side by side; she took the feather and went around her brothers while holding the feather high over her head. She wanted to see what would happen. The third time she circled around them, they started to move. They were human form 60 again, but not awake. The little girl went around again a fourth time and her brothers sat up. They stretched and yawned like they had just awakened from a deep sleep. They got up and K'olim' lo 'op took her feather and stuck it in her hair. They went home. They finally quit playing gunnxhl. The children never did return to the sandbar after that day. -i. They helped their mother,once again. • . One night the mother heard a loud roaring noise coming from the sandbar. "Do not get up," she instructed her children, "We will just ignore it, after it is quiet we will go and see what has happened." The children did as they were told and lay quietly on their sleeping mats. It sounded like things were dropping on the gunnxhl field at the sandbar. Then after awhile it was quiet. The family got off their sleeping mats and went outside and there were the bones of corpses on the gunnxhl field. All the bones of the villagers who had disappeared dropped from the sky. The Naxnok (supernatural spirit) who had taken them let them go after his fishing line was cut. It annoyed the Naxnok to hear them playing gunnxhl all day below Him. That is why He let down the fishing line. The children placed the bones together. They wanted to see what would happen. The bones had been gone for a long time to xsim lax ha (place in the sky). The children guessed at who owned what bones and spent several days arranging them. It was at this time that Nuhlx decided that he was the oldest and the boss of the feather. He took it away from the little girl and placed it in his woven cedar headband. Then the job of putting the bones back together was done. The five children were ready. The little girl took the feather from Nuhlx's headband and walked around the bones. On the third time around they stopped, the bones stirred. Then the little group went around the fourth time. The bones were humans again. They sat up just like they just woke up and stretched, 61 scratched and yawned. Then they got up and went home, leaving behind Nuhlx and his brothers and sister. But many of the people limped to their houses because the children had not put all the right bones together. This was the beginning of the Gitxsan being born with handicaps. The villagers just resumed their lives where they had left off and they had no recollection of what had happened. They just thought they were sleeping and awakened from a deep sleep. Nuhlx and his siblings returned to their mother's house. She was overjoyed with the return of her people. It was not long before there were whispers in the village about the strange children. A l l of them were the same age. Who was their father? Was it a monster? The mother was sad about this and she tried to shield her children but it was of no use. The children knew that they had to leave the village. They knew they had a purpose to fulfil l . Nuhlx and his siblings decided to set off into the territories that were guarded by different monsters. They would go and destroy the monsters that did not allow the Gitxsan to venture out any great distance on the territories. The five youngsters hardly seemed adequate to face the challenges that plagued the Gitxsan Territories. Nuhlx and his brothers and sister did not pack a lot of food for the journey. They left all the food they had prepared for their mother. They had explicit instructions from the spirit guide. The Naxnok who was watching over them had informed them of what they would need. They took just enough food for one meal. Their food would be provided by the spirit watching over them. They had the feather for their power. 62 The Fisherman The five children walked a great distance until they came upon an old man who was fishing with a net. There was no river. It bothered Nuhlx that the old man was fishing where there was no river. "Oh, then," Nuhlx said, " A n d what wi l l you catch old man." Nuhlx's sister quickly grabbed for the feather before Nuhlx could get into trouble. "Oh brother, brother," replied the fisherman, "I think Nuhlx is the swimmer." The old man was making fun of Nuhlx's supernatural form. Nuhlx charged at the old man by the fish trap. Nuhlx kicked the old man down into an abandoned cellar. Then the old man would walk back and be sitting in the same place. The frustrated Nuhlx kept kicking at the fisherman and he would be right back where he was sitting. Nuhlx was defeated. Nuhlx and his brothers and sister could not see the old man was really a spider in human form. Grandmother . ,. A light rain was falling but they continued on their journey. It was springtime in the Gitxsan Territories. Nuhlx and his brothers and sister walked a great distance and they came upon two little raccoons. Nuhlx quickly killed the raccoons. They built a fire using two wil low branches to start a flame. They fed the flame with pitch and chopped cedar bark that was as soft as cotton fluff. They placed the raccoons on a stick and barbecued them by the fire. The young people should not have done this. They ate and put out their fire and left the camp but the fire did not go out. They walked on and they came to a house. Nuhlx stood at the door and coughed, as this was the custom. A woman 6 3 came to the door and asked, "Oh, did you see your little relations, my children? They went to fetch wood and have not returned," said the woman, who was really a raccoon. The family had entered the home of a raccoon. It looked like a real house. It was like a Gitxsan house. The woman in the house looked like a Gitxsan. "No ," replied Nuhlx, " A l l we saw were two little raccoons which I clubbed and we ate them," Nuhlx said. The woman started to slide on the floor, "m,m, m,m, m," she chanted. The woman sliding and chanting was sealing the house to trap them. Nuhlx quickly grabbed the magic feather and jumped out the smokehole but Maswgwa lo'op, Mahumim lo'op, Skants'ook' and Kolim lo'op were trapped in the house. Nuhlx knew that they should not have killed the raccoons. Their meals would always be provided. Nuhlx ran to where they had picnicked. The fire was still burning. Nuhlx threw the bones of the raccoons into the fire and drank water to spit out at the raccoon bones. Nuhlx went around the raccoons with the feather and they were alive again. He gathered up some wood and made packs for the raccoons and sent them home. Nuhlx returned home with the raccoon children. "Granny, Granny, open the door," the raccoon children cried, "Why is your door sealed?" The woman slid in the opposite direction and the door opened. Nuhlx's family could finally leave the house and went on their way. This was a sample for Nuhlx and his family of the greater challenges ahead. They continued their journey. The Naxnojc Spirit Guide It was almost dark. Nuhlx and his four brothers and sister were below a slide area on the mountain. It was still covered with snow. Below it was a little cabin. They could 64 see smoke coming from the smoke hole. They stood outside the cabin. A voice called out, "Enter i f you are the ones who wi l l defeat the obstacles of the territories." She was their Naxnok spirit guide. She was the one who knew. Nuhlx went ahead of the others. After al l , he was the oldest. The little girl entered last. The woman was a heyuxw (soul of the dead) who would foretell of the challenges that waited for them. The Naxnok spirit guide explained to the youngsters that many had gone before them to try and defeat the terrible monsters surrounding the territories, but they had not returned. She explained that they would come through all the obstacles and open up the territories for the Gitxsan. She explained that she did not know what would happen when they met the tall woman wearing the robe and carrying a cane. The Naxnok spirit guide knew, but she did not wish to tell. 'Tomorrow," she said, "you wi l l meet a man, he is the first challenge." Finger Wrestler The children set out the next day happy to be on their way. The Naxnok spirit gave them enough food for one meal. They walked for a long time before they came upon a man sitting at the eastern canyon. This was the first challenge. The Gitxsan had not been able to go to this place to hunt, trap or fish in this place because of the finger wrestler who lived here. Here was the man who challenged and killed all who tried to pass. A l l who had tried had fallen to their deaths. The finger wrestler reached out his large finger to challenge the youngsters who stood on the opposite side of the canyon. The wrestler laughed as he shouted out his challenge to a young boy. Nuhlx went over and they locked their middle fingers and Nuhlx was pulled off the cliff. The finger wrestler looked down on the green mucus on his finger. He flung it off onto the rocks below. Maswgwa lo 'op ran to the challenge. He called on his power. Maswgwa lo'op 65 locked fingers and the wrestler fell to his death in the river crushed by a huge boulder that was Maswgwa lo'op's power. This was Maswgwa lo'op's victory. K'olim 'lo 'op had pulled the feather from Nuhlx's headband before Nuhlx could get into trouble. She picked up the little red rock that was Maswgwa lo 'op and placed it beside the green mass that was Nuhlx and danced circling around the two brothers four times. Nuhlx and Maswgwa lo 'op sat up and yawned. They took food enough for one meal from the wrestler's house. The spirit helper had instructed them to take the food enough for only one camp and burn the house to sacrifice each challenge they defeated. The youngsters cremated the finger wrestler. The little band of young people followed the instructions of the wise one. M a n With Lice The little family of four boys and a girl walked on to their next adventure early the next morning. It was evening when they came to a clearing in the vast wilderness, a huge meadow. A t the north end of the meadow they could see a shelter and smoke was coming from the smoke hole. According to the one who foretold all things, this would be the man with the lice. Nuhlx and his family stood outside the shelter, Nuhlx coughed loudly to attract attention, as was the custom. "Enter, enter, enter, my dear ones," a voice spoke from inside. Nuhlx, of course, was the first one to enter. K'olim' lo'op was last. The host instructed the young people to sit and they did as they were told. The little girl quickly took the feather and placed it in her woven cedar headband before Nuhlx could start a disturbance. The man fed the children as his lice moved on his head. 66 The host and his guests started to eat. The host with his hair moving with lice served fine meat, and berries for dessert. A l l the food that was available to the people at that time was served. It was a fine evening meal. The young people sat with the host after their dinner. It was at this time that Nuhlx decided to whisper to Maswgwa lo 'op, "Look at his lice," "Look at his lice," "Look at his lice." Maswgwa lo'op told Nuhlx to be quiet, the host might hear him. Gradually Nuhlx got louder. " L o o k at his l ice ." " L o o k at his l ice ," he shouted. The host who had lots of lice grabbed at Nuhlx. He rubbed Nuhlx on his lice, as this was the way he killed people. Nuhlx changed to his original form and the disgusted host flung the massive slime to the corner of the shelter. The man with lice snatched Maswgwa lo 'op, he pressed Maswgwa lo 'op to his head and Maswgwa lo 'op transformed to his original form. The man's lice and head were crushed and once again Maswgwa lo 'op defeated the adversary that had blocked off the Gitxsan Territories for so long. The man whose head was crawling with lice died. Once his lice were dead, he was defeated. Maswgwa lo 'op and Nuhlx lay on the ground in their original form. Again K'olim 'lo 'op took the feather and circled her brothers four times. They sat up as i f they just woke up and yawned and stretched. The brothers and sister went to bed and slept and in the morning they ate their morning meal and took food enough for one camp. Again , they collapsed the shelter and burned all the contents including the dead man. This was the custom. The Gitxsan always burn dead humans and animals to transfer their spirits to the spirit world. The family left the meadow after they completed their mission. They journeyed on throughout the day until they came to a creek. They sat to eat the 67 food they had taken from the man with lice. They continued their journey because they knew they were close to reaching their next destination. The Man With Two Heads It was early evening when they came to a shelter; they stood outside waiting to be acknowledged. A man's voice bid them enter. Once again Nuhlx was the first to enter. A man with two heads seated them and started to prepare their evening meal. The host served fine dishes of meat, fish and berries. There was plenty of food and the young people ate until they were full. The youngsters watched with fascination as the man fed his two mouths. It was then that Nuhlx decided to whisper quietly to Maswgwa lo 'op, "Look at that man's two heads, Look at that man's two heads, Look at that man's two heads." The fourth time Nuhlx shouted loudly, "Look at that man's two heads." Maswgwa lo 'op warned Nuhlx to be quiet. It was too late the man with two heads slammed A/w&tLbetween his two heads. This is how he killed his opponents in the past. Again Nuhlx was in his original form and was smeared down the sides of the two heads. The man aimed the mass of green mucus towards the open doorway of the shelter. Before Maswgwa lo'op could run to Nuhlx's rescue the man with two heads took him and pressed him between his two heads. Maswgwa lo 'op turned into a boulder and ripped the two heads apart. The man with two heads died. Once again, the little girl took the feather that was their power and circled around her two brothers four times and they were alive again. In the morning 6 8 they burned the shelter with the dead man inside. This was the instruction from the spirit guide. They had taken enough food for one meal and they walked on to their next task. The Man With The Bandaged Leg It was evening when they approached the shelter of the man with the bandaged leg. The young people could see that there was a fire burning inside the shelter. They approached the shelter of spruce boughs and once again stood outside waiting to hear a voice bid them enter. The man inside invited them to enter. The young people went in and found a man with a bandaged leg. The man with the bandaged leg was cooking. He was cooking enough for six people as if he had been expecting them. He served the young guests with fine cuts of meat and fish and berries for dessert. Once again it was Nuhlx who started to misbehave. Nuhlx started out quietly telling Maswgwa lo 'op to look at the bandaged leg of the host. Maswgwa lo 'op tried to make Nuhlx stop whispering and aggravating the host. Nuhlx got louder and the host became annoyed. The host was angry but he didn't move. He was going to wait for the guests to sleep. The host gave the visitors sleeping mats and blankets and the family slept by the fire. Nuhlx was the closest to the fire because he was the oldest, then Maswgwa lo 'op, beside him was Mahumim lo 'op, then Skants 'ook\ and finally K'olim 'lo'op was the furthest from the warmth of the fire. The family did not trust the host so they pretended to be asleep. The host believed that they were sleeping. The young people had walked a great distance and had eaten a large meal. The host started to unwrap the bandage on his leg. Nuhlx's snores became louder as he secretly watched the host. The family had their backs to the fireplace and they 69 could watch the host while he unwrapped his leg at the far wall of the shelter. The man walked over to the fire behind them and started to heat his leg. The leg shone in the firelight. The man then planted the leg behind Nuhlx, and cut him with the leg that was like a sword. A huge green mass that was Nuhlx's original form was smeared on the metal leg. The host discarded the mess towards the door. When the host charged at Maswgwa lo 'op, the knife hit against a rock. The blade splintered against Maswgwa lo'op's back. The man returned to his sleeping mat and once again sharpened the blade, using his hands. Maswgwa lo'op pretended he was asleep as he snored just as loudly as Nuhlx had. The man went over and kicked Maswgwa lo'op in the back. From Maswgwa lo'op's back grew a bigger boulder. The man's blade broke and splintered into little pieces. The man died. K'olim 'lo'op took the feather and once again put her brothers side by side and circled around them four times and they were humans once again. In the morning the family burned the shelter with the man in it, and took enough food for the day. They left the burned remains and set off to meet with the man with witchcraft powers. The M a n With Haldowgit Powers The little group walked a great distance and they came to a spring and decided it would be a good place to stop. They built a fire; they had to blacken the stick like the Naxnok spirit had informed them. It was time to make the haldowgit staff. The woman had given them the cedar bark and mas (red ochre). The five youngsters took the blackened staff and wrapped the cedar bark around the end of it and painted the tips of the cedar red with the mas. Once they completed this they set off once again ready to 70 meet the Haldowgit. The young people waited until it was dark before they approached the shelter. They did not want the Haldowgit to see the haldowgit staff that they had made. The young people entered when the occupant of the shelter bade them enter. The Haldowgit was very happy to see visitors. The host fed his guests, as this was the custom. Nulhx looked around and remained very quiet because there was nothing for him to discuss and ridicule. The host seemed like a fine gentleman with refined manners. The host gathered mats and furs and gave them to his guests for their bedding. The host went outside to relieve himself before going to his bed mat. Nuhlx quickly exchanged the host's haldowgit staff with the one they had made. Nuhlx and his family members once again pretended to be sleeping with their loud snores and slow even breathing. The host was also pretending that he was asleep. The five on their mats by the fire were watching. The host finally sure that the family was sleeping went to the corner and picked up the staff. The host waved the fringes of cedar bark over the fire. Nuhlxjwas snoring loudly with his mouth wide open. The man waved the fringes of cedar bark over Nuhlx's mouth. Nuhlx continued to snore loudly. The Haldowgit tried again and moved over to where Masgwa-hlgu-lo 'op was sleeping. The man swayed the fringes tinted with mas over Masgwa-hlgu-lo'op's mouth and Masgwa-hlgu-lo'op stirred and moved onto his side. The Haldowgit tried all the family and he could not steal their breath. Finally, he placed his staff in the corner and went to his bed mat on the floor on the far side of the shelter. The Naxnok spirit who had counseled the young people had told them that when 71 the man was sleeping sparks came out of his nose. Then when he moved into a deeper sleep the sparks stopped. Once again it was Nuhlx who took the real Haldowgit staff and all the family members stood by as Nuhlx gently moved the fringes of cedar bark tinged with mas by the man's mouth and robbed him of his breath. The man was dead, killed by his own evil staff. The group returned to their bed mats and slept soundly until early morning. The group took the food they would need for their evening meal and burned the house, the contents and the Haldowgit. Most of the territories were now open to the Gitxsan. The mission that the little family had set out to accomplish was near completion. They would now make their way to the snake. The Monster Snake Their journey had almost completed a circle around the territories and they were now at the base of Sdikyoodenax. Here they ate and rested. K'ohlim 'lo 'op would cry out and rub her hands on her brother, Mahumin-lo 'op and place them over the fire to warm them. This was her way of sharpening her knife blade. It was K'ohlim'lo'op who would challenge the monster snake. The Naxnok spirit who had predicted all their events had told them that the snake was small like a garter snake when it was sleeping but if it were awake, it would be the monster snake. It was fortunate that the group found the snake sleeping on a warm rock. With a loud scream K'ohlim'lo'op charged at the sleeping snake with her hands as knife blades and cut off the small snake's head and tail. The snake transformed into its massive size, but it was dead. The huge head flew off into a northerly direction and landed at Gisgegas Lake. The snake's tail flew off towards the south and landed in 72 T'axim Sdikyoodenax. K'ohlim'lo'op defeated the snake and she was on the ground as her original form. Holding the feather over his head and with great ceremony, Nuhlx circled K'ohlim 'lo 'op four times and she returned to her human form. Woman With The Robe, Cane And Red Eyes The family set off again but a low fog had drifted down from Sdikyoodenax. The little family made their ascent up the mountain path. They had almost reached the summit when they heard what sounded like the clanging of a huge bell. It was the footsteps of their next and final challenge. The group stood and waited but they could not explain the nature of the sound they heard. They walked away from the direction of the sound. They wanted to escape from this unfamiliar sound. Their spirit guide had not foretold what they should do in this situation. The youngsters would stop and move again in another direction, but there was no escape possible. They saw a gigantic woman coming towards them, her red fiery eyes piercing into their souls. The woman was covered in a huge cape with a hood and she carried a cane. When the woman opened her eyes fire would pour out of them. She would close her eyes and the fire stopped. Nuhlx and his brothers and sister tried to run, but there was nowhere to go, so they stood and faced the giant. The woman used her eyes and melted the rock over Nuhlx and his family and covered them with the melted rock and in so doing she destroyed herself. Here is where Nuhlx, Masgwa-hlgu-lo'op, Maawnim-lo'op, Skants'ook' and K'ohlim' lo 'op died. This story is also written in Sim 'algax (see Appendix D). 73 Guidance A n d Challenges The frames of Nuhlx, Mas gwa-hlgu-lo'op, Maawnim-lo'op, Skants'ook' and K'ohlim 'lo'op formed five mountain peaks that sit near the top of Sdikyoodenax. The mountain peak that was Nuhlx has fallen and when the other four fall, the Gitxsan believe it will be the end of the world. There are many lessons to be learned from this story. In addition, there are cultural practices, beliefs and customs woven throughout the story. This story can be used to encourage students to take on leadership roles, own up to their responsibilities, and face the challenges life offers them. Gitxsan Elders always teach the children to act like they are unaware of unusual occurrences. The children are instructed to look away from strange looking people and strange events and not speak of them. Eyes are to be cast downward so as not to bring attention to a person who was different. Although I was never instructed, I always knew as a child that I did not want to be like Nuhlx. The children meeting the supernatural spirit guide reminds us that we will know what we need to know when it is needed. The Gitxsan are constantly reminded through stories that they were born with this knowing, it is a gift from the Creator. The many antics that Nuhlx performed throughout the journey are very humorous. While it is very amusing, the story shows the persistence and courage of Nuhlx. All the events were surrounded with spirituality and oneness with the land. This story connects with all the values shown in the philosophy wheel of the Gitxsan (see Figure 5). 74 4.5 Spiritual Stories Reincarnation (Guuxs witxw) A long time ago when only Gitxsan walked this land a legend is told about how we learned of reincarnation (the rebirth of a soul). An uncle had his two nephews in training to be trappers. It was time to show the boys the boundaries of their territories. They practiced good luck by fasting and praying for four days. This was the custom. They packed the necessary gear and food required for their trapping and left the village early in the morning along with their dog. They journeyed throughout the day and in the evening the uncle selected a spot where they could camp. It was sheltered from the winds and there was a stream nearby. They built a fire and ate. Soon a little squirrel came by to investigate the intruders. The dog started to chase the squirrel around the camp. Eventually the boys joined in the chase. The uncle told the boys to stop because it was bad luck to bother the creature. The boys sat down and watched the dog chase the squirrel. Then the nephews again joined the chase and caught the squirrel and threw it in the fire. The uncle was very unhappy with them and the nephews felt guilty that they had disobeyed and they just went off to sleep under a tree. In the morning when they woke up the mountains had moved in and trapped them. They looked up and there was the squirrel running on top of the mountain. The boys were heart sick, they knew that this was the result of their disobedience. Their uncle had tried to warn them. 75 Then the one nephew came up with the idea that i f the squirrel could run on the mountaintop after being burned then perhaps this was the way to freedom. So they tested the idea by throwing their dog into the flames. The uncle just sat by and watched. He was full of regret for allowing the boys to play with the squirrel. They looked up and there was the dog chasing the squirrel once again on the mountaintop. One of the boys volunteered to go in the fire with the packs and the rope. When he was at the top he would lower the rope and pull out the other two. They piled more wood on the fire and the nephew stepped into it. Soon he was hollering at the top, he started to lower the rope as planned. It came half way down the mountain. The other boy stepped into the flames. The uncle looked up and saw them walking away with their packs. The uncle was heart broken; he sat down and wept. Then he decided that he too, must go into the fire. Thinking that he was still alive, he returned to his village. He thought it was strange that the dogs did not bark at him. He walked over and embraced his wife. He talked to her. She said, "I just felt my blood run cold. A spirit has touched me." (Today, the Gitxsan believe that if your blood runs cold, a spirit has connected with you. Do not be afraid). He walked over to the rest of his family and friends and touched them and tried to speak to them. A l l they said was, " A spirit has touched me." The uncle realized that he had not come through the fire alive. He left the village and wandered for two years. One day he came to a shelter just below the slide area on the mountain that was covered with snow. He waited. A voice called out. "Enter i f you are the one for whom they wait." He did not know, but he went into the shelter. "They are expecting you," the woman said as 76 she fed him. "Who is waiting for me?" the man asked. "Your family," she said. "But I was there and they did not see or hear me." He did not know that she was a devil 's club Naxnok sent to help the Gitxsan who were suffering from the loss of the uncle, the nephews and the traps. The Naxnok woman explained that she was the spirit of the devil's club. She told the uncle the secrets of the devil 's club. She explained that to be successful in a hunt, the hunters needed to bathe in devil 's club and drink the mixture for four days. The spirit instructed the uncle on how to harvest the plant. She said you must step down on the base very gently and cut it. "Go and jump across the stream," she said, "It is time." He did as he was instructed and at that moment his soul returned to earth as his niece gave birth to a baby boy. The baby cried constantly, but there was nothing the family could do to comfort him. So the grandfather decided that they should take the baby to the woman who could interpret babies' communication. She lived at the outskirts of the village because she possessed a special power. The Gitxsan feared her knowledge. They did not want to be in her presence because she could interpret their thoughts. "Oh" she said as the baby was brought into her house, "he is trying to tell you who he is. He is the uncle who has been missing all this time." The baby spoke through the wise woman interpreter how the boys had tortured the squirrel, how the mountain closed in around them, how they jumped into the fire thinking it was the way to freedom but it was to their death. He told how he had returned to the village and no one could see him. He told of the Naxnok woman at the mountain basin who had instructed him on how to use devil's club for good luck practices and when to jump over the stream in order to come home. He told where he had hidden the traps on a tree on the boundaries of their 77 territories. The wise woman said that he cried because his skin needed to be soothed from the burns. The grandfather paid the woman with food and gifts. Young men set out to the place where the traps were hidden and found them in the exact spot the wise woman had said. The baby's skin was cleansed with cool mixture of water and devil's club and he ceased his endless crying. He forgot his experience. The Gitxsan had a settlement feast for the uncle and the two nephews. The storytellers used the events to teach the children never to be cruel to animals. It was from this event that the Gitxsan learned of reincarnation and that the Gitxsan always come back to their clan. Perception And The Dream World One night I dreamed that a man was talking about my grandmother. He said, "You know, your Grandmother has experienced death twice and she just still enjoys the great feeling." I wondered what this dream wanted from me and then realized that I must write the story of reincarnation. The mountains closed in around the uncle and the boys. The storytellers intervene and suggest that the uncle should have waited another day, and suggest to the listeners that, if faced with a mountain, to wait it out. Everything passes and the way is clear once again. The First Salmon Celebration Down through the ages, since the beginning of time, the Gitxsan Elders gave a warning to their people. Do not be cruel to animals. The heart must be kind to fish, 78 birds, goats and all the creatures the Creator has given. Through the ages, i f meat was required then the animal was killed and eaten. The ancient people did not waste any part of an animal they killed. A l l parts of the slain animal were used; this to the early Gitxsan was the sacred law. The salmon was the main food source for the Gitxsan, and was greatly respected. The early Gitxsan learned the laws about respecting the salmon from a man who had been captured by the Salmon people. The man, who was known as One Who Returned, told his people about the villages in which the Salmon people lived! The Salmon people lived in houses and traveled in canoes as did the Gitxsan. The only difference was that the Salmon people lived under water.The Salmon People, said One Who Returned, journeyed from the ocean in canoes when they returned to the rivers of their birth. The Elders told the Young Salmon People that they needed to know something before they returned. One Who Returned was amused as he told of the responses of the Young Salmon People. Oh, it is not hard the Young Salmon People insisted. We,know the way. We wi l l run our canoes by where the scouring rush grows. We wi l l tip our canoes at each point when the Salmon People have reached their destination. The Young Salmon People did not know the laws. One Who Returned told of the counsel that the Elder Salmon then gave to the Young Salmon People. "If the laws are not obeyed by the Gitxsan" said the Elder Salmon, "we wi l l not return to the rivers of our birth." One Who Returned then told the Gitxsan the laws that they must obey. One Who Returned told the Gitxsan that the first salmon must be honoured with a celebration that showed respect to the first salmon and also must be shared with the people of the village. The first salmon caught was to be placed on a woven cedar mat, which had never before 79 been used. Powerful Gitxsan magic elements used by the Gitxsan to show great honour: fat, red ocher (mas), and eagle down were to be sprinkled on the salmon. The salmon was to be covered with another unused cedar mat and placed at the front of the long house for one night. The next day, the chief's wife was to dress and fillet the first salmon. She was to return the salmon bones to the river while she whispered reminders to the salmon bones to always come home. The fat, red ocher (mas), and eagle down were to be burned in the fire. The chief's wife was to heat rocks in the open fireplace and place them in the boiling water. When the water boiled the filleted salmon was to be skewered on sticks and placed in the boiling water. When the water stopped boiling, the salmon was to be removed from the cooking container, placed on a wooden tray, and distributed to everyone in the community. A l l of the people in the village were to join the celebration of the first salmon. The One Who Returned also instructed the fishermen of the village to go down to the river and scoop up the water to drink after eating salmon. This was to give the salmon water in which to swim. The fisherman who followed this advice would be showing respect and the salmon would be plentiful and the fisherman would be very lucky. One Who Returned said this would ensure that the salmon would be plentiful and find their way back to those who honoured the old laws. This was the way of honouring the first salmon. A n d for a long time, the Gitxsan honoured the wisdom of One Who Returned. 80 Each year, the laws of the first salmon were celebrated by the Gitxsan. Then one day a Chief in T'emlaxamit forgot. The Chief had built a very large fish trap. The fish trap was accessible by the strong bridge that the Chief had also built. Early in the spring he caught the first Spring Salmon returning to the 'Xsan. It was important to the Chief that he caught the first salmon. He had an impressive fish trap and a prosperous village. The Chief took great care with his fish trap but he became careless and forgot the laws of the Salmon People. The Chief did not follow the proper protocol of the first salmon to return. Upon his return home, he had the salmon dressed and cooked, then the chief made another serious mistake. He sent his young daughter out to distribute the salmon pieces throughout the village. In her eagerness to distribute the salmon, the young girl had not dressed properly for the chilly day. In addition, she had not been taught to respect the important laws of the Salmon People. The impressive fish trap of the Chief had caught a Spring Salmon early in the season. The weather was unpredictable in early spring. The sun was shining but the wind was bitter cold. The distant mountains were streaked with clouds that threatened snow. (The Gitxsan call this condition hi madim.) The young girl took a piece of salmon from her tray and shook it at the clouds. She cursed the clouds saying, "Oh and what wi l l happen to this (the salmon piece) while you produce more snow?" That night the snow came because the young girl had shaken the sacred salmon at the clouds. It was spring everywhere else but at T'emlaxamit. The Chief and his people left the village and the fish trap. They came and settled in Gitanmaaxs. Honour And Celebration Today the Gitxsan Elders still celebrate the return of the first salmon. The bones of the first salmon are given back to the river. The Gitxsan Elders still tell the stories of The One Who Had Returned to remind the young people, so mistakes are not made. The lessons learned by the Gitxsan ancestors must be valued and remembered. If these laws are honoured, the salmon wi l l always make their return journey back to the rivers in the Gitxsan territories. Weget's Death Weget journeyed to the land of the Tsimshian. He was told that he had a brother living there. After Weget was reunited with his brother, he felt that he had a sense of family and identity. His search was over. Weget climbed the mountain and found a cave. He took two young mountain lions into the cave and sat one on either side. Weget was a supernatural being; he willed that they be turned into stone. A n d there they sit to this very day. Family And Identity Weget spent his life searching for his family and his identity. When he found his brother he found family and a sense of belonging. He was content and ready to move to the spirit world. Weget was a trickster. Why then does he fit into the spiritual stories? Weget was a supernatural being and the nature of his death, although done with great elegance, was spiritual. 82 4.6 Origin Stories The Origin Of The Gitxsan In the beginning there was only one man on earth. He was thrust out of the womb of the earth. Naked and hungry, he survived the first winter by burying himself in dry pine needles. When he felt the heat of the sun in spring, he emerged from his blanket of pine needles to survey the land in which he must learn to survive. He was hungry. He gazed in the river he saw a fish. So he broke a branch off from the pine tree and speared the fish from the water. He tried to devour the fish, but it was slippery and it kept slipping out ouf his hands. He took a piece of sharp shale and sliced the fish into long strips. He laid these strips on the rocks while he ate. When he wanted another fish strip, he found that the sun had dried them and they were crisp and dripping with oi l . He was pleased with the taste so he caught and dried more fish in this way. He ate until he was satisfied. The wind blew up from the river and he shivered. He looked for a place to shield himself from the wind, but found nothing. He tried to break a piece of wood from a tree with his bare hands. He tried with a rock, but only a small piece of the tree broke loose. He realized he must use more force. He looked at the rock and branch. He fitted them together. After much searching he found he could bend high bush cranberry stems around the two pieces. He made the first stone axe. He used his stone axe to cut posts to build a shelter. Naked and alone, he struggled on until he had enough posts dug in the ground. He knew that he must have a 83 covering of logs over the posts. But he did not know how he could lift the great weight of the wood to the top of the posts. The first-born of the earth sat down to rest. Just then a Naxnok (supernatural) bird flew over and landed on a branch beside him. The man fled in terror, but the bird remained and talked to him. "Laxs," called the bird, "Gala, helt dim he'y luun"("Laxs w i l l tell you many things"). The man had never heard a voice before. He did not know his name was Laxs. He did not have language so he remained hidden. The Naxnok bird was persistent and called again, "Laxs, nit dim wa'nt Laxs. This w i l l be your name." Laxs crept out of his hiding place. The bird began to instruct Laxs on all the things he needed to know. First the bird told Laxs on how to make fire for comfort and preparing food. "Laxs," he said, "find a piece of alder that has been in the water and let it dry." The bird instructed Laxs to find a thin rock, and make a handle and spin one against the other until it started to smoke. The bird said, "Blow on it and flames wi l l start and never allow your fire to die." * " ' . The Naxnok bird continued,'! w i l l send you my sister to be your helper," "Never again wi l l you struggle and suffer alone. M y sister w i l l teach many things. She w i l l teach you how to cook meat and fish with hot rocks and how to dry the berries for winter. She w i l l pick roots and make baskets. She w i l l make blankets and clothing. Y o u w i l l learn to make weapons to k i l l your food. Y o u wi l l make spears by tying a sharp edged bone to a stick with long ties of animal hides. Y o u wi l l learn to make a bow and arrows, tipped with sharp bear bones. Your first task is to snare many bears and prepare the bones for use." 84 "I wi l l send you my sister," said the Naxnok bird. " Y o u w i l l comfort and help each other for as long as you live. Bui ld your home here and when you have seven children trained with all your wisdom to survive alone, you and your wife must leave. Carefully choose a new place, build your home, train seven children, once again then leave. Repeat this many times until the land is alive with people, all coming from you and your wife and carrying your knowledge to be passed on forever." "Now, before I bring you my sister, I wi l l complete your shelter." A n d the Naxnok bird raised the heavy logs and placing them securely on the posts to make a roof. That night, as Laxs lay in a deep sleep, a sleep made deeper by the Naxnok bird, the bird's sister in the form of a woman crept quietly to his side. When he awoke he found her there, full of comfort and knowledge. They lived together a long time and prospered. They created children and formed many villages along the 'Xsan, just as the Naxnok bird had prophezied. Survival Skills This story conveys bravery and determination. The first bom of the Gitxsan did what he had to in order to stay alive. The story shows that there is help from the supernatural world. Laxs obeyed the laws of the land and from his humble beginnings came a great nation. Origin Of Thunder In earlier times when a girl reached puberty she was removed from the main house. In most cases, an aunt or grandmother would sit in the house with them. There 85 was a death in the village and for several nights the young girls were alone. It was then that several girls ventured outside in the dark night where the young men waited. They would pair off and before the light of day the young men would disappear. The girls never knew with whom they had spent the night. One night a young girl decided to hold on to her lover so she would know who it was. To her shock and horror she found that it was her brother. The two were very ashamed and they left the village. They traveled to the mountains and eventually turned into thunderbirds. The people in the village knew this and when the sound of thunder approached the village the villagers would say "WiiWarn nism' kaats't." (We know ypii committed incest). The thunderbirds would remember their shame and move away from the village and fade back into the mountains. The Price Of Shame The young people in this story did not obey the puberty laws. In their shame they left their beloved village. No one asked them to leave. It is often seen in Gitxsan laws where the offenders punish themselves. One who has committed a crime does not feel worthy to enter the sweat lodge or the feast hall. I use this story with my nieces and nephews when they are afraid of the thunder. They are not afraid of the flapping of the wings of a thunderbird. Origin Of Gitanmaaxs Gitxsan means people of the River of Mist . Salmon has always been the source of wealth for the Gitxsan; Gitanmaaxs means People who harvest salmon by torchlight. 86 The first village of Gitanmaaxs was located by the banks of the 'Xsan. This is the story of the beginning of Gitanmaaxs. A young girl, the daughter of a chief, became ubin (pregnant). N o one knew who the father was. The young girl did not know who the father was either. Each night she climbed a ladder that the servants put up for her and after she climbed up the ladder was taken away, so no one could get to her and she could not get out. Yet each night a handsome young stranger would come to her. Her father, the chief, was very angry and the Gitxsan were afraid. The chief ordered the Gitxsan to pack their belongings and load up the canoes. They were going to abandon the young girl. The handsome young man had disappeared. The young girl wept as she watched the canoes disappear around the bend in the river. Her mother had left her food and given her hurried instructions on how to deliver her babies when the time came. They did not know that she was going to have triplets. Her food supply ran out. She sat on the banks of the 'Xsan thinking she could easily slip into the water. Who would know and who would care. It was at this time the babies decided to be born. She knew she had to eat to keep up her strength and feed her babies. She held her three tiny babies and wept. In the Gitxsan culture, in times of great distress, Uun ts 'iits' (supernatural being) comes from the earth, to help. Uun ts 'iits' appeared before the weeping mother and instructed her to take strips of bark from the birch trees and make torches. She explained that the girl must then place the torches along the riverbank. The light would attract the fish and she could spear them. The grateful young mother gave the uun' ts'iits' her earrings in payment and the uun' ts'iits' disappeared. 87 Each night the mother would bundle her babies together and leave them in the longhouse and she would go to the river to fish. She became strong and confident and soon she had many salmon hanging in the smokehouse. Her children grew very quickly and soon were a help to her. They hunted and trapped small animals, they fished and they picked berries. The mother explained to her children that their people had moved away because she did not know who their father was. She instructed her children and taught them about the land. Many years passed and her father, the chief, forgot his anger. He sent out his warriors to fetch the bones of his daughter so that he could mourn her. The warriors returned with astonishing news. The chief's daughter and his three grandchildren were alive and well . The chief and his people returned to the first Gitanmaaxs to find a woman with much wealth in the smokehouses. A great feast was held to celebrate the reunion and Gitxsan names were given to the children. Trust And Protection This story shows the importance of looking after young children. The chief who was anxious to see that no harm came to his daughter treated her like a prisoner. He should have kept her close to their sleeping mats. Then when she brought shame to his title, he was quick to leave her behind. After some time passed the chief forgot his anger. This is a good lesson on how to forgive and accept forgiveness. 88 Origin Of K'alidakhl (Blue Jay) K'alidakhl means hair tied back and it is the Gitxsan word for blue jay. The Gitxsan say that the old woman gave the world the blue jay. Smoke curled lazily out of the smoke hole of the newly built shelter. The young couple inside prided themselves on having worked so hard to complete their first home. Food had been scarce, the winter had been long and cold, but they had survived. So with the coming of spring they were refreshed with positive energy and new hopes. They would work ever so hard this summer, and the following winter would not be so much of a struggle. : • They held each other closely and made wonderful plans. A s they talked, they heard movement and coughing outside. When you visited someone you just made a noise and i f the people inside wanted to invite you in then someone would come outside. If no one came out you went on your way. The man went out and there, ready to move in, was his mother-in-law. She had her bag of clothes with her. He said, "Come in ," although he did not wish it. Gone was their privacy. Gone were their hopes of storing as much food as they could. Chattering incessantly, the old lady did not seem to sense that her son-in-law was annoyed. Winter had been good to her and it did not seem as i f she suffered from lack of food. None of her energy had been wasted on work. "Oh," she said, hoping that they would not take her seriously, "all I need is a corner for my mat and you can just feed me leftovers." Now, this man was a great hunter and he cared for his young beautiful wife. He selected the tenderest parts of his k i l l and cooked it with great care for her. The old lady 89 watched with bitterness. The meat given to her was tough, and it was dark and cold in her corner. A l l her joints ached in the morning from the dampness in the corner, away from the fire. Close to the fire sat her daughter with all the warmth from the fireplace and fine cuts of meat from the hunt. The pampered wife wore a blue cloak that was warm and lovely. "But," old lady, said to herself, " i f the young and beautiful wife is not around maybe the great hunter wi l l look after me." She sat shivering in the corner chewing on her tough meat and devising an evil plan. One day when the hunter was out hunting the old lady killed her daughter, t h e old lady started to prepare a youthful self. She found a piece of charred wood from the fireplace and darkened and deepened her eyes. She took some berry juice and spread some on her cheeks and on her lips. To smooth out her wrinkles, she pulled her hair back very tightly on the top of her head and tied it with a strip of leather. Delighted with the results, the old lady placed the lovely warm blue cloak around her shoulders and waited. The great hunter returned to the shelter. He came in and looked over to the corner and he thought, "Oh good, the old lady's gone." He started to prepare the evening meal. Then he walked over to where he thought his wife was sitting and gazed on the face of a painted old woman. Grinning, the old lady explained that the young wife was gone and now she would wear the blue cloak. The grief-stricken hunter went into a rage; he could not believe his ears. His beautiful wife was gone. He grabbed his club, and chased the old lady around the fireplace, hitting her whenever he got close enough. With each blow she became smaller and smaller and her 90 screaming and squawking became louder and louder. Then all of a sudden she lifted herself up with wings and a blue jay flew out of the smoke hole. For her punishment the old lady was sent out into the forest to scavenge for food and make a lot of idle chatter. Today, i f people talk too much and say nothing, the Gitxsan laugh and call you K'alkdaklh. (This story is also written in Sim'algax see Appendix D.) Honesty And Kindness Gitxsan stories were told in many cases, so that we would learn from the mistakes of others. In the story of K'alidakhl there are many lessons. We see the lack of harmony, balance and interconnectedness as greed, desire, resentment, jealously, envy and violence replace the values. Old lady was not thoughtful. She moved into a home she had not helped to build. The young couple could have been kinder to the old lady. After all , they had allowed her to move in. If they had given her fine cuts of meat occasionally, it might not - have meant so much to her. They could have moved her sleeping mat a little closer to the fireplace. This story teaches the values of honesty and kindness. In the story of K'alidakhl both the young couple and the old lady forgot these important values. M y Grandfather instilled in me that i f you cannot get the fine cuts of meat, you do without, until such a time as you can earn them. In addition, I was not to publicize my hardships. I was to work harder. 91 This story shows the consequences of unkind deeds. The old lady was sent out to scavenge for food. The story, although very violent, inspires the use of creativity and imagination, as the old lady starts to prepare a youthful self. The story K'alidakhl can be used with adults to discuss the issues of aging. The old lady was envious of youth. O r i g i n O f The Mosqui to A long time ago when only Gitxsan walked the land of Gitanmaaxs, there was a monster that hunted them down and killed and ate them. Many of the Gitxsan Warriors had set off to k i l l the Long Nosed Monster who walked. They never returned. The Gitxsan l ived in fear. They did not set off for their hunting and fishing territories, afraid that the monster would k i l l them. One day a youngest son, whose four brothers had set off to k i l l the Long Nosed Monster who walked, and had been killed, decided he would avenge his brothers' deaths. His mother, father, uncles, aunts, and cousins pleaded with him not to go, but the youngest son could not be persuaded to remain safe at home. Youngest son prepared himself for the hunt. He drank and bathed in devil 's club. He slept in the four directions around the fire. He fasted and prayed. Youngest son took a smoking ember from the fire and placed it in his pack. Even as he set off into the forest, a small stream of smoke lingered behind him. Youngest son journeyed to the lake where the monster lived. The Long Nosed Monster who walked was not home. Youngest son climbed a pine tree that cast its reflection into the water. He waited. Soon the Long Nosed Monster who walked returned. He was in a bad mood. He had not found any Gitxsan to eat. Youngest son cleared his throat and started to sway back and forth on the tree. The Long Nosed 92 Monster saw the young man's reflection in the water and started jumping back and forth, trying to catch his evening meal. Soon the Long Nosed Monster who walked was exhausted and wet. Youngest son climbed down from the tree, took the smoking ember from his pack, and built a fire. "Come warm yourself," youngest son urged the The Long Nosed Monster who walked. The Long Nosed Monster who walked was very pleased with the attention he was receiving. Youngest son put more wood on the fire and enticed Long Nosed Monster who walked to step a little closer. "Come step a littler closer," he coaxed, "after all , you are so cold and wet.". The Long.Nosed Monster who walked stepped right,up to the fire and youngest son pushed him into the raging flames. From the roar of the fire youngest son could hear the Long Nosed Monster, bellow. " Y o u think you have killed me, but I wi l l be back to haunt the Gitxsan every summer until the end of time." From the ashes flew hundreds of little Long Nosed Monsters who fly. (This story is also written in Sim'algax see Appendix D) . Determination And Problem Solving In the story of The Origin of the Mosquito there are many positive lessons. The story gives hope that one could be victorious in dealing with the monsters and demons in one's life. Youngest Brother faces his fear and conquers it. Youngest Brother shows that there is a solution for any problem that presents itself. A n issue that could be discussed is that of justice. Youngest Brother went to avenge the deaths of his brothers and uncle. There was justice. The issue of land claims can be discussed with The Origin of the Mosquito. In Youngest 93 Brother's day the monster was keeping the Gitxsan from their territories. Today, government and big business are the "monsters" that the Gitxsan have to face. This story can be used to illustrate the issue of residential schools. Although residential schools no longer exist, from the ashes came the problems that still haunt those who attended and\subsequent generations. Another important lesson is that of 'winning'. Is winning everything? As swarms of mosquitoes came out of the ashes, did the Gitxsan really win? The O r i g i n O f Weget A Gitxsan Tr ickster The legend tells that the Trickster known to the Gitxsan as Weget was found by a fisherman, near a pile of driftwood on the banks of the 'Xsan. The fisherman took Weget back to the village and was adopted by the chief and his wife. It was soon discovered that Weget could not or would not eat, but he continued to grow. The chief and his wife were very concerned because the Gitxsan were always whispering about the strange child of the chief. The chief offered a reward to anyone who could entice the child to eat. All attempts were unsuccessful. The chief and his wife continued to try and fix the problem that did not need fixing. Then one day a stranger with skinny, scabby legs arrived on the shores of Weget's adopted village. The stranger would pull scabs off his skinny legs and place them in Weget's mouth when he thought no one was looking. The children ran to their parents to tell of the stranger's unusual actions and that he was really a kingfisher, but no one would believe them. Adults very often ignore the reports of children, saying it is just an overactive imagination. 94 It was then that Weget started to eat. The mysterious stranger refused any gifts for his kindness. The chief and his wife were very pleased that their problem was solved and their child was now eating. Wegefs ravenous appetite could not be satisfied. He ate all the food in his parents' home. He went and stole food from the other smokehouses. Weget's eating was out of control. The chief gave away all his belongings as compensation for Wegefs stealing. In the early morning the chief assembled all his people very quietly. It was time to leave the village and Weget. Weget awoke as the canoes were leaving. Weget shouted for his parents to come back for him. The canoes disappeared into the morning mist. Weget was alone. Weget thought that they did not hear him. Weget set off on a journey to find his people. Isolation And Rejection Every member of the community needs to be responsible for the welfare of others. Children need to know where they belong in order to feel a sense of value. Weget knew the despair of being abandoned. He was left at an early age to fend for himself. He did not have the hunting and fishing skills required to take care of himself. He had to employ dishonest methods in order to survive. Weget's community failed him. 95 The Origin Of Wind Weget, on his search for his family, came to the village of Wind . Here he found food to eat. Weget had not eaten for several days. Food appeared before him. Weget kept eating and when the bowl was empty another would appear. When he was very full, he looked around to see i f he could start some trouble. In the corner, three little whirlwinds were playing. Weget called over to them, taunting them with a piece of meat, saying, "Would you like some meat, you little whirlwinds with no mouths." "Do you know that the Gitxsan call you the devil 's children?" Weget would laugh and laugh, then burp loudly. The whirlwinds were so hurt; they started crying. Suddenly invisible boards started to beat Weget. He ran for his life. Weget tended to his wounds and continued his journey to find his family. Poverty And Homelessness Weget had become ensnared in poverty and homelessness. He was drifting aimlessly with no clear goals. Alienated from family and community and rebelling against rules and expectation, Weget reverted to bullying. He was being fed by Wind, but he could not accept this gift graciously and had to bother the innocent whirlwinds. Origin Of The Bullhead Weget sat on the rocks on the banks of the 'Xsan. His stomach was growling with hunger. A little silver fish came swimming by. Weget put on a very sad face and said, "Little silver fish, you remind me of my Uncle; he just passed away." The little silver 96 fish swam closer to get a better look at the sad man on the river's edge. "Your mouth is just like his," Weget whispered sadly. In a flash, Weget''s hand flew out and snatched the little silver fish from the shallow water. The slippery little fish struggled and Weget squeezed even harder. The little fish was black and blue and his body moved up to deform his head just before he slipped into the water. "Everyone knows you, Weget," the bullhead mumbled as it swam away. , Disobedience And Dishonesty The Creator provides animals and fish for the Gitxsan to take for food, shelter and clothing. The law is that the sacrifice of the animals is not wasted. Weget disobeyed the laws of the river. Weget used trickery to attract the fish. The fish was there for the taking. As a result of Weget's disobedience, he left hungry and the fish forever changed. 97 4.7 Informative Stories Revenge Of The Mountain Goats Life was good in the first Gitxsan Village of T' The people did not want for anything. The hunters and the fishermen of the village provided very well for everyone. It was the hunters who made the mistake. They forgot the sacred law. The mountain goats were plentiful on Sdikyoodenax (mountain). The hunters started hunting for sport. No one needed the meat and the smokehouses were full . After ki l l ing the mountain goat, the hunters would take certain parts for a delicacy or leave the entire carcass on the mountain. They could only carry so much. One day a hunter brought back a live mountain goat as a toy for the children. The Gitxsan, in their time of plenty, forgot the scared law. There would be dire consequences. The children loved to taunt the helpless live toy. They started to torture the kid. No one stopped them. Many of the hunters laughed while the children threw the little animal into the 'Xsan, and threw rocks at it while the kid frantically tried to swim to safety. Then the children would rescue the wet kid and put him close to the fire. When the k id yelped in pain from the burns the children would throw him into the river again. Their laughter brought another young boy to the banks of the 'Xsan. The young man had been counseled by his grandfather about the sacred law. The young man remembered his teachings. The young man took the kid from them and put red ochre (mas) on the kid's wounds. The kid was marked with red from the mas and black from the scorching of his hair. The kind young man carried the kid to the base of Sdikyoodenax and gave him back to the mountain. 98 Meanwhile, the mountain goats on Sdikyoodenax were having a meeting. The mountain goats did not mind that the Gitxsan took from their tribe to feed and clothe themselves. They understood the law. They voiced their concerns about the harsh treatment of the their brothers and sisters at the hands of the Gitxsan. The terrible treatment of one of their children was the final insult. The mountain goats decided that the Gitxsan needed to be reminded of the sacred law. The mountain goats decided to have a great feast in which they would invite the Gitxsan of T'emlaxamit. Three T'ets (messengers) were sent to invite the Gitxsan. The three mountain goats looked like humans to the Gitxsan. The Gitxsan quickly assembled themselves; the chiefs and the young adults would go. The Elders and the children would remain at the village. The Gitxsan brought out food for the T'ets, but they refused to eat. The T'ets explained that they would go and rest in the field while they waited. Children were playing nearby and the three messengers lay down and nibbled on the green grass. The children went to report this to their parents and were dismissed as having active imaginations. (The Gitxsan made serious mistakes that day. Firstly of all, a large feast is never on the same day that the T'ets arrive. Secondly, visitors never refuse food that a chief offers to them. Thirdly, someone should have investigated the reports of the children). The Gitxsan loved to attend feasts and they set off with the visitors. They completely trusted the messengers. They did not know where they were going. They were climbing up Sdikyoodenax, but the power of the mountain goats made them believe they were on level ground. Soon they arrived at a magnificent feast hall. The Gitxsan were amazed that the hosts knew the names and ranks of the high chiefs. They were 9 9 seated accordingly. The kind young boy who had saved the injured kid was among the visitors at the great feast hall. The kind young man was tapped on the shoulder by a young man wearing a black and red robe. The kind young man was seated by a house post. The Gitxsan were served mountain goat meat that had been barbecued by the open fire in the great feast hall. Mountain berries were served in huge wooden bowls. This was a magnificent feast. Then the entertainment began. The dancing was spectacular. The fascinated Gitxsan watched as the dancers leapt high into the air as the beat of the drum quickened their heartbeats. Next the dancers all moved to one side of the feast hall. The host chief shouted and the house began to fall . The dancers moved to the other side and the host chief shouted and the remainder of the house fell . The Gitxsan fell to their deaths. Their bodies were strewn all over the mountain like the Gitxsan hunters had done to the mountain goats. The kind young man who had shown kindness to the kid who was tortured by the children, clung to the house post and watched the others fall to their deaths. The kind young man understood what was happening. The mountain goats revealed their true form. It was the revenge of the mountain goats. The young man who had seated him came over. He was really a mountain goat. He reminded the kind young man of how he had helped a little goat and now he was being rewarded. The mountain goat gave the kind young man his robe and shoes and instructed him to say, "Xsimoos," (like a thumb) and a piece of rock would jut out of the rock face. The kind young man was told to leave the robe and shoes at the base of the mountain. The kind young man turned to thank his friend, but there was no one there. The kind young man returned to the village to tell the 100 others of the mountain goat feast. The Gitxsan mourned their dead and remembered the sacred law and honoured it. L a c k O f Respect Down through the ages, since the beginning of time, the Gitxsan Elders gave a warning to their people: do not be cruel to animals. The heart must be kind to fish, birds, goats and all the creatures the Creator has given. Through the ages, i f meat was required then the animal was killed and eaten. The ancient people did not waste any part of an animal they killed. A l l parts of the slain animal were used. This to the early Gitxsan was the sacred law. Otter W o m a n When a man went out alone on his trap line, he was told to concentrate on the task at hand. If his mind wandered to a loved one, Otter Woman would transform to the image of his thoughts. The Gitxsan storytellers tell of a time that this happened to a young man. He had recently married and had to leave his bride behind so he could set the traps. The agreed plan was that she would arrive in seven days and help him at the trap line. The young man put out seven markers, one for each day. Each day he would eliminate a marker so he would know which day she was arriving. With each waking moment he thought of her and wished she was there. On the morning of the fourth day the young man eliminated the fourth marker and counted the remaining ones that would bring him closer to his beloved. The young man was totally delighted to see his beloved coming down the narrow path. The young man in his excitement forgot the teachings of 101 the Elders. He rushed over to embrace his wife. He failed to notice that her actions were different. She held her hand over her mouth and turned her head slightly in a coy manner. (This was really the otter hiding her sharp teeth. The storytellers always warn the listeners to watch for this action in the wilderness. The otter in her transformation cannot hide her teeth, so she keeps them covered). The young man took her hand and tried to lead her to the shelter, but she pulled him down towards the lake. The young man who was so very much in love did not once heed the warning signs.? The wife who was really an otter led him to the lake for a swim. The otter possessed the young man and soon his transformation began. He did not realize that he was l iving in the lake with an otter. A l l he could see was his beloved wife. The markers were forgotten as he frolicked in the lake. On the arranged day his wife came up the same path that the otter had come. She checked all around the camp and could not find her husband. She noticed the markers had been neglected and she saw the footprints of an otter along side her husband's footprints. She realized what had happened. She ran back to the village and informed the people. The warriors came to the lake by the camp and found the young man changed into an otter except for his face. The warriors shot the otter and the young man. The Gitxsan were afraid that the man or his children might come back to the village and father children. The Gitxsan would be part otter. This was not what they wanted. Concentration And Awareness The Gitxsan warn their people to keep their minds clear when they are alone in the wilderness. It is important to have a clear mind and a strong heart. Lack of 102 concentration could result in an accident. Being unaware, one could stumble into the path of a wi ld animal. Those who travelin the wilderness are-reminded to trust the stories they have heard and to watch for the one whom covers his/her mouth. W i l d W o m a n O f The Woods If you are in the wilderness and you hear a baby cry, your blood runs cold and the hair on the your arms stands up. "Be glad," said the Elder, "it is your lucky day." Be very brave, you are hearing the baby of the wi ld woman of the woods. She is fierce looking. Her hair is long and her nails are long. (In death, her hair and her nails keep growing). The wild woman of the woods carries her crying baby on her back on a pack board. A brave man met the wi ld woman of the woods when he was out hunting and he made motions of taking the baby. The action made tlie wild woman of the woods think that he had taken the baby. She motioned for it back with a gesture. The hunter said, "No , you must grant me my request before I return the baby." Finally she nodded in agreement. The hunter walked backwards, still pretending he had the baby. He knew that it would be dangerous to turn his back on the wi ld woman of the woods. (This is also the Gitxsan law with all wild animals). She would attack him with her long sharp nails and rip out his heart. The wise hunter did not trust her. He waited until she promised him his heart's desires, which was to be a very successful hunter. The hunter placed his arms down to his side to show that he no longer had the baby. It was said after that time that he was a very good hunter, who provided well for his people. 103 Realistic Desires If you are out in the wilderness and i f you hear a baby cry, say oh Naxnok, give me the desires of my heart. Say this four times as you face the four directions. If you meet the wi ld woman of the woods, be very brave and repeat the actions of the wise hunter. The Gitxsan Storytellers warn their listeners to be very careful what they ask for from the W i l d Woman of the Woods. The Elders stress the importance of hard work in attaining one's wishes. Night Of The Owl The cries of the children in the night were a source of fear for the Gitxsan since the beginning of time. A crying child was quickly comforted and warned that his/her crying might encourage the return of the owl . The story takes place at a well-established fish camp at what is now known as Hagwilget Canyon. A toddler woke up in the night wanting a drink of water. This was a great hardship for the early Gitxsan as they had small baskets woven from spruce root and storing water was very difficult. In addition, the canyon was very steep and the nights very dark. To go and fetch water in.the night would surely cause injury to someone. A child cried in the night at the fish camp at the canyon, but his parents neglected to comfort him. The small boy crawled from the shelter to see i f anyone would give him a drink of water. (It was customary at that time that children did not always sleep in their own shelters. It was the law that children were tended by those around them). 104 In the morning, the father went from shelter to shelter asking i f his son had spent the night at one of the other shelters at the Fish Camp. No one had seen the boy, so the father set off into the nearby wilderness searching for his son. On the fourth day of his search he met a spruce grouse that is also known as fool hen. The spruce grouse promised she would lead the father to his son i f he gave her mas (red ochre), hix (fat) and mii k'aax (fine eagle down). (These are three powerful medicines used by the Gitxsan for healing). - - -The father did not have faith in such a little creature so he took the cotton fleece from the cottonwood tree, similar to eagle down, a white stone, resembling fat, and pieces of red cedar chips, that he crushed to resemble red ochre. The spruce grouse was not fooled. She informed the man once again of what was required for payment. The man told his wife at the end of the day's search and his wife did not take the information lightly. The wife gathered the materials and told her husband to go and give the items to the spruce grouse. The spruce grouse took the gifts and they set off to find the rotten cottonwood tree where the owl had her nest with the boy in it. The spruce grouse left the man watching die owl nest and she went off to the river's edge to apply the fat, red ochre and eagle down to her eyelids. She used the fat as an adhesive so that the red ochre and eagle down would stick to her lids. The spruce grouse believed that this would make her more attractive. The spruce grouse still has these markings today. The Elders caution the Gitxsan hunters, that they must never shoot a spruce grouse. If they are lost in the wilderness the spruce grouse can lead them home. Meanwhile, the father was watching the owl's nest in the rotten cottonwood tree. He did not attempt to climb up to the nest while the owl was roosting. Finally, in the late 105 afternoon the owl flew off to hunt. The man climbed the rotten cottonwood tree very carefully, testing each branch, so he would know which branches to step on when he came back down with his son. The father took his very sick son from the nest and climbed down and ran home with the child, who was too sick to cry. The child's stomach was swollen from the mice, frogs and lizards that the owl had been feeding him. The exhausted man returned to the fish camp. -The child was dead. Those l iving at the fish camp at the canyon mourned the loss of the child and regretted their lack of concern to comfort the child. ' . The fish camp was connected to the other side of the canyon by a hanging bridge made of cedar ropes and small logs. Soon they heard the sound of weeping and mournful singing approaching the fish camp. The Gitxsan knew it was the owl coming for the child's spirit. "Di lo di slay, di nism ant masin hlgu t'iihlxw. Ho heh ho heh" echoed the sorrowful song of the owl. The warriors quickly removed the logs from the deck of the bridge on the side closest to them and replaced the decking with dried cow's parsnip stalks. The owl stepped on the stalks and went crashing through into the river. She was frantically thrashing about in the water. When the owl became weak and it looked like she might drown, the warriors pulled her out and took her to the fire. The owl was pleased and asked the warriors to dry deep under her wings and between her legs. The warriors flung her into the river once again. Again, they saved her from drowning and placed her near the fire. The owl requested once again that they help her dry her private parts. The warriors threw her into the raging fire. The owl died in the fire. The warriors 106 tortured the owl because she had kidnapped a child and killed him by feeding him owl food. In the darkness, the grieving father and the people at the fish camp at the canyon kept hearing the baby crying under the ground. The tortured father kept digging where he heard the cries. He would no sooner dig up one place and the crying would start in another. The father was exhausted and the Elders told him he must stop. The people packed up the fish camp and returned to Gitanmaaxs. Spiritual Connections Even today, there are reports made from people who have heard a child crying at the old fish campsite at the canyon. Others like to explain it and say it is just the wind howling in the narrow part of the canyon. So if you hear the crying of a child at the canyon, be aware that it is not the wind. It is believed by the Gitxsan, since this supernatural event took place at the fish camp at the canyon that the place is known as a sbil naxnok (power place). If a person is training to become a shaman, he/she would have to spend four nights alone at this place in a shallow grave. Here they would face and conquer all of their fears and be reborn a new person. Today, the Gitxsan believe that if a person's death is near, they hear the owl cry out their name as she sings her mournful song. The frightened Gitxsan are instructed that they must kick the owl three times, as they walk their final journey into the spirit world to show they are accepting their death. The Gitxsan in their final walk are warned not to cast a look back at life, but continue their journey to the land of the owls. 107 The Young Chief The chief of a large Gitxsan Village had just died. There was no one to replace him except for a young boy of twelve. The Elders were very concerned there were so many decisions to be made and their chief was lacking in experience and character. The wise Elders took their young chief to the mountain and left him there. Alone the young boy fasted and talked with the Great Spirit. On the fourth day he was presented with a power in the form of an animal which, when he went to the mountain, would give him wise counsel. The young man returned to the village refreshed and strengthened. Each time a decision was to be made the young chief would journey to the mountain and to his source of power. The Elders were most pleased with their young chief. Things were going well indeed. Then came the rumours of war. "Go to the mountain and learn of what we must do," the Elders urged their young chief. "It's a waste of time," the young chief replied. "Look at how well I have looked after the Vil lage, and I don't need to waste my time going to the mountain." War raged in the Vil lage and the Vil lage was completely destroyed. Suport Systems The essential lesson in this legend is that we all have support systems. The young chief did not have an immediate family, but his extended family helped him. Today, the wars raged by the young people could be with substance abuse, family violence or 108 racism. It is also important to note that young people, as in the case of the young chief, sometimes do not heed the warning of the Elders and as a result do not reach their full potential. The Little Porcupine The Gitxsan Storytellers tell this legend to illustrate the importance of respect for all things. One beautiful summer day, as the story goes, a young porcupine was up on Sdikyoodenax. He had been eating all day and was feeling like he should take a nap. Porcupine found a shady place by the scrubby fir bushes. He settled down for what he thought would be a long nap and pleasant dreams. Then Porcupine woke up. Something or someone was making an irritating noise. Porcupine looked around with his beady little eyes and saw what it was that had awoken him. Creek was trickling peacefully over on her way to the lake. Over Porcupine strutted, very annoyed. He drank up Creek and licked all the rocks dry. After all was quiet once again, Porcupine went to the shade under the fir bushes once again to continue his nap and sweet dreams. Just as Porcupine was dozing off, Creek started her journey down the mountainside again. Porcupine was really angry this time. He went and drank up the creek and licked all the rocks dry. He went back to dream in the shade of the scrubby fir trees. This happened two more times, and each time Porcupine got angier and angrier. After drinking up Creek for the fourth time, Porcupine was so full of water, he needed to relieve himself. He waddled toward another clump of bushes. But he did not 109 get there. In the stillness of the afternoon, Porcupine exploded, with fur and quills falling on the nearby bushes. Creek once again started her journey down the mountain. Porcupines, the Gitxsan say are still easily irritated. A t the slightest disturbance they wi l l discharge their quills. This story is also written in Sim'algax (see Appendix D) . Destiny And Purpose The major issue i i i the story of The Young Porcupine is the care needed-in dealing with the environment. Porcupine upset the balance by tampering with the environment and destroyed himself. The lesson of controlling one's anger is evident. The rocks were innocent victims as Porcupine expressed his anger. Porcupine should have investigated other ways to deal with his anger. A n important lesson to learn is that everyone has a destiny and purpose on this earth. Creek's destiny was to journey down the mountain and feed the rivers. Porcupine was destroyed and Creek continued her journey. Problem solving is another important lesson that Porcupine neglected to learn. Perhaps he should have found another sleeping area, away from Creek. The frightening lesson to be learned from Porcupine is that the consequences are sometimes fatal. 110 4.8 Creation Stories Weget And The Bal l Of Light One evening when he still had a home, Weget remembered the Elders talking about a chief who owned the ball of light. Weget had been outside of the smokehouse waiting for the Elders to leave so he could f i l l his stomach. It was a time when the Gitxsan Territories were still in semi-darkness. Weget journeyed through the vast wilderness to the village of the chief who owned the ball of light. Weget watched the village for several days. Each morning the young girls would come to the river to drink. The girls would scoop up the water with their hands and drink. Weget decided that he would turn himself into a pine needle and drift towards the chief's daughter. The young girl scooped water into her hand and she noticed the pine needle, instead of disposing of it she just blew it to one side. She drank the water and the pine needle slipped down her throat. Not long after, the young girl was pregnant. The people were amazed with the short duration of the girl 's pregnancy. Weget was born after a few short weeks and he started to grow at an amazing rate. The doting mother loved her strange son and gave Weget everything he wanted and cried for except for the ball of light. Weget threw tantrums and cried and cried for the ball of light, but the chief did not trust anyone with his prized possession. The mother pleaded with her father, the chief, to let the child play with the ball of light. Finally, fed up with the crying, the chief reluctantly gave in to the pleadings. Weget brushed away his large tears and started playing very nicely with the ball. Weget sweetly thanked his grandfather, the chief, and went to play with the other children. The beaming mother was so proud of her son. Each day Weget would ask for the ball of light and he would return I l l it. One day when Weget was bouncing the ball down the path that led to the river no one paid any attention, after all Weget would bring it back. Weget turned into raven and flew away with the ball of light. Weget's grandfather, the chief, yelled, "We knew it was you Weget, who doesn't know you?" Weget felt that once he possessed the coveted ball of light the Gitxsan would respect him and bring him food and gifts. Weget would just rent out the ball of light in exchange for food. Weget flew towards the Gisgaga 'as River where he knew the Gitxsan would be busy with their salmon harvest. Weget/Raven saw people below. There was not much light, except for the shiny ball in Weget/Raven's mouth. Weget did not realize that he was in 'the land in between.' This was where spirits who denied their deaths worked preparing their salmon. These were the l iving dead, who refused to enter into the spirit world. When Weget opened his mouth to ask i f they would like to use his ball of light, it fell and broke. The ball shattered into a mil l ion pieces. The larger pieces became the sun and moon and the smaller pieces filled the sky with stars. Weget just shrugged his shoulders and wandered on devising yet another plan to ease his great hunger. Rewards A n d Reputation Weget would never be hungry again. He would never have to work. A l l his problems would be solved. To possess the ball of light is like the desire to win the lottery or bingo. While some problems are solved, others are created. Weget thought he could buy reputation and prestige. 112 Creation Of Steelhead Weget stood on the banks of the 'Xsan wondering i f there was a fish camp nearby. Weget was unaware of the beauty around him. It was a beautiful summer day. The sky was as blue as the distant mountains. A gentle breeze played on the leaves of the hardy bushes that managed to survive on the cliffs of the canyon. A s Weget looked across the water he saw a magnificent salmon jumping. Weget did not have many skills so he did not know how to catch a salmon. But, as usual, he had an idea, which was much easier than setting a net or making a fishing rod. Weget hollered at the salmon. "Do you want to have a contest, brother? It is called, Guxw good'y mi'lit (Charge at my heart, Steelhead"). Weget called the salmon 'steelhead' before it was known as steelhead. The salmon was getting bored with his magnificent jumps and he did not know i f anyone was watching. Weget placed a rock under his raven robe and walked into the river. Weget yelled, "Charge at my heart." The salmon did and Weget fell backwards. Laughing, Weget got up and called out again. The fourth time, Weget placed the rock over his heart. The salmon charged at Weget''s heart and just before the salmon died he whispered, "I knew it was you Weget." "Charge at my heart," Weget chuckled to himself as he went off to cook his stealhead. Arrogance And Flattery The salmon was swayed by the flattering words of the Gitxsan trickster. The salmon's arrogance caused his death. Weget was looking for an easy meal. It was not his 113 intention to create the steelhead for the Gitxsan. Fishermen still enjoy the challenge of fighting with a steelhead today. Today, if my mother is hungry for fresh salmon in the early spring, she says, "Guxw good'y mi'lit" (charge at my heart, steelhead). Then within a day or two someone brings her fresh salmon. Creation Of Weget's Wooden Slave Weget looked at his ragged reflection in the water. He thought that if he looked noble the Gitxsan would treat him well and prepare a great feast for him. He was so hungry. Weget spied driftwood on the banks of the river and decided that if he had a slave announcing him that the Gitxsan would be greatly impressed. Weget used his supernatural powers to breathe life into his creation. The driftwood came to life. Weget took the backbone of a rotten salmon and created a fine headdress for himself. Weget instructed his slave to say, "Here comes a great teacher, he wishes to speak with the wise people in your village." The slave said in a clear voice, "Here comes a great teacher." Weget beamed at his slave. The slave continued, "He wears a headdress of a rotten salmon backbone." Weget was furious. He kicked the slave apart and decided it was his choice of rotten wood. Weget found a fine piece of cedar and once again he breathed life into his creation. This time the slave repeated each word Weget instructed him to say. Weget and his slave entered the village. The slave hollered that his fine master was seeking higher knowledge and wished to meet with the Elders. The Gitxsan Elders and chiefs quickly assembled and the women prepared a fine feast. It was customary that 114 the women offer food to the slave first to see if he approved before his great master ate. The women'brought fine cuts of salmon, boiled smoked moose meat, large bowls of huckleberries and steaming Indian tea. Each time the slave helped himself to huge portions and explained that his master was fasting while he searched for higher knowledge. Each time the slave refused on Weget's behalf, Weget would lean over and scratch the slave's buttocks. After some time had passed, Weget asked to be excused. The Gitxsan thought this was strange behaviour for a chief. Weget took his slave to the outskirts of the village and kicked him apart and ate the contents of his stomach. The women noticed all the sawdust on the mat where the slave sat. Later that day the children found the wooden slave on the outskirts of the village and the Gitxsan knew that they had entertained Weget. The Gitxsan pretended that they knew it was Weget all along. Choices And Consequences Weget was motivated to make the poor choices he did because of hunger. There was no one there to support him. Today, children must cope with many problems that they did not create. Without guidance they can fall into such problems as drugs, unwanted pregnancies, suicide and other dangers that produce horrific consequences. 115 4.9 Entertaining Stories Although the stories are meant to be entertaining, they are educational. Gitxsan traditional knowledge is encoded in this way and contains messages on many different levels. In this way, listeners learn new and important lessons as their own understanding deepens, the strength of traditional knowledge lies in its ability to convey a deeper truth. Wegefs Tablecloth Weget was drooling as he walked up from the river, suddenly, the realization hit him. He did not know how to cook. He remembered his uncle's favourite saying, "Go ask your excrement." This was the response the Gitxsan gave to impossible questions, but of course, Weget did not know this, he took it literally. So Weget squatted a fair distance from his fine salmon and grunted and,groaned. He had not eaten for a long time and there was not too much activity. Finally, he managed a small little fragment. Weget asked the fragment the instructions for cooking his fine catch. The little teacher told Weget in a tiny voice that he must dig a pit and place the salmon in it. Then cover the salmon with bark and build a fire on top of it. Weget thought, "That is so easy," so he kicked his bowel movement into the bushes. Weget started to make a pit, and then he realized that he had forgotten the instructions. Weget searched for his little friend but could not find it. So once again he squatted and strained for a long time then managed another one, it was even smaller this time and the voice was barely above a whisper. Weget placed the new advisor on a thimbleberry leaf and said flattering words about the cleverness of one so small. Weget then made a song so he would not forget the instructions for cooking his salmon. 116 Soon the forest was filled with the aroma of Weget's cooking. The crows alerted one another and soon they were gathered around Weget as he cleared the dying fire from the top of his cooking. The crows were impressed with Weget's fine salmon and wonderful cooking skills. Then one of the crows suggested that such fine cooking deserved a fine tablecloth. Weget agreed and sent them off to find a tablecloth. The crows soon returned with little bits of bark. Weget was furious. His fine cooking deserved a magnificent tablecloth. Weget would show the crows what a tablecloth looked like. Weget stormed off into the forest. Weget returned with a fine cedar bark to find that the crows had eaten most of his fine meal and left their droppings on the rest. Weget was outraged. He kicked the crows in the rear as they tried to get away. That is why the crows walk the way they do today. Vanity And Vulnerability The crows knew the way that Weget thought. He was their brother. Weget could transform into raven. Weget was so proud of his cooking skills that the crows easily convinced him that a fine meal required a tablecloth. The crows knew that if they did not bring back a fine tablecloth, Weget would leave his cooking and show them what a fine tablecloth looked like. Weget lost his temper and in kicking the crows, he hurt himself. Weget And The Grizzly Bear One day Weget's stomach was hurting. He had not eaten for several days. A grizzly bear was eating ants in the meadow not too far from the Gisgaga'as s River. 117 Weget watched him for a while and decided that i f he tricked him, he would not worry,about food for many days. Meanwhile, a young grizzly bear wandered into the meadow and the Grizzly Bear who was eating ants chased him away. Weget could see that the Grizzly Bear was very competitive and not the type to back down from any challenges. Weget could see that Grizzly Bear was big and awkward and would not be a fast runner for short distances. Weget went over and said, " M y Brother, you sure look big and powerful. How would you like to run a short race with me? I am training, and I need to practice." Weget was thin and tall and very fit from all his walking. Weget and Grizzly Bear ran. Weget stayed a few steps behind and huffed and puffed pretending he was exhausted. The Grizzly Bear won the race and wanted another race; a much longer race. Weget agreed reluctantly as he limped around Grizzly Bear. Weget flew over to the finish line while Grizzly was still lumbering along. Grizzly Bear was most disappointed with himself. Weget shared with Grizzly Bear that he too used to be a slow runner until he cut off his testicles. Weget suggested that Grizzly Bear'do the same thing. Grizzly Bear wanted to be fast. He wanted to win the race. So Grizzly Bear cut off his testicles. Grizzly Bear was.bleeding very badly while Weget sat and waited by the finish line. Just before he died Grizzly Bear uttered, "I knew it was you, Weget." He did not, but he did not want to appear foolish. Weget did a dance to celebrate his cleverness. Weget sang his cooking song and started to prepare his meal. It did not occur to Weget just to cook a portion of his k i l l . 118 Comptetition And Deception Weget was able to persuade Grizzly Bear to race with him by using flattery. Weget was able to deceive Grizzly Bear because of Grizzly Bear's competitive nature. Today, many people involved with competitions wi l l do almost anything to win the race. In addition, many people seek to be flattered. Weget And The Stump Weget ate and ate after all he had not eaten for many days. When he was really full, he looked around to see i f there was anyone he could bug. He saw a stump by his pit. Weget wiped the grease off his mouth with his sleeve and said, "What happened to you short one? I guess you won't be a totem pole." Weget laughed and laughed, then he became so sleepy. Weget woke up several hours later to find that the stump had shaken all the earth around the pit and had covered Weget's fine cooking with dirt. Weget got up and wandered on to find more food. Abuse And Greed Weget did not remember the lesson that he should have learned in the land of wind. Once again he is full and looks for someone to torment. Weget's lessons was that he lost his food because of his lack of respect, but Weget never did learn. Weget's New Robe Weget walked in the forest throughout the day. The sun was sinking by the western mountains. The sky was ablaze with colour. Weget looked at the trees that were 119 lined along the forest's edge. He could not believe his eyes. Weget squinted towards the trees to get a better look. There before him was a magnificent robe. The robe shimmered with shining colours. Weget was thrilled with his fortunate find. Without any hesitation Weget tore off his raven robe, ripping it apart and saying he would not need the ragged robe anymore. The Gitxsan would certainly want to entertain and feed a visitor wearing such a noble robe. Weget arrived at what he thought was the new robe just as the sun slipped behind the mountain. The brilliant colours of the new robe disappeared with the setting sun. There before him was a large slab of cedar bark swaying in the evening breezes. The hasty Weget went back and picked up the pieces of his torn raven robe and pinned it together with pine needles. Weget wandered on. Pretense And Public Image Weget's character lacked sincerity and this would always come back to him. He was fooled by the image he saw in the distance. Weget quickly rips up his raven robe because the new one would bring him prestige and free food. He thought that if he was well dressed others would be impressed. He had not learned that a good heart was all that he would need. Mosquitoes And The Woodpeckers It seems that the mosquitoes became very strong in numbers after the death of their ancestor, the long nosed monster who walked. Their system of government became very strong and very sophisticated. The mosquitoes decided that they should hold a feast. 120 The mosquitoes filled many of their little bent boxes with the delicious red drink they had been collecting from the Gitxsan. A messenger was sent out to summon all the woodpeckers to come to the feast. The noble woodpeckers entered the feast hall with great flare and importance. The mosquitoes that were the hosts served the delicious red drink to the woodpeckers. The woodpeckers were very impressed with the feast system of the mosquitoes. A t the end of the feast the high-ranking woodpeckers spoke and with much praise concerning the impressive way in which the mosquitoes were making great progress. It was then that one of the high-ranking woodpeckers asked the chief of the mosquitoes where they could find the delicious red drink. The chief of the mosquitoes informed'all who were there that they had been collecting the drink from the surrounding trees. Ever since then the woodpeckers have been looking for that delicious red drink. Humour And Self-importance M y Na'a thought this story was very funny. "It is just a funny story," she would say. She did not believe this story because no human or supernatural being was present to bring the story back to the Gitxsan. The woodpeckers can be used to illustrate someone who is trying to be self-important. The woodpeckers lack of humility is expressed with the use of humour. 121 Dear Friends: Porcupine And Beaver Beaver and Porcupine had spent the day up on Sdikyoodenax. The huckleberries were ripe and plentiful that season. The two dear friends had been eating the berries and were full . Their teeth and their lips were purple. They smiled at each other and smelled each other's breath. "Your breath smells so refreshing," Beaver said to Porcupine. "Yours does, too," replied Porcupine. They were two dear friends who enjoyed each other's company. "I am so full of berries," said Beaver. "Let 's go to the glacier and slide," suggested Porcupine. "No , I might get hurt," said Beaver reluctantly. " Y o u can sit on my tail and hold my waist," said Porcupine. The two friends played tagged all the way over to the slide area. They came to the slide area. Beaver was fearful but sat behind Porcupine and held on tightly. Down they slid, faster and faster, on the huge glacier. Beaver was pierced with quills from Porcupine's back. Then he let go and tumbled down the mountain. The pressure on his stomach made him sick and patches of purple from his berries smeared the white snow. Beaver rolled all the way to the bottom. Porcupine laughed and laughed. She laughed so hard that she had tears streaming down her face. Beaver had looked so funny rolling down the hi l l . Beaver was furious. He started to plan his revenge. " I ' l l get you Porcupine," Beaver vowed as he brushed off the snow from himself. "Porcupine, that was so fun," said Beaver hiding his anger. "Let 's go swimming down at the river," Beaver added. "Oh, but I can't swim," said Porcupine sadly. "Come," said Beaver, knowing that Porcupine could not swim, "you can ride on my back." 122 Porcupine stopped laughing and was looking forward to swimming with Beaver. They journeyed down the mountain and Beaver whistled little tunes his Na ' a had taught him, so that he could hide his true feelings. Beaver was very angry with his friend. They arrived at the river; it was a beautiful day. "It's a lovely day for a swim," said Porcupine. Beaver slipped into the water and Porcupine clutched tightly to his back. Beaver dove under and tried to shake Porcupine off so she would slip off and drown. Beaver dove again and again. Each time Porcupine squealed with delight, "Let's go again, this is so much fun." Beaver's plan was not working. "Let's rest for awhile," Beaver suggested. Beaver took Porcupine to an island. Porcupine loved the island. "This is so wonderful," she said to Beaver, as she picked wild flowers. There was no reply so Porcupine looked around. Beaver was gone. "Porcupine, what are you doing?" yelled Beaver from another island. Beaver laughed and laughed then disappeared into the water. Porcupine soon realized what was happening and she demanded that Beaver come and get her. Porcupine was stranded on the island. She was disappointed in Beaver. She thought she could trust him. After al l , they had been friends since they were born. Porcupine was very sad. She cried and sang a lonely song. "Poor little me, stranded on this island, ho ho hey a yee." A porcupine spirit appeared from among the pine trees. She was carrying a magic quill . The good spirit instructed Porcupine to sing a happy positive song to the North Wind . Porcupine stopped crying and sang a good song. "Oh, North Wind , I need you to come and blow away my sadness and fear. 123 Make me strong and brave and take me home. He he hoo. He he hoo." North Wind came and chilled the air and the river froze. Porcupine walked back to her home in the forest. Beaver watched Porcupine as she disappeared into the darkness of the forest. Their friendship was over. They were no longer dear friends. Trus t A n d Friendship <  The Gitxsan often tell a story from earlier times about two dear friends. The Gitxsan tell this story to show the value of having friends and keeping" them. The story shows what can happen when a trust is broken. In some cases it cannot be repaired. Honest communication would have helped Porcupine and Beaver, before their friendship was lost to hurt and anger. Today, i f Gitxsan friends are quarreling the Gitxsan Grannies laugh and say, "Look there goes Porcupine and Beaver." 124 4.10 Modern Day Story The Young Egret Young Egret sat on a fallen log. He watched with fascination as a fluff from the cattail danced in the wind. Young Egret flew up to ask the fluff as to how it could come to life. Suddenly, Young Egret felt something lifting him. He understood the secret of the magic that made fluff dance. Higher and higher Young Egret was lifted as he experienced Wind. Everyday Wind and Young Egret played. Young Egret enjoyed and trusted his new found friend. Wind enjoyed having a companion who admired and respected him. One day a mighty flood swept through Young Egret's home. The water soaked his feathers and no matter how he struggled against the currents, he could not fly. Young Egret heard Wind calling to him. He struggled harder and harder and soon felt Wind lifting him high above the swirling water. Wind promised Young Egret that he would take him to a safe place where he would be welcomed and protected. The journey was long and hard. Young Egret suffered from the cold and lack of food and water. Wind would not let Young Egret give up hope. This was their destiny. After many days, Young Egret could see through the clouds to the rugged country below. It was beautiful. The huge mountains, and the dark green cedar and hemlock trees gave the exhausted bird a feeling of peace. Wind told Young Egret that they were in Gitxsan Territory. They were on the outskirts of a W o l f Clan Fish Camp. Wind left Young Egret in a wooded area while he went over to give the Gitxsan a message that an unusual event was about to happen. 1 2 5 Mid-aftemoon was a peaceful time at the Fish Camp. Children were playing in the large open field. Women were preparing the salmon for the smokehouse. M e n were sitting around the campfire discussing the events of the day. Suddenly, the tall grass rustled in the corner of the vegetable garden. Three whirlwinds spun out into the garden and through the camp, picking up dirt, twigs and leaves. Wind whispered in the ear of a Gitxsan dreamer. The Dreamer told the others of the message he had received. Quickly, everyone assembled. The Chiefs and Elders dressed in their regalia. The women started to prepare food for a feast. The singers brought out their drums and rattles. A runner was sent to Gitanmaaxs to summon the guests for the feast. The children were told to sit quietly. The Gitxsan waited as they watched the sun slip behind the mountain. In the quiet and beauty of the sunset, Wind deposited the weary Young Egret on the roof of the Smokehouse. It was the end of Wind's journey and he quietly slipped away. The W o l f Chief welcomed the newcomer. The W o l f Chief expressed gratitude to Wind for the beautiful gift. A drumbeat sounded; the Singers and Dancers welcomed Young Egret. The women started to serve the boiled, half-dried salmon, fried bannock and freshly squeezed berries. Children held out pieces of fish and bannock to the Young Egret. Young Egret devoured everything and hopped around the camp begging for more of the delicious new food. The Gitxsan laughed and said, "Young Egret does not know the Feasting Laws." Young Egret stayed with the Gitxsan for many months. Then one day he saw the geese flying over the camp towards the southern mountains. In his heart, Young Egret 126 knew that he must go home, but he did not know the way. The Northern nights were cold and he did not have the robes and leggings to keep him warm. One day as Young Egret sat huddled by the smokehouse, he saw a fluff of thistle dancing i n the wind. Young Egret remembered his friend. He flew over and asked the wind to take him home, but it was the North wind and he would not venture out of his territory. The Gitxsan could sense the loneliness in their friend. The Dreamer had dreamed of Young Egret's coming and now his dreams were of Young Egret's leaving. Young Egret listened as the Dreamer told the ways of the Gitxsan. They too, had journeyed to distant lands and the spirit, as is the way of the spirit, longs to return home. "We w i l l help you Young Egret," promised the Dreamer. A canoe and drum were designed and carved for Young Egret. A song was composed to call Wind from the Spirit World and carry Young Egret back to his homeland. Young Egret's canoe was launched. The heartbeat of Young Egret matched the steady beat of the Box Drum. The voices of the Singers echoed in his mind as his canoe sailed on the W i n d Spirit. Back in his homeland with his spirit fulfilled, Young Egret knew that the journey with W i n d to the Gitxsan Territories would live forever in his memories. The Box Drum and Canoe were evidence that it had not been a dream. Meanwhile, the Fireweed, the Frog and W o l f Clans amongst the Gitxsan still tell the legend about Young Egret. The Gitxsan still sing Young Egret's song and tell the story of how Wind brought them a beautiful gift. 127 Foundation Of Confidence One day, late in Autumn I was out at Anlo, I saw an unusual bird flying by the distant trees. It was several days later, after a light snowfall, that I returned to Anlo and found the white bird dead beside my smokehouse. I realized then that it was an egret, very far from its homeland. I was able to write this from the confidence instilled in me as a child. I patterned it from other legends I knew and kept asking myself, "How would Na 'a tell this story." This story was written as a tribute to a visitor at Anlo. 128 CHAPTER FIVE: AN UPHEAVAL IN THE ODYSSEY 5.1 Historical Look At Residential Schools B y many of the newcomers to Canada, the people who were already here were misunderstood. It was a common conception that the First Nations peoples did not possess an educational system. The newcomers did not realize that a sophisticated system of government including education existed. The curriculum consisted of looking, listening, learning and doing. Everyone and everything around the children taught them who they were, where they belonged and how they related to others and to their environment. The outsiders came with their new ways and new systems and under colonialism set out to change the First Nations People. It is common knowledge that the Residential School concept was a deliberate forced assimilation of First Nations children designed to undermine the cultural foundations of the First Nations' Peoples. Teachers in the Gitxsan territories need to know the history and the intentions of the concept of Residential Schools because of the legacy of their treatment lives in the students they teach. Children today are still feeling the effects in that their parents/grandparents were products of that system and as a result lost a good part of their culture, language, and particularly the cultural values related to parenting. M u c h of that parenting in the past was done through storytelling, that is, it was the main form of education of oral societies. It still is today in the feast house. 5.2 The Finger Wrestler (Excerpt from The Odyssey of Nuhlx his Three Brothers and Sister). The children set out the next day, happy to be on their way. The Nax nok spirit gave them enough food for one meal. They walked for a long time before they came upon a man sitting at the eastern canyon. This was the first challenge. The Gitxsan had not been able to go to this place to hunt, trap or fish because of the finger wrestler who lived here. Here was the man who challenged and killed all who tried to pass. A l l who had tried had fallen to their deaths. The finger wrestler reached out his large finger to challenge the youngsters who stood on the opposite side of the canyon. The wrestler laughed as he shouted out his challenge to a young boy. Nuhlx went over and they locked their middle fingers and Nuhlx was thrown off the cliff. The finger wrestler looked down on the green mucus on 129 his finger. He flung it off onto the rocks below. Maswgwa lo'op ran to the challenge. He called on his power. Maswgwa lo 'op locked fingers and the wrestler fell to his death in the river crushed by a huge boulder that was Maswgwa lo'op's power. This was Maswgwa lo 'op's victory. Kolim lo 'op had pulled the feather from Nuhlx's headband before Nuhlx could get into trouble. She picked up the little red rock that was Maswgwa lo 'op and placed it beside the green mass that was Nuhlx and danced, circling around the two brothers four times. Nuhlx and Maswgwa lo 'op sat up and yawned. The spirit helper had instructed them to burn the house to sacrifice the challenge they defeated. The youngsters cremated the finger wrestler. 5.3 Church And Government "Di lo di slay, di nism ant mas in hlgu t'iihlxw. Ho heh ho heh" sang the owl as she entered the village to take a child into the night (see Chapter 4). No song was sung for the children who were taken away to Residential Schools. The outsiders came with their new ways and new systems to change the First Nations people. According to Perley (1993) colonialism set out to undermine the foundation of the First Nations people. K i n g (1988), Cummins (1985), and Chrisjohn, Young & Maraun (1997) agreed that the greatest outrage of this process was the Residential School concept. To force assimilation they attacked the most vulnerable component of the First Nations society -they took their children. Sutherland (1996) states that the responsibility of First Nations education was delegated to the Churches by the Federal Government. A s a result of being educated by 130 the various churches the students would emerge with a new language, a new life style and a new value system. It was a deliberate process of assimilation. The discourse of the federally sponsored education process was foreign to everything First Nations students had learned prior to entering an educational institution. According to Cummins (1985), the intention of the missionary schools was to remove the First Nations' children from their traditional environment so that they could stop being "savages." The churches established schools in an attempt to "civi l ize" and "assimilate" the First Nations people into the dominant Canadian society. In the 1830s the Minister of Education for Upper Canada was the well-known educationalist, Edgerton Ryerson. He had a great influence on the Church schools and Ryerson's philosophy was that education should be industrial-agricultural where most of the children's time was spent in labor and only two to four hours a day to study (Sutherland, 1996). According to Yuzdepski (1983) the government left the education of First Nations people to religious groups who were wil l ing to accept that responsibility. The government in part assisted financially. There was no evidence that the Canadian Government understood the needs and wishes of the First Nations people or were they prepared to respond to them. 5.4 Levels Of Awareness Despite current research that documents the influence of residential school on First Nations history and culture, it is obvious people are not reading or heeding it. M u c h work (e.g., Haig-Brown, 1988; Hodgson,1990; Ing, 1990; Jaine, 1992; Nuu-chah-Nulth Tribal Council , 1996) has been done on this topic. The awareness level of graduate 131 students and teachers in this province remains minimal. I was amazed to learn this when I attended the University of British Columbia in 2001 to do my course work. It is my intent that this thesis wi l l be made available to non-First Nations teachers who work with First Nations children so they can attempt to understand the educational background of the parents and grandparents of First Nations students in their classes. The failures of the residential school system and the tremendous losses suffered by those who attended and how the effects are still felt today should be understood by all those who teach first Nations students (see Appendix F). Education was inferior for those who attended Residential Schools. In addition, none of the Residential Schools nourished spiritual development. (Hanamuxw, Gitxsan Advisor, Elder and chief,personal communication 2004). A n y studies done on the GitxsanlYixst Nations people must include the devastation caused by residential schools. Smith Mowatt (1999) learned from the Elders who attended residential schools in the early years that children were removed as a part of a systematic program on behalf of the federal government to destroy the culture and assimilate First Nations people into mainstream society. In the later years children were removed for sociological reasons. Their parents, who had been through the residential system, were having difficulty coping with the loss of language and culture and lack of traditional modeling of parenting skills. It was fortunate that I remained at home under the guidance of wonderful parents and grandparents. I w i l l present my experience with a traditional (informal) Gitxsan education for comparison with those who were taken from their homes (for a formal education) and moved far away from the village to attend a residential school. Many non-Gitxsan are involved in the education of Gitxsan children and thus need to understand the history in order to best meet the educational needs of 132 their students who are suffering inter-generational effects of the residential school system, even though they did not attend. This study using my experiences shows how important it is to include the culture of the Gitxsan students in the existing curriculum. This chapter w i l l show the Residential school experience of First Nations people and one of those who remained in her home village and received, in this case, a Gitxsan education. In particular, I w i l l focus on the differences in cultural knowledge, skills and attitudes between those who went away and me, one of those who stayed home. M y life was different because I remained at home. 5.5 Significance Of The Literature The literature on the effects of the residential school system is vast (e.g., Haig-Brown,1988; Hodgson, 1990; Ing, 1990 Jaine, 1992; Nuu-chah-Nulth Tribal Council , 1996) and articulates the losses of language, culture and identity. Residential schools had devastating effects on Canada's First Nations. Jaine (1993) discusses the devastating effects the residential schools had on Canada's First Nations people. Numerous losses of culture, traditions, language and identity have been documented, and the effects are still being felt today. The First Nations students attending residential school did not have the opportunity to sit with an Elder and listen to the stories so that there would be no questions in their minds as to who they were and where they belonged. Loss of family ties, childhood, innocence and support systems resulted in an alienation from the extended family. Loss of identity, individuality and positive self-image created a feeling of unworthiness. Loss of role 133 models gave the students no examples of goal setting. Loss of social skills and morals led to a high rate of self-destructive behaviors. The literature reveals the harsh treatment and the losses suffered by the First Nations children who attended Residential Schools. According to Cummins (1985), K i n g (1988), Moran (1988), Perley (1993), and Chrisjohn, Young & Maraun (1997), their only referent on how to live and have relationships came in the form of institutional rules and school staff and clergy. K i n g stated, "They were treated like stock animals, they were fed, clothed, sheltered. They were trained to respond to whistles and bells, like any well trained animals." The children were treated as second-class citizens and were taught to farm and sew, and many did not receive a basic education. Clothing, food and living conditions were often sub-standard and screening of school staff was minimal, leaving the children vulnerable to many kinds of abuse and neglect. The experience has impaired their sense of self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. In addition, it shows how these past travesties have continued to have a negative impact on future generations. In the eyes of the dominant society, First Nations people were not meant to be high achievers. The First Nations people were looked on as a pool of cheap labor. Menial tasks were the best they could hope for within the dominant society. The residential schools produced many losses and failures because of the loss of the language and culture. The residential schools did not serve any useful purpose. K i n g (1988) concluded that the residential school failed to assimilate First Nations people. While they failed to totally destroy the culture and the language of the First Nations people, but they often succeeded in destroying the self-esteem and self-confidence of the students who attended. 134 The devastation of residential schools goes far beyond the individual experiences of those who attended. Wilson and Napoleon (1994) found that today, while there are no residential schools in existence, so powerful was their mission that the ghosts still haunt those who attended, as well as those who did not and future generations. For many of the First Nations people, education and the experience of school is associated with a sense of loss. The time has come for First Nations People to speak out. I think it is unlikely that residential schools would happen again, but the goals and conditions of residential school remain prevalent in the current school system. For example, racism, curricular omissions and outright errors promote stereotypical views. First Nations People must make events of the Residential Schools and the "ghosts" a part of the historical records in their own voices. It is important that G t o a n / F i r s t Nations students, parents and grandparents engage in a dialogue with historical discourse concerning the effects of residential schools. This wi l l enable them to understand why many of the Gitxsan students are having difficulties in the formal education system. It is important that the Gitxsan students become strong enough to control their own destinies so the Government polices wi l l never again blatantly attempt to obliterate First Nations cultures. The literature reveals the urgency for developing effective First Nations cultural curricula to be used in the schools across the country and in the Gitxsan territories. The literature reveals the serious consequences that result when language and culture are not taught in the classroom. Educators need to be aware of these losses and their impact on First Nations students because it affects their ability to cope with the current educational system and 135 take hold of the educational opportunities available. The devastation of residential schools exists in the classrooms of today. 4.6 Educators Need To Investigate I am concerned that i f I am not clear, my thesis might not be successful. It would be tempting to skip directly to the stories, but it is important for the readers of this study, to know where the stories came from. Teachers need to investigate how missionaries, churches, government agencies, and government policies came into conflict with the Gitxsan who were forced to re-adjust to contrasting notions of existence and property. Teachers need to be convinced to take on this new learning and present them as a part of their consciousness to their students. In the past, we tended to blame ourselves for not making our demands heard. Teachers need to understand why the school is a difficult place for many of the Gitxsan parents to enter. I want the knowledge about the devastating impact of Residental Schools to become an understanding for teachers and from this, the teachers wi l l make changes to benefit their GitxsanfFivst Nations students. Too often schools dedicate two weeks to multi-culturalism and feel that they have done justice to the Gitxsan worldview and the awareness of "other" cultures. According to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), the schools need to focus on the social/historical environment and find new ways to correct and incorporate the changes required. I want teachers to question the rationale of the existing curriculum and systematically implement a curriculum that has at its core a G/£csa«/First Nations perspective across the curriculum. 136 4.7 Analysis Of The Legend: The Finger Wrestler I did not realize at the time the great wealth of knowledge that was unfolding before me as I worked with my grandparents. The language, the customs, the traditions, the beliefs, the culture were all there in the stories. M y experience has provided a direct source for this part. M y analysis wi l l consist of examining the data from themes that relate to the academic significance of these experiences for the people involved and the greater education community. Throughout their history the Gitxsan have always had to battle with monsters, as in the story of Nuhlx, His Three Brothers And Sister (see Chapter 4). But none has been quite as devastating as the reality of Residential Schools. In the story, Nuhlx, His Three Brothers And Sister decide they must clear the Gitxsan Territories of the monsters. Nuhlx, His Three Brothers And Sister knew they were loved by their mother. It had been their choice to go. In many cases with the Residential School, children were taken and parents felt powerless to exert any control. Nuhlx, His Three Brothers And Sister were in tune with the rhythms of the land. Their earlier training with their mother and instructions from the spirit guide gave them confidence and security. They were alert and did not live in fear and hunger. Those who attended Residential Schools could not destroy their monsters. Their monsters stayed with them each day and remain with them today. 137 C H A P T E R S I X : C U R R I C U L U M C O N F L I C T This chapter examines the role of education in the attempt to include Gitxsan Storytelling in the Public School curriculum. This chapter recognizes the importance of including the Gitxsan Elders in outlining the path the thesis must take. Much attention over the years has focused on the reasons for First Nations children under-achieving in the present school system (See, for example, Archibald, 1997 and Newbery, 1994)). Curriculum initiatives need to be encouraged so that schools offer an educational plan that Gitxsan/First Nations students find meaningful and effective in their lives. This chapter w i l l define the oral culture and the traditional learning of the Gitxsan/First Nations students and show how the imposition of European curriculum has changed the culture and curriculum of the Gitxsan/First Nations students. 6.1 The M a n W i t h Haldowgit Powers (Excerpt from The Odyssey of Nuhlx his Three Brothers and Sister). The little group walked a great distance and they came to a spring and decided it would be a good place to stop. They built a fire because they had to blacken the stick like the Naxnok spirit had informed them. It was time to prepare the staff that they were to use when they killed the haldowgit. The Spirit had given them the cedar bark and mas (red ochre). The five youngsters took the blackened staff and wrapped the cedar bark around the end of it and painted the tips of the cedar red with the mus. Once they completed this they set off once again, ready to meet the Haldowgit. The young people waited until it was dark before they approached the shelter. They did not want the Haldowgit to see the haldowgit staff that they had made. The young people entered when the occupant of the shelter bid them enter. The Haldowgit was very happy to see the visitors. The host fed his guests, as this was the custom. Nuhlx looked around and remained very quiet because there was nothing for him to discuss and ridicule. The host seemed like a fine gentleman with refined manners. The host gathered mats and furs and gave them to his guests for their bedding. The host 138 went outside to relieve himself before going to his bed mat. Nuhlx quickly exchanged the host's haldowgit staff with the one they had made. Nuhlx and his family members pretended to be asleep with their loud snores and slow even breathing. The host was also pretending to be asleep. The five on their mats by the fire were keeping a close watch. The host, finally sure the family was sleeping, went to the corner and picked up the staff. The host waved the fringes of cedar bark over the fire. Nuhlx was snoring loudly with his mouth wide open. The man waved the fringes of cedar bark over Nuhlx's mouth. Nuhlx continued to snore loudly. The Haldowgit tried again and moved over to where Masgwa-hlgu-lo'op was sleeping. The man swayed the fringes tinted with mas over Masgwa-hlgu-lo 'op's mouth and Masgwa-hlgu-lo 'op stirred and moved onto his side. The Haldowgit tried all the family members but he could not steal their breath. Finally, he placed his staff in the corner and went to his bed mat on the floor on the far side of the shelter. The Naxnok spirit who had counseled the young people had told them that when the man was sleeping sparks came out of his nose. Then when he moved into a deeper sleep the sparks stopped. Once again it was Nuhlx who took the real haldowgit staff and all the family members stood by as Nuhlx gently moved the fringes of cedar bark tinged with mas by the man's mouth and robbed him of his breath. The haldowgit was dead, killed by his evil staff. The group returned to their bed mats and slept soundly until early morning. The group took the food they would need for their evening meal and burned the house, the contents, and the Haldowgit. Most of the territories were now open to the Gitxsan. The mission that the little family had set out to accomplish was near completion. 139 6.2 Conflicting World Views When people settle together in one place they develop ways of behaving that allow them to live as a group. A s a part of that process they develop laws, customs, rituals, stories and celebrations. They develop ways of understanding the land and each other. Gitxsan/First Nations history, told from the vantage points of the people who lived it, serves to expand a student's understanding of how any fact or event never stands in isolation, but is shaped by the times and people l iving through it. The formal education system of provincial schools in the Gitxsan territories is dominated by the non-First Nations culture, even though non-Fist Nations do..not form a majority of the population. This dominance includes curriculum, pedagogy, values, beliefs and socialization. There are four schools operated by the Coast Mountains School district located on the Gitxsan territories. Today, there are 10,000 members of the Gitxsan Nation; we make up 80% of the local population, yet the school system is designed to follow a curriculum that is intended for the provincial majority i.e. non-First Nations culture. In today's world, Gitxsan/First Nations students l iving in Gitxsan territories are exposed to both Gitxsan and mainstream cultural beliefs. The school environment should also reflect this shift. The challenge facing teachers is to begin to understand these two worldviews and the associated issues so they can then plan ways of dealing positively with their First Nations students. It is important that teachers bridge the curriculum from mainstream culture to First Nations culture. The majority of the students in the Gitxsan territories are Gitxsan. Eighty-five percent of the student population at the Hazelton Schools are Gitxsan. 140 Unless major changes are made within the mandated curriculum at all levels of Gitxsan education, the haldowgit staff is still robbing the breath from the Gitxsan students' education. Our children wi l l continue to be subject to failure syndrome that still exists in the classrooms (Atleo, 1993; Newbery, 1994). The underlying assumptions made by of those presently responsible for providing formal education are seen to be not only educationally inappropriate, but probably contribute to the broader social and emotional disturbances characteristic of Gitxsan society today (Hoffman, 1999). 6.3 Oral Tradition In the education of the Gitxsan, morals and values were transmitted through storytelling, history, legends and songs. These methods were the backbone of the traditional oral education. According to Sutherland (1996), colonialism arrived with many written educational resources that contained material that was irrelevant to First Nations children. First Nations learners were forbidden to speak their language or live their culture while in formal education programs such as residential schools. Wilson (1996) also states that the Gitxsan have historically been an oral society and the adaawk and the ant'imahlasxw are an essential aspect of learning all life's lessons. He states that oral history is power. It does not require our recognizing it to give it power. Gitxsan art affirmed the visual voice of the culture. The art objects were the recordings of actual events created through the time and space of the Gitxsan society. In these art creations the Gitxsan narrated the past history, stories and songs. Sterling (1997) states that knowledge can be passed from one generation to another in a number of ways. A n oral tradition is the passing of knowledge orally from 141 one generation to the next. Unti l recently, the Gitxsan l ived by knowledge that was passed to them through their oral tradition. The skills for survival such as hunting, making clothing, tools, medicinal and religious practices were taught by telling and showing one another how to do these things. Singing, telling stories, and plays are also ways of passing knowledge through the oral tradition. While acknowledging that proficiency in written English could lead people to having more control over their lives, Erickson (1996) continues to support the continuance of the oral tradition. She suggests that the Gitxsan community should seek a term such as bi-cultural or Gitxsan immersion rather than literacy to describe the nature of their historically oral society. More and more of the Gitxsan children's education come from schoolbooks, and popular culture, such as television, movies and videos rather than from Elders. Over time, and with the continuous adoption of a mainstream lifestyle less of their knowledge comes from the oral tradition of their own culture. Cultural knowledge can provide the children with a sense of identity. Knowing who you are can give you pride in your culture. Elders have information that is needed for survival in the 21 s t century and in the future. The knowledge is enclosed in the stories. The paternal side of the family and every adult in the community were expected to help children learn different survival skills. This was so they could take care of this breath of life given to us from the Creator. It was important that children know the conservation and preservation laws. (Hanamuxw, Gitxsan Advisor, Elder and chief, personal communication 2000). 142 6.4 The Power Of Stories The key elements of Gitxsan storytelling that emerge from the voices of the Elders, include the past and present definition and purpose of the story, the potential of storytelling, the power of storytelling, and the characteristics of Gitxsan/First Nations stories. Within the Gitxsan community, storytelling is personal, interpretative and uniquely cultural. Gitxsan storytelling is by design a co-creative process. Since time immemorial the Gitxsan have told their stories. When the storyteller speaks, he or she is the vehicle for the voices of the Gitxsan ancestors. Gitxsan stories come from the Breath of our Grandfathers. The storyteller and listeners become a part of many storytellers past, present and future (Persky, 1998). The Gitxsan Wet'suwet'en Education Society [GWES] Proposal (1990) maintains that the culture determines the Gitxsan way of constructing knowledge. It provides them with their history and identity, and forms the basis of their relationships with everyone and everything. Culture defines Gitxsan values, spirituality and worldview. It is generally understood that storytelling is a powerful medium for children's learning (Egan, 1986). There is good reason to believe that stories used in First Nations learning should come from their own First Nations heritage. In my personal and professional experience, I have become convinced that relevant stories can be used to enhance First Nations students' understanding of themselves and others. The underlying beliefs of First Nations students are directiy related to how they conduct themselves. With the use of Gitxsan stories in the classroom, the education of the Gitxsan students would better represent the dual nature of their daily lives. Gitxsan children can be taught to apply the 143 lessons to their lives as they engage in both Gitxsan and mainstream society. The Gitxsan oral stories offer a rich resource for children's learning that can be incorporated into the Gitxsan students' school experience. The potential value of storytelling in children's learning depends on the active role of the listener. Egan (1986) stresses that children are readily and powerfully engaged by stories and that stories stir their imaginations. Furthermore, Egan believes that imaginations are the most powerful and energetic tools for learning. Both telling a story and listening to a story encourages students to use their imagination. Developing the imagination can empower students to consider new innovative ideas. According to Egan, a well-developed imagination can cbntribue to self-confidence and motivate the students to envision themselves as competent and able to accomplish their hopes and dreams in this lifetime. Therefore, I contend that using the stories and storytelling of the Gitxsan tradition can become a powerful means to overcome the legacy of the residential school system and instill the self-confidence and competence that w i l l assist Gitxsan students in developing lives worth l iving in both Gitxsan and mainstream societies. Storytelling has the potential to guide young Gitxsan students toward a constructive personal value system by presenting imaginative situations in which the outcomes of wise and unwise actions and decisions can be recognized. For instance, in the story The Little Porcupine, we see that Porcupine made unwise choices. He did not manage his anger and in the midst of trying to destroy the creek, he destroyed himself (see Chapter 4). 144 6.5 A Great Storyteller Everyone loves a good story. Unlike linear facts, a good storyteller provides the images and the listener paints a picture in his/her mind and the story is never forgotten. The very best storytellers I know are Gitxsan Elders. Before she would begin the telling of a story my Na 'a would always set the stage. Nuhlx and His Three Brothers and Sister lived in a village with their mother. They were the only ones there. Something mysterious had happened to the other people. While listening my imagination would quickly set the scene, the setting, and the weather. M y emotions would come into play and even today, the story of Nuhlx and His Three Brothers and Sister always make me sad. Throughout the story Na'a would weave in customs, beliefs, traditions and humour. I learned that the Gitxsan never knocked on doors. I learned the secret of harvesting devil 's club for medicinal use. She would stop telling and laugh through her fingers at Nuhlx and his antics. Then, with sadness, she would suggest that there would be conflict. The Gitxsan were whispering about the strange children without a father. Soon their journey of hardship would begin and my imagination ran ahead of the storyteller as I started to try and imagine how the characters would overcome the opposition and leave me with a happy ending. The Gitxsan Territories were surrounded by monsters. How would Nuhlx and His Three Brothers and Sister face the challenges? Although, the story ends tragically, the Gitxsan have the monuments of the characters on Sdikyoodenax, today, to remind them of their young heroes, and their never-ending story. A n d they also made many triumphs of overcoming the monsters, which can be seen as symbolic challenges we all have to face. 145 6.6 Training New Storytellers I have been teaching in the elementary school system for sixteen years. I have been teaching Sim 'algax and storytelling to adults for twelve years. I have been training as a storyteller most of my life. M y favorite place to take "future storytellers" is Anlo. We sit around a campfire drinking coffee. I use Na'a's style of storytelling. I tell Gitxsan stories of conflict and then I share my own story about sorrows that I have faced and overcome. I ask my students to tell about the time when they had conflict in their lives that they have come through. The residential school experience often surfaces and with it the emotions surrounded by the ordeal. I then suggest that they use this passion and emotion when they tell Gitxsan stories. Gitxsan stories are intended to model core values, to provide positive examples of people who are doing good things and also those who have done bad things with major consequences. In the story, The Night of the Owl, the parents neglected to comfort a child (see Chapter 4). I tell stories about animals so that they can be retold to children. I tell stories of how the Gitxsan had to learn hard lessons from their unkindness to animals. In the story, The Revenge of the Mountain Goats, the hunters mistreat the goats and forgot the Gitxsan laws (see Chapter 4). From the beginning of time, humans of any age have known the magic of listening to a good story. Stories can educate andTransport listeners to new realms. Stories are one of the most important ways in which children learn - and learn to care. 146 6.7 Advice To New Storytellers According to the Elders, a good storyteller has to believe in the stories. The secret of believing in the stories is to take the story and apply it to your life. For example, with the story of Reincarnation, I remember the part, 'when faced with a mountain, stop and wait it out.' I have applied this to my life many times (see Chapter 4). From the stories of animals, the storyteller needs to have learned to treat all l iving things with respect. I established a connection with nature through meditation and in my dreams I learned that my spirit animal is the eagle. A good storyteller has to examine each story and list the lessons learned from the stories. A good storyteller has to make connections with the stories. For instance, in the story, The Origin of the Gitxsan, the man crawls out from a bed of pine needles. When I tell this story, I suggest to my listeners to keep the pine needles in their thoughts (see Chapter 4). Then I tell the story, Weget and the Ball of Light, Weget changes himself into a pine needle that the princess swallows and Weget is born. The first Gitxsan comes from the shelter of pine needles, Weget is a pine needle (see Chapter 4). I also suggest that storytellers find a place to establish a spiritual connection. I go to Anlo, a place where I grew up, and there I reflect on the stories of my childhood and the voice of Na 'a whispers in the breeze. A s I sat out at Anlo one day, a piece of fluff from the fireweed floated in the gentle wind; this started the writing of the modern day legend, The Young Egret (see Chapter 4). 147. 6.8 Interrupting The Story The intervention of colonial discourse, practice and ultimately colonial legislation designed to destroy First Nations cultures led to massive disorientation, which created social, political and economic dysfunction (e.g., Hodgson, 1990; Ing, 1990; Jaine, 1992; Miller, 1996). First Nations people today may have recovered somewhat and now understand the contemporary world, but many are still in the process of learning how to meet the ordinary requirements of today's schools (Haig-Brown, 1988). Educators need to understand and create an environment that is as effective as the traditional education system was for the traditional First Nations students. Atleo (1993) stresses that traditional First Nations people understood their world and were appropriately oriented to it. Motivation, effort, persistence, guidance, and encouragement were not a problem since prestige, acceptance, and survival depended upon a satisfactory level of performance. Gitxsan hunters, fishermen and healers have a sense of knowing. The hunter has a sense of the forest and knows if there is an animal nearby. The fisherman stands on the banks of the 'Xsan and knows whether or not he/she will catch any fish. The healer enters the room and knows who is in need of healing. This knowledge comes from their close relationship to the land and the Creator. The Gitxsan/First Nations people knew how to function effectively within their world. 148 6.9 Storytelling And Residential Schools Sutherland (1996) provides historical research from Ansbahyaxw, a Gitxsan village, of how education for First Nations people has gone from Church control to The Department of Indian Affairs control to local control. It was found that there were many similarities during the Church and Department of Indian Affairs periods of control. She discovered that the curriculum during the period of the Church and Department of Indian Affairs control was not at all sensitive to the cultural needs of the students. For example, under both systems, the First Nations children were punished i f they spoke their language, told their stories or played their traditional games. Smith Mowatt (1999) maintained that i f the oral stories of the Gitxsan can survive all the betrayal that the culture has endured, then the stories must have power. For many Gitxsan who attended residential schools, the lost stories produced generations with a sense of a loss of identity. Wilp Si'satxw Community Healing Centre (2001) lists 184 known students attending one of the following residential schools: Edmonton, Port Alberni , Lytton, Coqualeetza and Lejac. This covered a time period from the early 1920s to the 1970s. The effects on those 184 students and their families are far-reaching. The effects on the future generation is devastating; who w i l l teach the language and who wi l l tell the stories? The Elders believe that Gitxsan storytelling passes on the essence of who the Gitxsan are as human beings. Elders are the libraries...their knowledge, their skills, attitudes and their experiences constitute the record of knowledge and the wisdom of the people. Their memories serve as collective knowledge and wisdom. Education is the process of communicating this knowledge and wisdom through oral language, actions and behaviors (Ing, 1990, p. 33). 149 6.10 The Story Of First Nations Control In the 1960s the First Nations leaders began to voice their concerns about the unsatisfactory education made available to their people. This resulted in the federal Government's Standing Committee on Indian Affairs ' decision to conduct a study and prepare a report that would cover all areas of First Nations policy, including education. According to Young-Ing,1988, the policy proposed that the "special status" of Indian people within Canada be ended and that Indians have no rights beyond those of other Canadians. The paper became known to the First Nations people as the "White Paper," since assimilation of First Nations people was the underlying goal of this policy. In its emphasis on achieving contemporaray equality for the Indian, the white paper paid scant attention to the liabilities that had been accumulating for Indians from the inequalities of the past (Ponting 1989, p. 33). The First Nations people heralded a shift from being passive recipients of an imposed educational system to a proactive approach (Ward, 1986). First Nations leaders began to voice their concerns about the unsatisfactory education made available to their people. The National Indian Brotherhood developed the policy Indian Control of Indian Education, that was nicknamed the "Red Paper." The Canadian Government's official position on First Nations' education was then to remain unclarified until 1973, when the Department of Indian Affairs "accepted in principle" the National Indian Brotherhood's policy paper (Young-Ing, 1988, p.32). This position paper set the stage for band controlled schools (Kirkness, 1992). This was the beginning step for a complete reorganisation of all the Canadian schools involved in First Nations education. Ward (1986) also determined that it was clear that the federal government was finally accepting responsibility for the appropriate 150 educational needs of First Nations children in Canada. The federal government began acknowledging the importance of curriculum, parental involvement, cultural relevance, administration and the quality of instruction. The federal government began to make major policy changes regarding First Nations education that agreed with the terms set out by the National Indian Brotherhood's (1972) position paper. It was the dawn of a new discourse of First Nations education in Canada, where the federal government would relinquish its control and allow First Nations people to take control of their own education system. According to Atleo (1993) in a study done for the Native Brotherhood and Native Sisterhood of British Columbia, more than eighty percent of First Nations students in Grades 4 to 12 have healthy self-images when compared to First Nations students in the 1950s. He suggested that the current state of First Nations education in British Columbia has shown improvement compared to the failures of the past, but the academic performance of First Nations students still lags considerably behind students from the larger society. Atleo (1993) concludes that where colonial discourses produced failures, the inclusions of First Nations discourse has the potential to produce successes. The former discourse created dependents, while the latter discourse promises to create a people who can contribute both to mainstream society and Gitxsan societies. 6.11 Storytelling And Literacy The position developed by Hoffman (1999) is that literacy programs should be developed, delivered, implemented and evaluated within the Gitxsan communities. The programs should communicate Gitxsan reflections and realities. Literacy programs 151 should recognize that there are other valid means of communication, in addition to reading and writing. Erickson (1996) found that the Gitxsan come from a culture that has a rich tradition of orality. Many of the Chiefs and Elders are great orators. The spoken word, in their own language, is their most valued way to communicate. In the feast hall the Gitxsan still pass on the history and knowledge of their families through the spoken word. For the Gitxsan youth to lose this part of their culture would be to lose a way of life. Literacy is a word that tends to describe shortcomings rather than true abilities and knowledge ; Rather than evaluate Gitxsan literacy based on the current definition of the Western education system, the meaning of literacy must capture the theme of the body of knowledge in the community and acknowledge the wisdom of the Gitxsan. Hanamuxw (2004) states that the Western definition of literacy that takes us away from our cultural knowledge is a translation problem. Many of the Sim 'algax words do not have a counterpart in English. In some cases there is a loss of the literal meaning or the meaning is distorted.- The grammar rules for Sim'algax are more complicated than English that also makes accurate translations difficult. According to Erickson (1996), literacy may be viewed as a means of measuring an individual's ability to communicate. Within the First Nations society, communications have been based on an oral tradition. In addition, she stated that orality provides the foundation for literacy. This means that by listening and talking to one another we learn the rules of the language, which in turn connects us with one another. When people write they need to be able to connect with the audience, or risk not being 152 able to pass on their ideas. She believes that the human voice and speech are as important to gaining literacy as knowing the alphabet, letter sounds, and sentences. The key to literacy is in speech. Noll (1998) observed that "conceptual shifts" have to be made to adopt reading and writing with First Nations groups. The adoption of reading and writing as a primary means of communication involves transition. The transition to adopt a new language includes accommodating changes in the ways of learning and thinking patterns. It involves moving from oral delivery to printed versions. He found that the schools tend to disregard the experiences, language and cultural understandings of First Nations people. This is not surprising since early Indian schools were established to suppress First Nations languages. Wilson (1996) confirmed this fact by recounting his own experience of being punished for speaking Sim'algax. Erickson (1996) states that English communications skills, however gradually acquired, move First Nations people further away from a culture rich in tradition and stories. I see this as a high price to pay for literacy; we can, however, choose to define literacy on our own terms. My argument is not with reading and writing; it is with the content. I want the Gitxsan students to be competent in the oral culture by listening to stories and telling stories, as in the teaching of the past. The students are learning words that appear on paper that do not reflect their daily lives. Gitxsan stories are embedded in the culture. Literacy should bridge this gap for the Gitxsan students and incorporate Gitxsan stories in text and in this way the students can connect with the written word. By using Gitxsan artifacts, paintings and other artworks, a teacher can reach students who may not respond to conventional academic methods. Art can be used as a way of 153 teaching about cultural identity, historical inaccuracies and current social issues. The artist always produces his artwork in a social context. Literacy would be re-defined and the issues of literacy would not be foreign to the Gitxsan students. The students would be bi-cultural and bi-lingual. I maintain that stories that teach values to Gitxsan/First Nations students in the cultural practices of that nation can be used in the classroom to draw Gitxsan/First Nations children closer to a way of life that promotes the development of human potential. From this point the students, equipped with the knowledge of whom they are, can reach beyond their cultural development and connect to other cultures and other lands. In The First Salmon Celebration, the One Who Returned came back with the knowledge of the salmon traditions and shared it with everyone (see Chapter 4). Jobe (1993) cautions against literature that is not authentic to the culture, whether it is First Nations or any other culture in the world. The literature should record a culture's achievements of the past and provide the tools for achieving its aspirations for the future. He states that on the other hand, for outsiders, First Nations stories provide a new experience in reading because new points of view are expressed based on first hand experiences. First Nations literature offers new myths, new metaphors, and new language to the existing worldview. The First Nations literature can inspire the readers as well as alter their perspectives about First Nations people. • -Olson (1994) discusses the low levels of English literacy among the First Nations children across Canada. He says that they are often two to four grades behind in their ; tested levels of reading. In addition, almost one half of the First Nations children drop 154 out of school at grade nine. He states that primary factors that contribute to this rate of failure are language, script, culture and pedagogy. It is assumed that First Nations peoples lack a writing system. The new view according to Olson (1994) is that writing is not adequately thought of as the transcription of speech but rather as a means of preserving and communicating information. Olson says that much of the First Nations art and graphic representations communicate the same as writing. Olson feels that it is possible that we have defined literacy too narrowly. Perhaps the First Nations have been literate all along. Gitxsan knowledge is generally transmitted orally and experientially, but not through writing. It is learned through hands-on experience and not taught in abstractions. Instead of relying on epistemology based on explicit hypotheses, theories and laws, it relies on spiritual attained, and collective knowledge. Gitxsan knowledge tries to understand systems as a whole and tries not to isolate the interacting parts. Foreign literature has continued to play a dominant role in the education system of all First Nations students. A s a consequence, school courses often seem irrelevant to First Nations learners. Many never complete high school and contribute in high numbers to the failure syndrome so common with First Nations students. Only recently, with acknowledgment of First Nations control of First Nations education, have we begun to motivate First Nations learners with resources which they can relate to because they are based on their cultural heritage (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1999). 155 6.12 Traditional Education In the language of the Gitxsan, morals and values were transmitted through storytelling, history and songs. These methods were and still are the backbone of the oral tradition. Wilson (1996) affirmed that the Gitxsan lived by seven values, which are honesty, humility, respect, trust, honor, sharing and humor (see Figure 5). Hanamuxw (2004) makes the distinction between scientific knowledge (dominant), lifeworld ways of knowing (what the Gitxsan learn by experiencing everyday life) and narrative way of know (learning from stories). The Gitxsan have their way of creating meaning. Over many generations the Gitxsan have developed a holistic traditional knowledge of their lands. The Gitxsan have developed a legitimate and practical way of transmitting information to the learners. This knowledge has been recorded within our oral traditions and not in text. The arrival of the onslaught of new conveniences interfered with the balance of the survival of the culture. For example, there is harmony in hunting and fishing, both which require knowledge and skil l . There is a release of energy from which we are rewarded with meat and fish and there is a sense of accomplishment. The oral tradition must be viewed by educators of Gitxsan/First Nations children as a distinctive intellectual tradition; not simply as myths and legends and addressed in a week of multi-cultural days set aside in the school year. Too often, attempts to contrast traditional knowledge with scientific knowledge creates a sense with Gitxsan students that their way of knowing is not legitimate. In the past, formal type of instruction would take place in the evenings among the young people and their house chief. The house chief explained to the house members where the territories for their house group began and ended. A house member, usually 156 the uncle, would show them where they could fish, hunt, trap and pick berries. The learners were counseled to respect the wisdom of the Elders. Throughout the traditional First Nations education we see the integrated curriculum that was relevant and very important for the youth to internalize and exhibit. According to Cassidy (1984) traditional education is an integrated view that emphasizes the unity of life, a holistic conception of human beings, their relationship to each other and their natural world. Bopp (1986) affirmed that education was a part of everyday life and incorporated into every action that was taken. This contrasts dramatically with the typical school-based learning which compartmentalizes learning into subjects and the connections are not made. 6.13 His tor ica l Background Oral literature is a continual aspect of all First Nations peoples' lives. Stories, rituals, drama, chants, songs and anecdotes are all considered as forms of oral literature. In print First Nations oral literature often appears sparse to the reader. For example, in the story, The Young Chief, the complex process of becoming a chief is not explained. First Nations literature is brought to life and the gaps filled in by the First Nations audience together with their shared knowledge of the traditions and cultures (Archibald, 1997; Sterling, 1997). Stories that teach values to First Nations students in culturally appropriate ways can be used in the classroom to draw First Nations children closer to a way of life that promotes the development of human potential. From this point the students, equipped 157 with the knowledge of whom they are, can reach beyond their cultural development and connect to other cultures and other lands. The enduring and dynamic character of the First Nations literature is often misunderstood because they did not have a written language. However, First Nations literature is transmitted from generation to generation through storytelling, rituals and ceremonies. Another misinterpretation is the notion that First Nation stories are fictional and not worthy of being assigned educational value. The First Nations literature is actually historical because it reflects the traditional values of the past in order to make sense of the present and future (Archibald, 1997; Sterling, 1997). First Nations literature tells the First Nations peoples where they come from and establishes their relationship to the physical and spiritual worlds. Champagne (1994) implies that a particular difference from foreign literature is that First Nations literature expresses a feeling for the land. There is a need for dependence on the community and each other. There is a feeling for ritual and ceremony as an integral part of life. 6.14 Historical Contemporary Background Historically, school textbooks contain very little authentic material and are not at all culturally sensitive, yet students of all cultural backgrounds are required to take History or Social Studies courses that use such texts. Kirkness (1977) states that traditional history has been taught using ideas that do not contain First Nations context, thus they actually have a negative effect on the self-image of First Nations students. She believes that we must counteract everything that is damaging to our educational system. 158 The textbooks invert the terms, picturing white aggressors as settlers and often showing First Nations people who lived on the land as aggressors. Few texts used in schools actually make reference to life skills that the settlers learned from First Nations people. Kirkness points out the inequalities published about First Nations peoples. She found in a study of six ethnic groups, First Nations people were the least favored by the researchers. They were portrayed as primitive, unskilled, aggressive and hostile compared to the hardworking immigrants. A l l these stereotypes take a toll on First Nations learners. Kirkness maintains that a textbook has no right to be wrong, or insult or malign a whole race of people. Textbooks commonly used in classrooms throughout Canada have been criticized for not only being inappropriate, but also as contributing to the broader social and emotional disturbances characterized by many First Nations students. New textbooks need to be created that contain more accurate historical accounts and a connection with current-day issues. Today, as we begin the 21 s t century the Gitxsan still do not have a textbook that accurately portrays their history, language and culture. Francis (1995) examines the image of the "Indian in Canadian Culture." He covers all the areas where the imaginary Indian has been, and continues to be. Examples of what the non-First Nations culture has wanted to believe about First Nations people are used to demonstrate the myths about Indian people. First there were the photographs and paintings of First Nations people, where models always had the same expression on their face. Many artists become quite famous by picking such "stony" subjects. Francis goes on to explore the different images of First Nations people in Canada and says that the Imaginary Indian is ever with us, oscillating throughout our history from friend to foe, 159 from Noble Savage to blood-thirsty warrior, from debased alcoholic to wise Elder, from monosyllabic "squaw" to eloquent princess, from enemy of progress to protector of the environment. A l l these different stereotypes take a toll on First Nations learners, who become confused about their self-image and try to become something imaginary. Francis (1995 quotes a good example of the confusion as illustrated by Randy Fred who writes, "We saw the same movies in that school that white kids did: westerns; and, like them, we cheered on the cowboys or the cavalry. We played Cowboys and Indians—and we all wanted to be cowboys" (p 11). Francis (1995) also deals with the problem of literature used in schools that contains images of the Indian created by various non-First Nations writers and educators. In addition, there are materials that are passed off as being authentic, such as storybooks and curriculum material that were actually written by non-First Nations individuals and contain inaccurate information. Francis strongly feels that Canadians need to do away with the "imaginary Indian" and need to understand the reality of First Nations people. This reality needs to then be put into writing and incorporated into school curriculum so that both First Nations and non-First Nations learners can better understand First Nations culture instead of being unsure of whom the Gitxsan are and what they represent in the world. 6.15 Authentic Curriculum The education of the public schools in the territories is not authentic. Gitxsan have not been involved with the development of the curriculum. The content of the 160 public school curriculum is lacking in any reference to the Gitxsan. Therefore, it is fair to say that education in our area is not culturally sensitive. The needs of the Gitxsan students are not being met. Gitxsan role models are not included in the curriculum materials nor are Gitxsan views expressed or contrasted with the views of the larger Canadian society. Gitxsan Elders and important political figures are not represented in texts nor are they invited to present history from their perspective to challenge the minds of the students. The Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that Gitxsan oral history is credible evidence (Persky, 1998). There is no reason to delay developing curriculum materials and teaching resources that are appropriate for Gitxsan students. A n y course offering information on Gitxsan culture must be firmly rooted in an understanding of the philosophy and values that created and maintained their society. The education for Gitxsan should be designed with input from Gitxsan teachers, Elders and leaders. The curriculum must take into account the importance of spirituality that encompasses all the beliefs of the Gitxsan. Today, as well as in the past, the absence of the Gitxsan perspective in the curriculum explains why the education system continues to be perceived as irrelevant to most Gitxsan students. 6.16 Cul ture A n d Educat ion Dawson (1988) believes that it is important for First Nations students to receive instruction through First Nations stories in order to enhance their self-images and acquire accurate knowledge about themselves. He summarizes the feelings of many First Nations parents: "If our children are proud, i f our children have identity, i f our children know who they are they wi l l be able to encounter anything in life" (p. 22). 161 If we believe this then we need to provide children with real information about of what there is to be proud. They need to be proud of their language and culture. I believe that Gitxsan stories are unique and fascinating. They can be empowering to a Gitxsan child. Storytelling plays an important part in restoring and preserving the culture. Certainly, this has been my experience as I grew up in a tightly-knit Gitxsan family and community where storytelling was a well established tradition. Literature is considered to be an effective vehicle for the transmission and understanding of culture (Bopp, 1986; McCabe, 1995). Unless the school values the culture of the child, the child fails to see the importance of education (Newbery, 1994). I want to include Gitxsan stories in the curriculum of schools in the Gitxsan territories and the education of the Gitxsan students would be balanced and enriched. I agree with Dawson (1988) that the central goal of schools with First Nations students should be to develop a bicultural identity so that the students may function successfully in both First Nations and non-First Nations societies. For the non-First Nations students, the benefits include a deeper cultural understanding of the First Nations culture. In addition, they learn open-mindedness that they can apply to many other cultures. A l l children can be taught to apply the lessons to their lives. 6.17 Fai lure Syndrome School failure, according to Olson (1994), lies also in the contrasts of the First Nations and Western cultures. Western culture focuses on the analytical, scientific knowledge and in First Nations communities the parents and Elders focus on the integration of knowledge as they teach young children by sharing experiences with them. 162 Educators who acknowledge these differences can search for ways to help. He states that First Nations students should not be expected to assimilate and the relationship of culture and pedagogy should be reciprocal. Lack of authentic materials in the classrooms in the Gitxsan Territories and for all First Nations people contribute to the failure syndrome so often associated with First Nations students. McCabe (1995) explains that it is important for educators to be aware that all students come to school with their culture, their values and especially their own stories. Children comprehend and remember stories that conform to the structure of the stories they have heard at home. However, in most cases - historically and continuing today - non-First Nations stories play the most significant role in the education program of all First Nations students. Many First Nations students' experiences are considerably mismatched with those portrayed in most stories used in the school curricula. There is conflict between their stories and the ones they encounter in school. A s a consequence, school courses often seem irrelevant to many First Nations learners. The Night of the Owl is a highly spiritual story that takes place on the Gitxsan territories. The students can relate to the characters and the lessons to be learned. They have heard the story at home (see Chapter 4). McCabe (1995) believes that irrelevant curricula have contributed in high numbers to the failure syndrome so common with First Nations. Lack of enriching, accurate information about First Nations people and cultures are in part to blame for our having the highest depression and suicide rates in the country (Hodgson, 1991). Leading up to this fact are the high rates of school dropout, high unemployment, welfare dependency, substance abuse, and high rates of poverty. 163 Champagne (1994) believes that Native American children who have been deprived of the opportunity to develop a strong cultural base through the transmission of their culture from the previous generation do not possess the same capacity to learn and adapt to school programs, which do not support the transmission of culture. A s well he claims that such children cannot develop the cognitive functions required for success in the formal learning situation and this contributes to the failure syndrome so common for First Nations children in school. He advocates developing children's capacity to function effectively in their own cultural situation. To this end he recommends a direct involvement of parents, grandparents, paternal side of the family and community in the delivery of cultural information. I believe that this can be supplemented by the school i f culturally appropriate curriculum materials were available and i f teachers were encouraged to develop competence the in storytelling pedagogical process. I also believe that children who have a strong cultural base wi l l be better prepared to function effectively in other cultural situations. 6.18 Changes Requi red There are differences between curriculum as planned and the curriculum as lived. I think sometimes the curriculum as planned becomes a straight-jacket (Smith, 1996). Curriculum as planned (i.e., the Ministry mandated curriculum) becomes a straight jacket as relevant Gitxsan materials are not identified. Parents are kept in straightjackets as they are shut out of the planning of the school programs. There is a need for parental involvement to voice the need for Gitxsan Storytelling as part of the Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Career and Personal Planning programs. 164 Long range goals that meet the needs and aspirations of the parents and the local community need to be evaluated and implemented at the local level. Despite the fact that there have been calls for more appropriate curriculum materials by Gitxsan and non-Gitxsan teachers, there are few examples of any serious attempts to rectify the situation. The Gitxsan Territories, however, are rich with history and culture and this should be evident in our schools. According to Beck, Walters and Franciso (1995), the story is an intrinsic and basic form of communication. McCabe (1995) explains that stories are the primary means by which children make sense of their experiences. More than with any other form of communication, the telling of stories is an essential part of the human experience. Stories are the prime vehicle for assessing and interpreting events and experience. The Elders stress the importance of Gitxsan children learning from their own culture. According to Hanamuxw, it is the responsibility of the Wilxsilaks (Father Clan) to be the "professors." They are hired for life, their contract does not expire. It is said of the Wilxsilaks that they provide the cradle upon birth and the casket upon death. Gitxsan teachings expect those with a set of skills to share their knowledge with the people around them. This is why the Creator has given these skills. Gitxsan knowledge is meant to be shared. Gitxsan suffer from being misperceived because of the inadequate portrayal of their contributions to history in the school's curriculum. This injures the child as this does not contribute to a strong self-image and contributes to non-GiYxsarc/First Nations students sometimes having a negative perception of Gitxsan culture. Archibald, Friesen and Smith (1993) affirm that Aboriginal heroes are everywhere. Thinking about heroes 165 invokes special images because everyone has someone who exemplifies courage, strength or other powerful characteristics. Children need heroes for their personal striving for excellence. They need to know that not only do the fine attributes exist in heroes, but also that these qualities lie within everyone. In the story, The Odyssey of Nuhlx, His Three Brothers and Sister, students hear about the young people who went to conquer the monsters that surrounded the Gitxsan Territories (see Chapter 4). Here storytelling becomes pedagogy and the story teaches about heroism and the children can access the hero within themselves. Newbery (1994) concluded that a school curriculum that does not include First Nations history contributes to the alienation of students. Schools that do not integrate First Nations culture and history into their curriculum send out the message that first Nations history and culture are not very important and has not made a contribution to the development of the country. First Nations literature offers an alternate way of thinking and can add new dimensions to existing thought patterns. It often confronts the reader with history that is stark and unredeemable because the treatment of First Nations people was insensitive. Educators in Gitxsan/First Nations territories need to be aware of the conflict their curriculum models bring to the GitxsanfFivst Nations children. The values of First Nations students do not match the values of the public school model. The educators need to understand that the assimilation model is no longer appropriate, t hey need to understand the concept of bi-cultural education. A l l too often the First Nations children are expectedto replace their values with those of the mainstream curriculum in order to be successful in school. 166 In addition, the First Nations learning styles were not taken into account when delivering the curriculum content to students. First Nations students need to have oral, visual, holistic, experimental, hands-on kinds of learning activities. Garnett (1988) believes in a curriculum that encourages student ownership, discovery learning and creative approaches. First Nations students need to be challenged in the higher - order cognitive abilities (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) in order to provide opportunities for imagination, creativity and social interaction, and to require students to take responsibility for their own learning. According to Archibald (1997) the creation of a successful curriculum needs to involve a team. The approach has to be based on the collective beliefs of the local community, leaders and educators. She offers suggestions and a model to be used in the development of curriculum for First Nations children that can be adapted for the Gitxsan children. 6.19 Creating Opportunities For Community Involvement For many years First Nations leaders have been actively seeking ways in which to make the education system of Canada relevant to the needs of the First Nations children. Documents produced by First Nations people indicate the importance of community involvement in the development of cultural programs. The National Indian Brotherhood (1972) states that the First Nations people are the best judges of the type of education to be delivered to First Nations children. In order to provide quality education on the Gitxsan Territories there must be involvement with the Chiefs and Elders. It is only through this connection that strength wi l l be found. 167 The Gitxsan Wet'suwit'en Education Society (1990) provides supporting evidence that the Gitxsan place great importance on the local control of education. Gitxsan regard community involvement as an essential component of any education program. According to G W E S , the connections among language, culture and identity are required for academic success with First Nations students. A n education system that does not positively reflect the culture of its students in effect denies the core of their being. It was declared by a Gitxsan Elder that i f we allow the language and culture to die, we, as a people die along with it; the language and culture defines who we are. (Baaskyaalaxha, Gitxsan Elder and chief, personal communication 2000). 6.20 Cultural Framing According to Archibald, Friesen and Smith (1993), the significance of a culture can best be understood in terms of the cultural practice from which it springs. Non-First Nations writers produce fine literature, but it is not from the First Nations peoples' point of view. The stories told by First Nations people reveal the depth and status of the culture. The First Nations values, beliefs, customs and traditions are recorded in First Nations thought patterns. First Nations peoples since time immemorial have had many experiences out of which may emerge guides for behavior. The stories about these experiences tend to give direction to the lives of children. The British Columbia Ministry of Education (1999) encourages teachers to find resources that are most relevant to and useful for their students, and to supplement these with locally approved materials and resources to meet specific local needs. They support and encourage learners to understand and respect cultural, racial and linguistic diversity. 168 A s well the Ministry of Education suggests that classroom activities should also help students link classroom learning with the language and cultures in their homes. The literature as well as the students reveal urgency for developing effective Gitxsan/First Nations cultural curricula to be used in the schools across the country and in the Gitxsan territories. There is also evidence of a lack of action being taken by any of the funding sources. The literature review indicates the need for parental and community involvement, but again there is no evidence in the literature that this is taking place in the Gitxsan Territories. L ike Nuhlx and his brothers and sister, we have the materials, the information and the instructions on how to create the haldowgit staff. We now need the opportunity to take the breath of the dominant culture and reconstruct the curriculum for Gitxsan children, adding the breath of the Gitxsan tradition. 169 CHAPTER SEVEN: FOCUS ON CULTURE AND LANGUAGE Freire (1981) states, "the basic function of education is to help the learner to name his/her world" (p. 13). This defines the problems of most teachers and the Gitxsan/First Nations students. The culture of the student is not in the consciousness of most teachers and as a result the Gitxsan/First Nations student does not learn to name his/her world in the school. Culture refers to the language and patterns of perception, thought and knowledge on the minds of l iving people that provide them with motivation or directions for behavior. This chapter w i l l provide the teacher with information to increase his/her awareness of the culture and summarize it into curriculum for the classroom. The best learning for the teacher would be to attend a Li'ligit and watch the Breath of our Grandfathers in action. 7.1Potlatch (Li'ligit) Li 'ligit means to call a gathering where repayments are made. Repayments are made for previous loans received from the Father or Grandfather clans. Payments are made to individuals from other clans who have performed tasks for the host clan and for baptisims for members of the Wilp. In the past the biggest Li'ligit was known as the Yukw. Our Grandfathers managed their world and confirmed their worldview through the Li'ligit. The Li'ligit was connected to marriages, divorces and deaths and all legal matters requiring witnesses. Without a written language, our Grandfathers could not draw up a legal document. They needed a Li'ligit in order to make a binding agreement and to validate the completion of each activity that has been carried out by the Wilp. A l l the leading chiefs were invited. The guests were well fed, given gifts and entertained. In addition, they were given surplus food to take home (so'o). The guests knew beforehand what business was to be discussed during the Li'ligit. A t the conclusion of the Li'ligit the host and the guest chiefs made speeches and the final decisions were made clear to all . The guests were paid witnesses. 170 The Social Organization of the Gitxsan allowed for the combination of a clan system with a social class system. Within this system are Gitxsan House Groups, known as Huwilp. The Li'ligit is a system based on reciprocity. The Gitxsan believe that the Li 'ligit is the law of their Grandfathers. These laws have been handed down through the ages and can be understood when the oral stories are taken into account. Although the Miin Wilp (House Chief) initiated the Li'ligit, it was only with the entire Wilp working together that it could be a success. The Li'ligit permitted the growth of an economy that was linked to social status, based on the concept of economic redistribution among clans. Although the Li'ligit is weaker today, it is still in existence. The rich environment of the Gitxsan Territories can be seen as being what permitted much of the development of their culture. The Gitxsan recognized their dependence on the environment and as such, many aspects of their lives and culture were tied to the environment. Ties to the land, as demonstrated in the stories, are central to the culture of the Gitxsan. In my youth I thought that the laws of our Grandfathers were so difficult and I secretly wondered why they imposed such a hardship on us. Now whenever I attend a Li'ligit I am reassured that the laws are strong and solid so that we could become strong and help one another. 7.2 Damaging Historical Policies For First Nations According to Patsey (1992), a major contributing factor to the breakdown of the First Nations oral society was the implementation of government policies. He declared that the Gitxsan world revolved around the feast system. Feasts were the social, economic, legislative and judicial courts of the society. The Gitxsan relationships with 171 the powers beyond were manifested at the feast. The feast hall was the place where each phase of a child's achievement was acknowledged and celebrated by the whole nation. Between 1885 and 1951 the Gitxsan potlatches were outlawed by federal statute. The Gitxsan feast, including the laws, authority, customs, and values of the Gitxsan were rendered illegal in Canada. Educators in the Gitxsan Territories need to recognize that when the Li'ligit was outlawed by the Government, the Gitxsan lost a tremendous part of a system they had known and lived by since time immemorial. However, it is a great testimony to the Gitxsan and the strength of the culture that the Gitxsan carried on "il legal" procedures and maintained their "legal" system out of view of the lawmakers. The law courts, the land title offices, the legislative assembly, the registry for births, deaths, and marriages were taken from the Gitxsan and replaced with a foreign system. The patrilineal Department of Indian Affairs system clashed head-on to the matrilineal Gitxsan system. Educators need to understand how the historical events of non-First Nations commerce and settlement, and political decisions of the Canadian Government and Christian missionaries, joined to create the six, geographically limited "reserve" communities of today. These are Gitwangax, Gitjeigyukwhal, Gitanyaaw, Ansbahyaxw, Sigit'ox and Gitanmaaxs (see Figure 1). With the banning of the Li'ligit came the demise of all the creative activities. There was no need to create new songs, dances, drama, and art pieces. The Li'ligit provided the incentive and motivation to develop relevant materials for the fine arts component of the Gitxsan culture. The Li'ligit was the place that recognized and rewarded artistic accomplishments. 172 Newbery (1994) found that with the invasion of the Gitxsan territories came the alteration of their environment. In addition, an alien education system and language were imposed, undermining the Gitxsan way of life first by marginalizing them ina church run Indian day or residential schools and then by assimilating them in Amalgamated schools. According to Patsey (1992) much of the social ills faced by the Gitxsan today are the results of systematic oppression by Canadian society and their policies. Many of the adults residing in the territories today are survivors of the Indian residential schools. The conspiracy between the government and church almost worked in eliminating the Gitxsan language and culture. The Gitxsan were severely affected by those policies as they work through a high rate of alcohol and drug abuse, high incidence of violence in the home, a high dropout rate at school, and an increasing number of children who do not speak the language. 7.3 The Good Reasons They Gave According to Government standards the distribution of wealth was wasteful and foolish. The reason for outlawing the Li'ligit was to help the Gitxsan. The missionaries believed that the Gitxsan worshipped the totem poles. This was against their teachings and so to outlaw the Li'ligit was to outlaw totem pole raisings and show the Gitxsan the errors of their ways (Adams & Kasakoff, 1973). , 173 7.4 The Decline Of Sim'algax Within the Gitxsan culture, Sim'algax is on the verge of extinction. Sim 'algax is of great importance because our way of knowing is in the language. Within the framework of the Gitxsan culture, many topics are taught to the children. In this way, the children are adequately prepared for their journey on earth. The vehicle for transmitting this knowledge is the Gitxsan language, the Sim'algax. Knowledge emerges from the essence of our stories, rituals, songs and dances that are coded in the language. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) found that residential schools contributed to the destruction of First Nations families. The students were forbidden to speak their First Nations languages and this caused great damage to the culture. It is important that the stories, songs and dances be translated into English and written down for the coming generations before the language is lost. 7.5 W o m a n W i t h The Robe, Cane A n d R e d Eyes (Excerpt from The Odyssey of Nuhlx his Three Brothers and Sister). The family set off again but a low fog had drifted down from Sdikyoodenax. The little family made their ascent up the mountain path. They had almost reached the summit when they heard what sounded like the clanging of a huge bell. It was the footsteps of their next and final challenge. The group stood and waited but they could not explain the nature of the sound they heard-coming towards them. They walked away.from the direction of the sound. They wanted to escape from this unfamiliar sound. Their spirit guide had not foretold what they should do in this situation. The youngsters would stop and move again in another direction, but there was no escape possible. They saw a gigantic woman coming 174 towards them, her red fiery eyes piercing into their souls. The woman was covered in a huge cape with a hood and she carried a cane. When the woman opened her eyes fire would pour out of them. She would close her eyes and the fire stopped! Nuhlx and his brothers and sister tried to run, but there was nowhere to go, so they stood and faced the giant. The woman used her eyes to melt the rock over Nuhlx and his family and covered them with the melted rock, ki l l ing them and in so doing she destroyed herself. Here is where Nuhlx, Masgwa-hlgu-lo'op, Maawnim-lo'op, Skants'ook' and K'ohlim-lo 'op died. Their little frames formed five mountain peaks that sit near the top of Sdikyoodenax. The mountain peak that was Nuhlx has fallen and when the other four fall , the Gitxsan believe it wi l l be the end of the world. 7.6 Description Of Gitxsanimx Gitxsanimx is the language of the Gitxsan Nation. The linguistic basis for Gitxsanimx is Sim 'algax, the mother language of the Gitxsan as well as the Tsimshian and Nisga'a. There are two main dialects for the language in the Gitxsan Territories: the western dialect and the northern dialect. The Sim 'algax Group has completed a dictionary in their effort to preserve the language. Their goal is for the young people to learn their own language and become bilingual. The Gitxsan Nation is still in the position to help the young people learn. If action is not taken, the Gitxsan language wi l l be extinct in fifty years (Sim 'algax Working Group, 1998; also see Appendix C) . From my experience I believe that language and culture are inseparable for one cannot understand the culture without the language. The Elders state that there was a time only Sim 'algax was spoken on the Gitxsan Territories and now the dominant 175 language is English. There are many factors that have contributed to the decline of Sim 'algax but they all relate to the practices of colonialism and particularly the systematic destruction of culture that was the agenda of residential schools. Without the language, the laws would be lost, I have said this time and time again. Many of our young people do not know Sim 'algax (Gitxsan language). When the language is lost; all is lost. A l l the adaawk (history) is lost, the stories, the songs, the dances, everything. (Baaskyaalaxha, Gitxsan Elder and chief, personal communication 2000). 7.7 Stories In Text The schools in the area have undertaken an important role in strengthening the language. The Sim'algax Working Group, (1998) and the University of Northern British Columbia are in the process of training language teachers. If the task to teach children the language is not successful, then the pillar of language wi l l fall like the mountain peak that was Nuhlx. The stories must be written in Sim 'algax and English so that the young people wi l l not lose yet another pillar of their culture (see Appendix 3). Their self-esteem depends on knowing their culture. 7.8 The Possibilities For The Classroom I have criticized the current educational system for failing to incorporate the Gitxsan students' worldview. The stories present numerous possibilities for teachers to integrate the Gitxsan worldview into the existing curriculum. Fullan (1993) argues that teachers cannot afford to wait for the system to change itself; they must play an active role in educational change. 176 Some First Nations schools have created textbooks for their Social Studies Programs (see, for example, materials prepared by Nisga'a School District No. 92, 1996 Archibald, 1997) offers the guidelines for developing curriculum (kindergarten to grade 7) with the Journey to Justice Series. According to Murdock, Ford, Hudson, Kennedy, Simmons, and Whiting, (1987) any element of culture may have as many as seven facets. Each of these facets can be taken as a foundation of classification. I have included these to show that Gitxsan stories and Gitxsan culture are inseparable. 1. Patterned activity Every aspect of culture involves a journey. In the story, The Odyssey of Nuhlx his Three Brothers and Sister, a journey is taken by the young people to free the territories. 2. Circumstance This category is a time or place. In the story, The Origin of Thunder, the girls were in a special place at a certain time to complete their puberty rites. 3. Subject The subject is defined as a culturally defined class of persons. In the story, The Legend of the Young.Chief there:was no one else in line that could become chief, so the young heir had to take on the task. 177 4. Object This is described as an activity directed toward food preparation or kin relationships. This could be an inanimate thing, an animal or a person. The action is oriented around the objects of activities. In the story, The First Salmon Celebration, we see the activities oriented around the importance of obeying the laws of the salmon. 5. Means Cultural activities are accomplished by the use of some external means (e.g., an artifact or human assistance). In the story, The Night of the Owl, we see that a grouse comes to the aid of the father looking for his lost son. 6. Purpose or goal Cultural activities are normally performed with a purpose or goal (e.g., aid of the supernatural). In the story, The Man with Haldowgit Powers, Nulhx and his brothers and sister destroyed the haldowgit who plagued the territories with his evil powers. 7. Concrete result Is a cultural activity that commonly has a concrete result (e.g., buildings, monuments). In the story, Weget's Death, we have evidence of his death. He takes two young mountain lions with him to a caVe entrance and willed that they be turned to stone and there they sit to this day. 178 7.9 The Sleeping Monster Snake A s with the circle of life, the circle of stories have no starting point. I take the story, The Sleeping Monster Snake, and use it to illustrate the process of my placing the stories in text. (Excerpt from The Odyssey of Nuhlx his Three Brothers and Sister). Their journey had almost completed a circle around the territories. They were now at the base of Sdikyoodenax. Here they ate and rested. K'ohlim 'lo 'op would cry out and rub her hands on her brother, Maawnim-lo'op and place them over the fire to warm them. This was her way of sharpening her knife blade. It was K'ohlim 'lo 'op who would challenge the monster snake. The Naxnok spirit who had predicted all their events had told them that the snake was small like a garter snake when it was sleeping, but i f it were awake it would be the monster snake. It was fortunate that the group found the snake sleeping on a warm rock. With a loud scream K'ohlim'lo'op charged at the sleeping snake with her hands as knife blades and cut off the small snake's head and tail. The snake transformed into its massive size, but it was dead. The huge head flew off into a northerly direction and landed at Gisgaga'as Lake. The snake's tail flew off towards the south and landed in T'axim Sdikyoodenax. K'ohlim 'lo 'op defeated the snake and she was on the ground in her original form. Holding the feather over his head and with great ceremony, Nuhlx circled K'ohlim'lo'op four times and she returned to her human form. Gee (1996) states that the answer is not just that First Nations students need to adapt to school based discourse, despite what clashes there may have been. The schools need to adapt to First Nations discourse and render them visible, valuable and meaningful 179 to all students. Instead of trying to assimilate Gitxsan/First Nations children into other cultures, educators are now allowed to use locally developed courses. Authenic First Nations material instills a strong sense of identity and pride in the students. Developing Gitxsan and First Nations literature resources has been a slow process because many of the languages were oral and only in the last century have attempts been made to record them. A lot of the true meaning of the material, such as humor, is lost in the translation process. Lack of both financial support and appreciation of the importance of Gitxsan stories has greatly slowed down the process of developing comprehensive and professional quality First Nations libraries. In the Gitxsan territories there are limited resources to assist those who are teaching Gitxsan students. There are First Nations books from other areas, but there are usually one or two copies, and not enough for a classroom. Archibald (1997), Sterling (1997) and teachings from the Elders were used to honor and support the importance of oral history. It appears through a review of the literature that story is one of the most important possessions of the First Nations People. From the creation of people and animals and land through to lessons on life, the Gitxsan have come through time with a wealth of knowledge on many topics related to their culture. The stories were said to be food for the spirit, seeds planted in each listener that one day wi l l come to harvest. In these teachings each person finds the lessons he/she needs for making proper decisions. In recent time, the GitxsanJVust Nations people have made the Provincial Government realize how regular Canadian schools have failed to reach the needs of the 180 First Nations children. It is encouraging that the Provincial Government has acknowledged the need for change and has allowed First Nations people to have more control over their education. According to Dawson (1988) it is clear that the First Nations and non-First Nations relations have been affected by the conflict of two different discourses. These differing views have contributed toward much of the misunderstanding, intolerance, frustration and despair that has taken place. The sharing of worldviews has not been part of the Gitxsan/First Nations education. However, Dawson (1988) is confident that with the recent emphasis on biculturalism and building bridges of understanding, the sharing has begun. According to Bopp (1986) education has value in that it assists and promotes the unfolding of human potential. The Elders saw the essential capacity of First Nations children to develop their self-identity and collectively recreate themselves in a new discourse. Bopp (1986) could see the vision clearly, along with the Elders, that the key to assisting First Nations people was to both allow them responsibility of their own development and allow them to articulate their own vision and discourse of human possibilities. Atleo (1993) stresses that traditional First Nations people understood their world and were appropriately oriented to it. The First Nations people knew how to function effectively within that world. Motivation, effort, persistence, guidance, and encouragement, were not a problem since prestige, acceptance, and survival depended upon a satisfactory level of performance. The intervention of colonial discourse, practice and ultimately colonial legislation designed to destroy First Nations cultures led 181 to massive disorientation, which created social, political and economic dysfunction in the Gitxsan. First Nations people today may have recovered somewhat and better understand the contemporary world, but many are still in the process of learning how to meet the ordinary requirements of today's schools. Educators need to understand and create an effective traditional system for the traditional Gitxsan/First Nations students. Public institutions need to change their values to meet the needs of the First Nations students rather than expecting the First Nations children to fit into the values of the school system. It is important that First Nations students are made aware of the historical discourse that has taken place, in order for them to understand why many of them are having difficulties in the formal education system. It is important that the First Nations students become strong enough to control their own destinies so the Government polices wi l l never again blatantly attempt to obliterate First Nations cultures. Stories were an essential part of the lives of First Nations people long before the written word. Stories were passed down from generation to generation. Stories served to share our Gitxsan values, to question our assumptions, and to see our individual and collective futures. In my life, the stories have been my true source of education. Through their stories, the Elders have taught me gratitude, compassion, courage and humor. Gitxsan oral stories are an important tool for the Gitxsan. It is not only the first line of defense but it is the final authority; the children need to know this. Throughout my life, the stories of my Elders have reaffirmed my sense of self, my identity and strengthened the bonds. The wisdom of harmony, balance and interconnectedness are there for my choosing. I believe that the existing school system can be used to incorporate the 182 teachings of the Elders. With the knowledge of who they are the Gitxsan students can withstand the injustices of the past, be prepared to challenge the stereotypes written about First Nations people and eliminate racism and live in a world that values equality for all of human life. I hope that the information and the stories that have been placed in text in this study and the conclusions drawn from the materials w i l l be of use to the teachers of Gitxsan students and First Nations Leaders who are able to make the changes in the existing curriculum (see Chapter 4). Wi th their desire to change the existing curriculum to include Gitxsan culture and history the teachers in the Gitxsan Territories w i l l help to keep the remaining four pillars (spirituality, balance, harmony and interconnectedness) intact on the top of Steyoodenax. It is my desire that the educational systems dealing with First Nations students see the importance of taking action to incorporate the culture of the First Nations children into the classrooms. We have allowed the monster snake to sleep for too long. We need to take our Gitxsanculture and stories and find our place in the schools. L ike K'ohlim 'loop I have sharpened my skills by going to university and I am ready to awaken the sleeping monster snake and present the stories of the Gitxsan in text. The snake wi l l never sleep again. 7.10 Gitxsan Children Of The 21 s t Century When the Elders speak of their hopes for the children of the 21 s t century it is not the academic agenda that they stress. The Elders' priorities are that the children know the Gitxsan culture and language. Erickson (2003) documents four traits of the well-183 educated Gitxsan. The first trait is respect. The children must learn to value and respect self and all other l iving things. The children should realize the importance of family, extended family and community. They should value learning in both cultures and will ingly use their talents and skills to help others. In the story, The First Salmon Celebration, the One Who Returned shared his knowledge about the lifecycle of the salmon with all the people (see Chapter 4). Second, the well-educated Gitxsan must value knowledge. They must know the connections to others (wilp, wilnaat'ahl, pdeek, wilksi'laxs and other Nations). The children must know the place names (territories), the resources and the conservation practices inherent in the culture. The children must know the history of their wilp and the ayook governing the Gitxsan. The children must understand the protocols of the Li 'ligit and engage in appropriate spiritual rituals. In the story, The Young Chief, the Elders helped the young man with all aspects of becoming a chief. He was told to go to the mountain to pray. Young chief understood the lineage of his chieftainship. A s chief he would conduct a Li 'ligit. He knew the ways of the animals and what part of the territories was accessible to his house members. The third trait is competence. The children must develop the ability to provide leadership by being good listeners and speakers. The children must learn to stay in touch with their own spirit and have the training to acknowledge and release negative experiences. In the story of Wild Woman of the Woods, the hunter was in tune with all his surroundings. He was able to conquer with previous knowledge the frightening creature he encountered (see Chapter 4). 184 The fourth characteristic is actions. The well-educated Gitxsan must be able to draw on the training of the culture and act to help self and others. The children must have a sense of purpose to guide their lives. The children must strive for excellence, demonstrate a positive attitude and display a sense of humour. In the story, Revenge of the Mountain Goats, the young boy challenged his peers, in order to rescue the mountain goat kid. The young boy did not forget his early teachings (see Chapter 4). If the children attain these four values and treat themselves, other people, animals and the environment with respect, life will be as it should be, interconnected, balanced and harmonious. The worldview of the Gitxsan would be reinforced through all aspects of their lives. 7.11 Conclusion The purpose of this study was to place the Gitxsan oral history and culture into text, a responsibility given to me by the Elders. The Gitxsan students will have ownership of the stories and the Elders will see the evidence that the culture will continue to thrive. The Gitxsan youth of today have to live with two stories, the grand narrative of mainstream society and the local narratives of the Gitxsan society. The latter society is very much alive and functioning (Persky, 1998). I have presented twenty-nine stories in which I have woven the Gitxsan worldview, traditions, beliefs, perceptions, visions and struggles. These stories have come from the Breath of our Grandfathers. Unfortunately, the residential school system and colonization disrupted this structure and the legacy has been that many of today's Elders or parents who are products of that system are unable to take on this traditional role. 185 I want to present to teachers in the Gitxsan Territories the knowledge and understanding about the devastation created by residential schools. The teachers need to understand the history of the education of their students. The teachers need to know the history why school is not relevant to many of their Gitxsan students. Dawson (1988) argues that before the new voices came, the First Nations people had well established education practices in place that provided the youth with the necessary life skills to survive in their societies. Elders were the teachers, and their teachings communicated their knowledge and wisdom through oral language. Research by Angus (1997) from the Wet'suweten Nation, demonstrates that when First Nations traditions break down and the stories are not told the void left by the absence of traditional education is often filled with undesirable substitutes from the dominant society, such as substance abuse. Unfortunately, there are many Gitxsan youth who have become lost between two stories and have been overwhelmed by negative influences that lead them to engage in self-destructive behaviors. Many troubled Gitxsan youths are symptoms of the loss of a way of life. Despite the negative effects of mainstream schooling, the Gitxsan along with other First Nations communities still recognize that their people need to receive a Western education. However, this should not be at the expense of destroying their culture and identity (Wilson & Napoleon, 1994). Regrettably, the current school system resides in the grand narrative and for years has promoted a Western, scientific, paternalistic knowledge system that has oppressed and devalued other knowledge systems. The colonizers" attempt at cultural genocide was extreme (Chrisjohn, Young & Maraun 1997). Perhaps i f the same amount of commitment and resources were used to reverse the damage it caused, we would have a truer start at rebuilding. I have dedicated my teaching career to changing this by using storytelling as pedagogy and the stories as curriculum material to meet the learning outcome in the mandated curriculum. I am demonstrating that in this way of being, a teacher can bridge the two stories. I want to provide teachers with authentic materials from which they could take information to meet the needs of their Gitxsan students. 7.12 Recommendations The schools' curricula should be developed in conjunction with Elders and parents. The curricula should be focused on relevant materials including cultural and environmental issues. Long range goals that meet the needs and aspirations of the parents and the local community need to be evaluated and implemented at the local level. The inadequacies of financial resources in First Nations education has contributed to the lack of quality education offered to First Nations students and must be resolved immediately. In my experience, most teachers in the Gitxsan Territories allow themselves to remain strapped into the system that is known and familiar to them. Teachers of Gitxsan students need to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Gitxsan and First Nations cultures. Teachers of First Nations students need to improve their knowledge and understanding of First Nations cultures. The teachers need to be encouraged to take part in community events Public institutions need to change their values to meet the needs of the First Nations students rather than expecting the First Nations children to fit into the values of 187 the school system. Universities need to incorporate the teaching of storytelling into their teacher training programs. It is hoped that this study wi l l provide educators with the information and materials they require, so they can help their students and provide accurate knowledge about the Gitxsan. In addition it is hoped that the educators can see the need and make appropriate decisions when implementing Gitxsan/First Nations cultural curriculum in their classrooms. Curriculum units that positively portray First Nations people and their culture need to be communicated to all learners. The stories from the Elders should be recorded so the stories are not lost. There is significant knowledge and wisdom to be gained from the Elders. Elders should play an active role in education and be compensated as professionals. 7.13 The Journey Completed A s with all storytellers there is a constant search for interconnectedness, balance and harmony. I have found that one can find balance in the stories as the Elders educate the heart. There is harmony with the heart and mind as the teachings connect with all l iving things. I am a storyteller. I come from storytellers. I want it said of me, "She told a good story." With this study, I conclude that I wi l l have followers and in this way I w i l l know that I have returned the feathers and kept the Breath of my Grandfathers alive. 188 REFERENCES Adams, J.W. & Kasakoff, A . (1973). 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Four Directions Development Project. (1994). Healing the hurts: Native Indians images of reality. [Film]. A l k a l i Lake, B C : (Available from New Directions Training). Erickson, K . (1996). Letters to aunt Mabel: Thoughts and plans for literacy development. Victoria, B C : British Columbia Ministry of Education, Skills and Training. Erickson, K . (2003). A conceptual tool kit. Unpublished manuscript. Hazelton, B C : Gitxsan treaty office. Fournier, S., & Crey, E . (Ed). (1997) Stolen from our embrace: the abduction of First Nations children and the restoration of aboringianl communities. Vancouver, B C : Arsenal Press. Francis, D . (1995). The imaginary Indian: The image of the Indian in Canadian culture. Vancouver, B C : Arsenal Pulp Press. . Freire, P. (1981). Pedagogy of the oppressed. .New Y o r k : Continuum International Publishing. '•' Fulford, Robert (1999). The triumph of narrative. Toronto, O N : Anasi Press. 190 Fullan, M . (1993). The meaning of educational change. Toronto, O N : The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Glavin, T. (1990). A death feast in Dimlahamid. Vancouver, B C : New Star Press. Garnett, P .D. (1988). Investigating morals and values in today's society. Carthage: IL: Good Apple Inc. Gee. J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses. Bristol, P A : Taylor & Francis Inc. Gitxsan Timeline (2003). Selected Gitxsan documents: Power in the land. Hazelton, B C : Gitxsan Treaty Office. Available: www.G/ Gitxsan and Wet'suwit'en Education Society, (1990). Cultural and language proposal. Hazelton: B C . G .W.E .S . Haig-Brown, C . (1988). Resistance and renewal: Surviving the Indian residential school. Vancouver, B C : Ti l l i cum Library. Hanamuxw (2004). Gitxsan chief, Elder and advisor for this study. Personal Communication. Hodgson, M . (1991). Impact of residential schools and other root causes of poor mental health: Suicide, family violence, alcohol and drug abuse. Edmonton, A B : Research and Health Promotions Institute. Hoffman, R. (1999). The Gitxsan language and culture education plan 1999 to 2009. Hazelton, B C : Gitxsan Nation. Hurley, M . C . (1998). Aboriginal title: the supreme court of Canada decision in Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia. Ottawa: Government of Canada, Depository Service Program. Ing, R. N . (1990). The effects of residential schools on Native child-rearing patterns. Unpublished master's thesis, University of British Columbia. Jeffrey, D . (1999). Summary report of selected First Nations education documents: Report and Recommendations of the Task Force on the First Nations Education to the 1999 AGM. (Appendix). Available: www.National Indian Jaine, L . (Ed.). (1992). Residential schools: The stolen years. Saskatoon, S K : University of Saskatchewan Extension Press. 191 Jobe, R. (1993). Cultural Connections. Toronto, O N : Pembroke Publishers. K i n g , A . R. (1988). Native Indian and schooling in British Columbia A handbook for teachers. Victoria, B C : University of Victoria. Kirkness, V . J . (1977). Prejudice about Indians in textbooks. The Journal of Reading, 595-600. Kirkness, V J . (1992). First Nations and schools: triumphs and struggles. Toronto, O N : Canadian Educational Association. Law Courts Education Society. (1994). First Nations journeys of justice: A curriculum for kindergarten to grade seven. (Teacher's Guides). Vancouver, B C : Law Courts Education Society. McCabe, A . (1995). Cultural background and storytelling: A review and implications for schooling. The Elementary School Journal 97 (5) 453-473. McGrath, R. (1988). Monster Figures and Unhappy Endings in Inuit Literature. Canadian Journal of Native Education 15 (1), 50-61. Mi l le r , J. R. (1996). Shingwaulk's Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools. Toronto, O N : University of Toronto Press. Moran, B . (1988). Stoney Creek Woman:- The story of Mary John. Vancouver, B C : Til lacum Library. Murdock, George, Ford, Clellan, Hudson, Alfred, Kennedy, Raymond, Simmons, Leo, & Whiting, John (1987). Outline of cultural materials. New Haven, C T : Human relations area files, Inc. National Indian Brotherhood. (1972). Indian Control of Indian Education. Ottawa, O N . Newbery, A . (1994). The dropout rate ofGitxsan-Wet'suwet'en students from high school: School factors related to dropouts. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Victoria. N o l l , E . (1998). Experiencing literacy in and out of school: Case studies of two American Indian youths. Journal of Literacy Research 30, 205-232. Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council . (1996). Indian residential school: The Nuu-Chah-Nulth experience. Port Alberni , B C : Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council . School District No. 92 (Nisga'a) (1996). From a time before memory. New Aiyansh, B C : School District No. 92 (Nisga'a) 192 Olson, D.R. (1994). Aboriginal Literacy. Interchange 35,389-394. Pagago, J. (1991). Moral fictions: The dilemma of theory and practice. In C . Witherell & N . Nooding (Eds.). Stories lives tell: Narrative and dialogue in education (pp. 193-206). New York : Teachers College Press. Patsey, G . (1992). Gitanmaax Band presentation brief to the royal commission on Aboriginal peoples. Kispiox, B C : Gitxsan Tribal Council . Perley, D . G . (1993). Aboriginal education in Canada as internal colonisalism. Canadian Journal of Native Education 20, 118-128. Persky, S. (1998). Delgamuukx: The Supreme Court of Canada decision on Aboriginal title. Vancouver, B C : Greystone Books. Peterat, L . & Smith, M . G . (2001) (Eds.), Informing practice through action research. Peoria, IL . Glencoe/McGraw H i l l . Ponting, R. J. (1989). Ardous journey: Candian Indians and decolonization. Toronto, O N : McClel land & Stewart. Royal Commision on Aboriginal People. (1996). People to people, nation to nation. Highlights from the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Ottawa, O N : Canada Communications Group. Schon, D . A . (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York , N Y : Basic Books. Sherman, R. R. & Webb, R . B . (Eds.). (1988). Qualitative research in education: Focus and methods. Philadelphia, P A : Falmer Press. Sim'algax_Working Group. (1998). Gitsenimx - Gitxsanimax to English dictionary: Learner's edition. Victoria: B C : Aboriginal Education Branch: British Columbia Ministry of Education. Singh, P. (1994). Generating literacies of difference: from the 'belly of the beast'. The Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 17, 92-101. Smith, G . (1996). Theorizing practice/practicing theorizing: Inquiries in global home economics education. Unpublished Doctoral thesis, University of British Columbia. Smith, L . (1999). Decolonizing methodologies research and Indigenous peoples. New York , N Y : Zed Books Ltd 193 Smith Mowat t , J . (1988). Legends and learning: The Gitxsan tradition. Unpublished manuscript. Smith Mowat t , J . (1999). Residential school experince, Emma and William's Stories. Unpublished manuscript. Sterling, S. (1997). The grandmother stories: Oral tradition and the transmission of culture. Unpublished Doctoral thesis, B C : University of British Columbia. Sutherland, V . (1996). First Nations decision making in First Nations education: The path of Kispiox elementary school. Unpublished master's thesis, Bishop's University. Timeline (2004). Indian residential schools in Canada historical chronology. Available events.html. Hazelton, B C : Gitxsan treaty office. Ward, M . (1986). Indian education: Policy and politics, 1 9 7 2 - 1982. Canadian Journal of Native Education 13, 10-21. W i l p Si'satxw Community Healing Centre (2001). Cultural impact of the residential schools within the Gitxsan nation. Kitwanga, B C : W i l p Si'satxw Community Healing Centre. Wilson, A . (1996). Heartbeat of the earth: A First Nations artist records injustice and resistance. Gabriola Island, B C : New Society Publishers. Wilson, E . & Napoleon, V . (Eds.). (1994) Enhancing relationships between schools and First Nations families. Victoria, B C : British Columbia Ministry of Education. Young-Ing, G . (1988). A comparison between administration of First nation education Canada and Peru: Divestments, losses and lacks. Canadian Journal of Native Education 15, 24-28. Yuzdepski, I. (1983). Indian control of Indian education. Canadian Journal of Native Education 11, 37-41. 194 APPENDIX A Answering the Validity of Indigious Research 1. Who defined the research problem? The research problem was defined by the needs of the Gitxsan community (Hoffman, 1999). The educators in the Gitxsan Territories need to know the cultural background of the children in their classrooms. The educators required materials provided so they could learn and teach. The Gitxsan community needed the research delivered in a form they could understand. What is better than one of their own conducting the research? 2. What knowledge will the community gain from this study? Most importantly the knowledge of who they are wi l l be available to the young Gitxsan students. This w i l l contribute to building their self-esteem. The study wi l l provide information for the non-Gitxsan educators in the community to help them design relevant curriculum to use in the classroom. 3. For whom is the study relevant and worthy? The study is relevant and worthy for the researcher. The stories and cultural practices of the Gitxsan came from the Elders. The study is relevant for anyone who so desires to take the stories and apply them to their lives. 4. What knowledge will the researcher gain from this study? If I think of action research as learning from my experiences then what is gained is a better understanding of my own practice as an educator who uses stories and storytelling as a form of pedagogy. 5. What are the positive outcomes of this study? The positive outcomes are that the students wi l l gain knowledge from the stories and the cultural practices of the Gitxsan that might be otherwise not available to them. Non-Gitxsan educators w i l l be given a view that wi l l give them an opportunity to look through other cultural lenses. In addition, literature that is available is grouped with the language family. Gitxsan stories come under the heading of Tsimshian. This study wi l l give ownership to the Gitxsan. 195 6. What are the negative outcomes of this study? The negative outcomes is that an oral culture has to be contained in the pages of a study. The teaching, since time immemorial have come from the Elders, on the breath of our grandfathers. The problem with stories going into text is that there wi l l no longer be a need to train future storytellers. A n argument is made that it is like the totem poles being preserved with wood preservatives and concrete foundations. The totem poles wi l l last forever. There wi l l be no need for carvers in the future? 7. How can the negative outcomes be eliminated? The negative outcomes can be eliminated by the young people learning Sim'algax. In this way the stories can be available orally and in text. The Elders can once again take their place as the teachers. This generation has the responsibility to take the stories and culture as far as they can. The culture wi l l provide new stories and new works of art for the future generations. Storytellers w i l l take a story old or new and convey it with their own uniqueness. The artists w i l l always find a new way to communicate the images on totem poles. 8. To whom is the researcher accountable? The researcher is accountable to the GitxsaH of the past, present and future. 9. What processes are in place for the research, the researched and the researcher? The research wi l l be made available to the teachers in the Gitxsan Territories to use in the classroom. Professional Development days wi l l be used to present the study to the teachers. The researched wi l l have a voice that is their own. Other Gitxsan students w i l l use the study as a resource for their studies. The researcher wi l l present the stories in the form of books. In addition, the researcher w i l l base future studies on the results of this study. 196 APPENDIX B Band Council Resolution Hazelton, B.O. Kay SO th, 1940. WB, THS UHTJKRSiaffED, A C0UMITT£K appointed by the Hazelton Band of Indians on May 20th, 1946 at a meeting called to coneider surrender or certain lands on Hazelton Indian Reserve Ho.l, to represent them i n the signing of any necessary documents, define the lands for surrey and dismiss with the Inspector of Indian Agencies and the Indian Agent any matter In connection with same, do hereby state that the said surrender was assented to by said Band at said meeting on the following terms J (1) That Its easterly boundary be defined as closely as conven-ient for surrey purposes, as the foot of the bench running south westerly from the south east corner of the Town of Hazelton, which we subsequently defined on the ground. (H) That no Indian shall bo removed from his property u n t i l he has been satisfactorily compensated for the Talus of land end improvements. (9) That Indians of the Band shall have the opportunity of purchasing lote on the property and have same declared Provincial lands.. , (4) That the present applicants to purchase shall bear their f a i r share of the coat of survey of the parcels applied for and that ten per cent of the purchase price shall be paid In to the funda of the Hazelton Band, except in the case of the l a n d ' i . V i ' - - . - -applied for by the School Bourd, where the Band interest shall be met by a payment of ten per cent of the purchase price in addition to and clear of the Estate's interest* (6) That the applications now before the Department shall be revised to conform with a suitable subdivision, any additional lands required to be secured by arrangement with the owners. (6) That the prices to be paid by the present applicants to be not less than the following! ' R. 3 . Sargent Estate $350.00, School Boerd(B.HcKenzie land) 1,500.00 4- flO% v • * " (Clark Estate land) 600.00 V lofc Provincial Public Works 600. OO X . Mailen 550.OO per acre (7) That the sale of land to the Board of School Trustees or the Provincial Department of Education shall be subject to the proviso that they shall admit to any school operated thereon having high or junior high school classes any qualified Indian high school pupil on payment of the customary tuition fees. 198 A P P E N D I X C The Sim al'gax Alphabet The Sim'algax alphabet uses twenty letters from the English (or Latin) alphabet, plus the apostrophe (hard sign), the hyphen (also called the hard sign) and the underline (with g, k, and x). The letters c, f, q, r, v, and z are not used because there are no equivalent sounds in native Sim'algax words or else they are not needed to represent Sim'algax sounds. The alphabetical order of the Gitxsenimx letters and letter-combinations with the English names of the sound that the Gitxsenimx letter(s) make: a = short a k' = hard front k s = ess aa = = long a k = soft back k t = soft t b = softb k' = hard back k t' = hard t d = soft d kw = soft kw tl' = hard tee-ell e = short e kw' = hard kw ts = soft tee-ess ee = = long e 1 = soft ell ts' = hard tee-ess 9 = soft front g '1 = hard ell u = short u 3 = soft back g m = soft em uu = long u gw = soft gw 'm = hard em w = soft W h = aitch n = soft enn 'w = hard w hi = = aitch-ell 'n = hard enn x = front eks i = short i o = short o x = back eks ii = long i oo = long o xw = eks-w j = soft jay p = soft p y = soft y k = soft front k p' = hardp 'y = hard y and the glottal stop is signified by ' (between vowels and after a fricative or a soft resonant) and by - (after a soft voiceless stop). 199 APPENDIX D Sim al'gax. Stories For Gitxsan Teachers Wila Wilhls Dip Nuhlx ( T H E O D D E S S Y O F N U H L X , HIS T H R E E B R O T H E R S A N D SISTER). Taahl k ' i ' y h l ts'ap, gigeenix, i i lax xsiiphl gahlaxwhl ts'apgi i i uxws 'nakwt i i bahlxt. i i 'nit w i l wi lhl k'aylimxsim'iiwt. i i 'nit wi l wilhls dipust, guunxhlda, (wilhl hawkii). T'aabaxbeekxwhl gandiit, hliwisihl skants'ak'giihl hooxdiit. Ii hlaa yukwhl kw'oo hootxwdiit up wagayt w i l sk'eexxwhl ga'nakwhl yukwdiit. Kw'oo up l igi kw'ihl xwdayimahl hlik'yulit i i daa'wihl kw'oo ax hunt i i kw'oo a sgwaa'ytxwt i i kw'oo hats'im hoo gwis luuyaltxwt. Ii hats'im hoo yiyukwdiit. Gaay hahljakwdiithl sint gan huwildiit. Mahla k' iyhl sahl huwildiit. Ndayimahl kw'isin gabihl k'uuhl. i i 'nit gat si'aamhl hoo wildiit k'i 'yhl k'uuhl i i balgi kw'ihl gipaykw gathl ama'masithl k'aax kw'oo kw'ihl wildiit . Up luubagayt kw'ihl gipaykw wildiit gya'adiit. i i bax ha'whl yugwithl hootxwitgi wilt gya'adiit 'wii k'aax. Lixsgyathl dii wildiit 'nagwitgi. Nee dii kw'ihl gagaytxwdiit. l i hat'a'l hooxdiit i i 'nithl k'utk'uu dakxhldiit ahl t'imgesdiit. iit guutgat hlik'yulihl gyatgiihl k'aax, kw'ihl his'weesxwid dim mahl hlgu gyat. lit 'nii hit'int lax t'imgest. i i baxt hlaa yukw dim hats'im hoo sit'aa'maadiit i i balgi kw'ihl l islisxwhl gat sise'et. Sgwatxwiihl k'esahl hlik'yulit dimt suut'ipdamgant. 'Nit wi l hoti tk'alhit'hit 'hl an'unt ahl sise'ehl hlik'yulitgi. 200 Sgwatxwiihl habas dipust. i i yukwhl haahla'alsihl haanak'gi iit hoti lixsgyadindiit hl iwilhl gya'adiit i i hoti 'widin goldiit i i luuwanhl hlgidiit hak'yo'odiit. l i hoti k'esadiit i i hoti t'iplislisxwdiit. i i nee dii 'nakwtgi i i gwaats' tk'algootdiit. l i 'minsaksdiit laxha. i i 'nithl hoo wi lh l hanak luujok 'nit go'ohl wilp'ah'yasxw. A m kw'ihl hlaak'yul 'nit i i hiyukwgathl bisxwt. Goodihl akst iit damganhl hagwiluxw wi l 'nii t'aahl hlgu aksgi. 'Ni i l isxwhl neek loot ahl hlits'ee'wihl wilps dip noxt. l i nda wilt saxhl hlik'i 'yhl hagwiluxwgi iit kw'oo wilaaxs dip noxt gwi dim hasakt. L i g i hun, l igi smax, l igi lakw, l igi aks ganhl maa'y. iit wilaaxdiit kw'ihl wiltgi, gwi dim hasakt. i i goodihl aks iit damgant gathl hlideeyihl aksgi. l i t'aat hlishl wilt. Y u k w bisxwt dim aa'ixshl noxt. lit damgan hlideeyihl hun i i hoo neediit naa j i aat'ixsit. Gay hoo k ' i ' y kw'oo damgant i i kw'oo t'aa kw'oo bisxwt. l i neediit naa j i aat'ixsit. Lixsgyadinsxwhl tk'ihlxwimhanak'gi. Gwaats kw'ihl k'yul 'nit. i i ayukwst. Bilantxw 'nit ahl gwilat, iit hooxhl 'wii golxsgi. Ii wi lk ' i i xsaxwtgi. Ha'wahlindiit dim diit gya'ahl, tk'ihlxwimhanak'giihl sga'nist. D i m t'e'elt gat dim sinst j i t gya'at. Hapdiit gats'a'adiit up j i t gya'adiithl gilelix. i i xsaxwhl hlgu tk'ihlxwgi i i ts'int ahl wilps dip noxt, i i wiiyitxwt, waatxwt. iit gya'a w i l kw'ihl haaxxw wi l kw'ihl hlitdiitgi. l i kw'ihl yeet. lit kw'ihl gimk hlinuts't ahl bant, l i kw'ihl yeet i i hats'im hoo yukwt kw'ihl gimkhl hlinuts't ahl bilant, hlgu gwilatgi. i i xsaxwt. i i gay hoo lixsgyathl wilp w i l ts'int. Yukwt kw'ihl gi'y dimt kw'ihl 'wa dim didilsit, ligithaa. Neediit naa j i 'wayit. Neediit 'wahl l igi dago'odit. Saam saksxwhl ts'apdiit. Luuno'o. , 201 i i 'nit wilt 'wahl hlgu masxwithl lo'op. lit guut. iit kw'ihl k'utk'uu diyeet ts'imwilpgi. iit luumagat hlits'ee'wihl gwilatgi, hlgu bilant, i i 'nit wilt kw'ihl Kw'oo gimkhl hlinuts't yukwhl waatxwt. U p wila wi l dim ma hlaa up yugwida dim ant hlimootxwt. i i gay hoo lixsgyathl wilp wi l ts'int, gwaats' kw'ihl waatxwt, i i gani 'nithl wilt gimkhl hlinuts't lax hlgu bilant. l i gaay hoo hlgu angee'asim lo'ophl 'wayit i i 'nithl hoo luumakdit ahl ts'im gwilatgi. l i xsaxwt i i hats'im hoo yeet go'ohl k'i 'yhl wilp, i i kw'ihl k'utk'uu yeet. l i gay hoo 'nit wilt 'wahl hlgu gan, skants'ook'. H l i gandihl ts'ook' dii kw'oo hooxdiit kw'oo situuts'xwdiit. lit kw'oo tk'alts'iipdiit ahl lo'op i i 'nithl dii t'uuts'xwdiit ahl 'nagwit. 'Wayit w i l kw'ihl sgit iit hoti guut iit luumagat ahl ts'im hlgu gwilat. i i hats'im hoo xsawxwt, kw'ihl waatxwt, hlist luudoxhl 'wayitgi ahl bant. Gimkhl hli nuts't. i i hats'im hoo yeet i i xsawxwt i i hats'im hoo ts'int k'i 'yhl wilp i i hats'im hoo 'nithl wilt hats'im hoo k'utk'uu yee 'nit. Lixsgyadint wilt w i l neediit kw'ihl dokhl jogotgi l igi agwi j i l igi kw'ihl saksdiit. i i ts'int sgalanim wilpgi i i 'nit wilt 'wahl hlgu t'uuts'xw. Kw'asthl hlgu t'uuts'xwgi, ihlakt dim ma. Kw'oo hooxdiit kw'oo kw'ihl k'ohldiit. l i 'nithl hoo guudit iit luumagat go'ohl ts'im bantgi, ts'ee'wihl gwilatgi i i hetxwhl wiiyitxwt, up dim wila w i l dim ma. l i ha'wit. Luuyaltxw 'nit go'ohl ts'im wilps dip noxtgi. lit xsidokhl kuba toosit kw'ihl-'week'stgi. iit simihl lakw go'ohl wilps dip noxtgi. U p at'igwil bokxwhl lakwgi. l i 'nit w i l luujokt. Mi txwhl toosis dip noxt. Nee dii l igi kw' ih l ak dim kw'ihl gubit. l i hlaa yukw dim maadimgi i i yukwhl hugwasimgaxt. T'agit anwiltgi kw'ihl 202 luuseewint ts'im gwilat. Gwaats' t'agit anwilt luut'ahldit go'ohl bantgi. Neediit amgoot. i i hugwasimgaxt. Y u k w dim l igi kw'ihl ha'wahlxwsda. Up akhl wilt, i i hugwasimgaxt. i i 'nithl gubit. Yukwt ha'wahlins dipt noxt dimt gupt i i up akhl wilt. Tax'nitxws lip l igi agwihl J'abit hligook dim maadim. Si'oohlxw 'nit iit midinhl lakw ts'imwilps dip noxt. Nee dii sgi dimdiit guphl sii 'yasxwithl smax. Sax gwalgwa hun kw'ihl gupdiit ganhl gwalgwithl smax. iit up anookdiithl maa'y loot, neediit ha'wahlindiithl maa'y. Laaxwhl hoo nee dii anookdiit, hoti ha'wahlxw. K ' i ' yh l k'uuhl wi lhl haanak' 'nagwit. Ii hlaa galanhl k'i 'yhl k'uuhlgi i i xsi'akxwt i i up gwihl hasagat dimt gupt j i hlaa hlis j i hlisxwhl k'i 'yhl k'uuhlgi. 'Nithl wilhl tk'ihlxwimhanak' tun. lit guphl gaxgi. i i balgi aat'ixs wilt gya'a wi i gitxwhl bant. 'Mindaa'wihlgoott. Neediit naahl gyat j i ant l ig i kw'ihl 'wat l igi axxw. lit wilaax wi i hlaa yukw dim hlguuhlxwtgi. i i yeet go'o wi i wi lhl uumhlxwgi lax'uhl ts'ap, i i 'nithl gwalgwint. Helthl anwilt. Woo' i i hligookhl maadim iit wilgat go'ohl wilps noxt. Up mitxwhl si'uumhlxwt. Ii mitxwhl lakwt. Wilaayit wi i hlaa yukw dim hlguuhlxwt iit amgoohl wiltgi. Amgoodid hliwilt luut'ahlihl kuba toositgi go'ohl ts'im bant, i i hoo'o j i w i i sakst. Gwilimgoodinthl lup l igi agwi. Aks anwilt hlaa yukwt aatxt hlaa dim aat'ixs dim hlguuhlxwt. Hagwin daxdo'ot lup l igi agwi go'o dim wi i sgit go'ohl laxts'eehl lakwgi. Ii hagwin doxhl lo'op dim uutdit i i 'nit dim wi i 'niisgit. iit uutdiit lo'opgi, iit luudoxdiit go'ohl hlgu anyuust iit 'niidoxdiithl gan loot, i i 'nit wi i 'nii sgihl hanak' hlishl hlguuhlxwt. Ii gyamkhl hak'yo'ot i i hugygam saksxwhl ts'ee'wit. 2 0 3 ganwilt uudasindiit 'nidiit. l i hoti 'nithl wi lhl hlgu tk'ihlxwimhanak'gi. Hoti 'nithl lip wilt ahl l ip 'nit. l i hlaa sit'aa'maad i i hlguuhlxwt. i i hlgu gyat gathl gyadit. lit guut iit hli'moo'oldid ahl hlitk'ahl gaxgi. Hlishl yagayt gwilimgoott. l i hats'im hoo amhl ga'nagwit i i hats'im hoo gyathl hlik'yeegwit i i hats'im hoo tk'ihlxwimgyatt. Txalpxdulhl H'wt i i k'yeekwhl hanak'. A k x i i uudaasxwt. Doxhl kuba xgitgi sdo'oixst. Kw'oo a haldim t'aa 'nit iit kw'oo 'niimagahl lakw hlist yagayt hagwin doxtgi. i i nee dii 'nakwt i i mootxwt i i hats'im hoo daxgyatt i i yukxwt dim wila 'moot'ixshl kuba xgitgi (gwihl wada). i i t'e'elt limxsihl kuba tk'ihlxwgi. Sgwatxwiid txoogandiit, zcyipxdiit, hun kw'oo jamit. Hoobigimgan hooyit hlaat gindiit. Sgwatxwiihl aat'ixs w i l kw'ihl hlo'ohl kuba tk'ihlxwgi. i i hlaa gwooyim i i hats'im hoo yukwhl saayeehl noxdiitgi dim hugwasimgaxt. l i ha'w j i gi'nidimaxsisim wagayt w i l 'witxwi'y diya 'nit ahl tk'ihlxwgi. i i 'nithl wilhl kuba tk'ihlxwgi, laahlda. i i hiyukwt txoogandiit, sim ganwila yukwhl txookxwdiit. Nee dii het dim xseekdiit. Nda w i l xseekdiit i i hats'im ligi gandinsxwdiit spagayt gan. Hlaa amhl gadipdidiit sakst sdildiit noxdiit. T'e'elthl l imxsihl tk'ihlxwgi nda k'uu w i l k'uu similoo'ot. l i nee dii het dim yeediit ts'u'oyuxwgi, lax xsiipgi. lit hlimoodiit noxdiit wi l sinhundiit hlaa up dist'isdiit. l i hoti kw'ihl 'wiinak'hl hlgu hanak'gi. 204 i i k'i 'yhl hiihluxw i i woks noxdiit iit balgi lax'ni w i i yiyukwhl hootxwit. i i 'ni dim maat gya'ahl tk'ihlxwgiihl do'ot gyee'w, guunxhlgi. i i kw'ihl baxhl hlgu hanak'gi. Hoti hukwsxw 'nit. Gi'nitxwt noxdiit iit gya'a wi i yiyukwdiit. iit uu'uudiit dim txookxwdiit. i i at'aat'ixsdiit i i am txookxwdiit i i hats'im hoo 'yaga saksdiit. A k h l hes noxdiit. Wilaayit dim wi i hoti 'nit dim wildiit ahl wi lhl galts'apgi. Sgwaa'yt hat'agandiit i i up neediit naa ant lax'nihl kw'ihl het. Ii aat'ixs wi i neediit hoti hlimoodiit noxdiit ahl sax guunxhl wila wildiit i i 'nakwhl yukwdiit. Gwal mi l igi dist'is 'nidiit ga'nakwhl yukwhl guunxhldiit. Ii hats'im hoo 'nithl wilhl kw'oo kw'ihl gipaygwitgi i i his'weesxw gats Nuhlx. K'esxwis Nuhlxhl k'aaxgi iit guut iit 'niit'aadid lax timgest i i balgi lislisxwhl sise'et. Hats'im hoo hugyagathl wi lh l hlits'apdiitgi. 'Nit w i i k'esas Masgwa-hlgu-lo'opgi. Hats'im l igi 'mashl lo'opgi i i daa'wihlt ts'u'oyuxw iit daxdokhl sise'es Nuhlx. i i j'ahls Masgwa-hlgu-lo'op i i hoti 'min daa'wihlt hoti l islisxwhl sise'et. Ii k'esahl hlgu Maawnim-Lo'op. Hoo lo'op 'nit i i hoti 'mast i i hoti t'ipdaa'wihlt ts'u'oyuxw. Hoti j 'ahl 'nit. i i nee dii t'iphla'ansihl k'aaxgi. Neediit gya'adiit hlideeyihl k'aaxgi. Neediit gya'adiit j i wi i 'niihukwsxwhl k'aaxgi. Ii 'nit wi i hoti k'esas Skants'ook', i i l imxsihl hliwisit ahl ts'im yip i i hoti 'nit w i i 'niihukwsxwt. Hoo jahl 'nit. Ii aayaawaatxwhl gimxdidiit. T'uuts'xwhl untgi. L i p wilaayit l ip 'nit. Hlipdaltxwithl lislisxwitgi. Luu bagayt kw'ihl wilhl hlgu tk'ihlxwgiihl wilt, hlgu tk'ihlxwimhanak'gi. Neediit kw'ihl wilaaxt hoti neediit hoti kw'ihl gya'ahl hagwiluxw deeyasihl k'aaxgi. lit kw'ihl sawihl unt iit ts'ik'ojihl hagwiluxwgi yukwt neediit kw'ihl gya'a anwilt. Ii 'nit w i i laks dip Nuhlx i i hats'im hoo 205 lo'opdiit. l i nuts' Nuhlx,. Skants'ook' hlik'yulit i i up nee sityeekws hlgu hanak'gi loot. Up wila hanak'di'y. lit saamagahl nuts'giihl 'moosit lax k'aax. lit gwaats' ama doxdiit iit k'utk'uu diyeehl k'aax daax wi l doxdiit. Gya'at dim wilt. Neediit wilaax ganwiltgi. i i hlaa gwila'lhl wilt, hax, i i kw'ihl hloohlaatxwhl do'otgi. Hats'im hoo gagyatda i i up nee dii lugwisxwdiit. lit hats'im hoo k'utk'uu didaa'wihl hlgu hanak'giihl k'aax i i haldim wandiit gat. W i l h l k'ay lugwisxwidi'y gathl wildiit. l i kw'ihl xooxdiit. Ii gi'nidimaxsdiit. iit xbiguus Nuhlxgiihl k'aax ahl tk'ihlxwimhanak'gi iit 'nii hedint lax t'imgest. i i sakshl ha'wdiit. l i up nee dii hoti wildiit. Nee dii hoti yeediit go'ohl guunxhl. i i up hats'im hoo 'nithl wildiit. Up txas 'nitxws kw'ihl j 'abihl noxdiit iit kw'oo hlimoodiit 'nit. i i k'i 'yhl hiihluxw iit balgi lax'nihl noxdiit sduutxwit ahl gyeewgi. A h l ha'nii guunxhlgi. Ha'w j i gi'nidimaxsisim diyagat 'nit. Aak ' ganeet. D i m a goodahl het dim i i gi'nidimaxsisim dim i i dip gya'ahl diya 'nit. l i 'nithl wildiit. Laahlda. Hehl t'iplagidiihl hehl lax'nidiit go'ohl ha'niihlit'diitgi. Gooda gathl het hlaa amhl ga'nagwit, i i gi'nidimaxsdiit. i i xseekdiit. G w i dii gahl j i wilhl hlisiphl hiiluu'lak lax ha'nii guumxdiit. "Tip goodinhl laxhagi hlisiphl 'min saksitgi. Umkw 'with! gathl laxha hehl hootxwit hluxwhlaxwt ganwil t'ip magahl ixxwt. i i gay hoo yukwt dimt naasda doxdiithl sipgi. Max'matxwhl hlagats'uut. Nda k'u wilhl k'u 'nakwhl k'uu gwitkw'ootxwdiit diyahl hediit. Nee dii am k ' i ' y h l sa j i yukwdiit naasda doxdiit sip. Kuba tk'ihlxw hlagats'uut. Gwaats' kw'ihl t'al gixgya'adiit. 206 Waayt Nuhlx kw'ihl miinhl k'aaxgi. Ts'aa gwaats' hlisxwdiit naadaadoxdiit sipgi i i hats'im hoo 'nithl hlgu hanak'gi ant daxyugwihl k'aax. i i k'ut'k'uu saksdiit. iit k'utk'uu diyeetxwdiit gadaax wi i 'wii doxhl sipgi. Ii gwila'l k'utk'uu hlo'odiit i i k'a litxwdiit. Ii kw'ihl hloohlaatxwhl sipgi. lit hats'im hoo k'utk'uu diyeediit k'aaxgi. Txalpxhl wildiit. Ii balgi haldim wans dipust. Ndahl wilhl lugwisxwithl 'nithl wildiit . Xooxda. Gapgapxwdiit. Ii gi'nidimaxsdiit. i i sakshl ha'wdiit. Ii gina kw'ihl litxws dip Nuhlx. Gwisbakwhl ts'apgi. Ii ts'ilim gootdiit go'ohl l ip gawilpdiit. Neediit wilaaxdiit gwihlwaji wiltdiit. Way 'nit wi i sagagootxws dip Nuhlx ganhl wakxwtgi dimt hlibaltwiltxwdiithl similoo'o k'utk'uu wilt ahl ts'apdiitgi. Laxyipdiit. Go'ohl gagii'yhl Gitwangax dim wi i hlisxwdiit. Ii nee dii kw'ihl tsilims dip Nuhlx. D i m am gasgoo dim gupdiit ahl j i hlaa txookxwim yuxwsadiit dim yukwdiit. iit yukwdiithl k'aaxgi. lit Nuhlx_ant diyeet. i i hoti hukwsxwhl hlgu hanak'gi. Yeet. i i 'nit hlaa 'nakw wi i liyeetdiit i i naadii gathl hlgu 'wiigyathl dit'aat, kw'ihl yuuhlxwt. Gwooyim wi i wi wildiit. Ii 'nit gat wi i hoo 'yaga hetxws Nuhlx iit yagayt guuhl gimxditgiihl k'aax. "0 gwii dim dii 'mugwin hlgu 'wiigyat", di hoo yagat Nuhlx. "0 wagi'y, wag'iy wagi'y ha'niigoodi'y j i gigyoos Nuhlx", diyagathl hlgu 'wiigyatgi. Tk'esxws Nuhlx logom 'wiigyatgi iit 'yaga hlo'oxst. Hoo kw'ihl liseewis Nuhlx hlgu 'wiigyatgi w i i yukwhl kw'ihl aatt w i i nee dii kw'ihl baxhl l igi aks. Ii hats'im hoo baxyeehl logom 'wiigyatgi iit hats'im hoo t'ip hlo'oxs Nuhlx 'nit. Ii hats'im hoo bax aat'ixshl hlgu 'wiigyatgi. Sgwaa'yt k'esxws Nuhlx hlgu 'wiigyatgi dimt hl i i hlo'oxst up hats'im hoo 'niit'aat. Ii amhl ga'nagwitgi iit hlaamagas Nuhlx i i hats'im hoo i i 'niit'aahl 207 hlgu 'wiigyatgi. Hats'im hoo yiyukwhl aatt. Hlgu gyadaleehl hliwilt i i up neediit gya'as Nuhlx. Up gyathl dii gya'at. Jahlt Nuhlx. Nee dii k'a 'nu 'wihl gyadalee i i hats'im hoo saksdiit. 'Nakw gat w i l liyeetdiit iit daltxwdiit kuba juuluxw. Amyeediit hoo 'naayisyajis Nuhlx t'ipxaat' kuba juuluxw iit simihldiit lakwdiit. Alaganhl hooxdiit i i t luusgidiithl sganagan ganhl gi'maaxst. 'Mats'diithl hlimaasihl hat'a'lgi iit hugyaxhl hligimk. Amyeediid yoosdiithl kuba juuluxwgi. Luulidindiithl gan gats'imk'o'ohl juuluxwgi. i i litxwhl gilbilt juuluxwgi. iit gupdiit. Gwaats'j'ahldiit. iit ts'akdiithl lakwdiit. iit hlaamakdiit. 'Nit gathl nee dii ts'akhl lakwgi. K w ' i h l hlayaxhl kuba siphl kuba juuluxwgi. Nee dii 'nakw wi l liyeetdiit iit balgi 'wadiit gathl hlgu wilp. A m hetxws Nuhlx_ahl aats'ip i i xsawhl hanak'gi. "0 neemsim gya'ahl sdik'yeekwsim a doots" diyagat, "sakshl walix lakwdiit i i gwitkw'ootxwdiit, diyahl hanak'gi. Simjuuluxw 'wim maa 'nit. Neediit gabidins dip Nuhlx wi l ts'imaxsdiit ahl wilp juuluxw. W i l h l up wilbi'y wilt gya'adiit. "Nee", diyagat Nuhlx "am t'ipxaathl hi kuba juuluxw dii gya'am i i dip 'naayisyatsdiit iit dip jahldiit ' . "Gwaats' saajihljahldim", diyagat, "sax hlisipdiithl manit. l i sit'aa'maam geexxwhl hlgu 'wii'nak'gi. "Huu, huu, huu", di kw'oo yagat. i i hlaa yukwhl sgaadaa'wihl aats'ipgi w i l geexxwhl hlgu 'wii nak'gi. gay 'nit xsiyuwihl mi'ingi wi l xsik'yeekxws Nuhlx. l i baxt go'o wilt gupdiithl kuba juuluxwgi. Naadiihl k'ay mimihl lakwdiit. Lagwis Nuhlx siphl kuba juuluxwgi i i baxt go'ohl aks. l i akst. l i boxt. Sagaytdo'os Nuhlx kuba lakw iit gi'namt ahl kuba juuluxwgi. lit dibakws Nuhlx kuba tk'ihlxwim juuluxwgi. 'Ts'iits, ts'iits, k'agahl aats'ip, k'agahl aats'ip loo'm. Nda wilt ganwilhl 208 tk'algantxwin?" i i hats'im hoo guxws geexxwhl hlgu 'wiinak'gi iit k'agahl aats'ip. Ii hats'im hoo tk'andaa'wihl aats'ipgi. lit hats'im hoo saaliyeedis dip Nuhlx hlishl lits'eexdiit. Ii 'nakw wi i liyeetdiit. Ii gay hoo 'nit gathl 'wiigyathl dit'aat hlisilkwhl Ts'ilaasxwgi (BulkleyCanyonima). Naasda dulpxwhl lo'op go'ohl Ts'ilaasxwgi. Hlo'otdid gathl 'wii gyat t'aat doosdagiih gaak. Hasak't dimt k'ak'xwt (finger wrestle). Hasak't dimt bakhl kuba tk'ihlxwgi dimt gya'a naa dim xsdaat. Ii 'nit wi i hoo k'esas Nuhlx. 'Nit dim sgoogaad. lit yagayt guuhl gimxditgiihl k'aax. Ii nee l igi 'nakwt i i jahls Nuhlx i i sax 'wii nuts' 'niit'aat lax'unhl gyatgi. lit sawihl unt i i suu'y saafaahls t'aahls nuts' go'o wi i kw'ihl wi lhl hlagats'uut. Ii 'nit wi i k'esas Masxwa-Lo'op dii k'ak'xwhl 'wii gyatgi iit suu'y t 'ip halaldinhl lo'opgi 'nit. 'Nu'whl gyatgi i i kw'ihl sgihl hlgu lo'op. Jahl 'wii gyatgi. iit Masxwa-Lo'ophl xsdaat. Wa'iit hoo guuhl hlgu hanak'giihl k'aax. Ii hats'im hoo txalpxhl k'utk'uu daa'wihlt i i hats'im hoo lugwisxws dip Nuhlx gant Masxwa-Lo'op. iit 'wadiithl lax'amaaxws, i i hlaa yukwhl sk'eexxw iit gya'adiit w i i mihl lakw k'aphl lax'amaaxwsgi, spagayt gan. 'Nit go'osun dim wi i wokxwdiit. Ii yeediit loot. i i litxwdiit gyalk'. "Ts'imaxsisim", "ji 'nisim dim ant hlibaltwiltxwhl yajasxw", diyahl, "similoo'o". Wilaayihl hanak'gi. i i ts'imaxs dip Nuhlx. i i hiyukwt txoogandiit. i i gwaats' hlixhleekxwdiit. Ii mahlasxwhl hanak'gi hlaa 'nit dim ant dee'entxwdiit. "Wo", diyagat, "hlaa helthl saksit go'o dim wi i yeesim, i i nee dii gwisbakwdiit w i i nee dii am'amdiit. Waa'y i i yuxwsa t'aahlakw", diyagat, "Dim 'wayisim wi i jokhl k'yoolihl gyat. D i m 'weesxw 2 0 9 hlit'at. Hila 'yhl wit 'ax t'at. Ii 'nit hlit'atgi ant yatshl gyat", diyahl hanak'gi. "Wooy, dim hats'im hoo J'akw di sim 'nit", diyagat. Wilaayid w i l xsdaadiit ahl hlik'yulihl gyatgi. "Jim sim 'wahl guh xt'atgi", diya, "wo dimt ginsim i i up gwi dimt ginsim wo dim miim sim up gupt", diyagathl hanak' "up wineeyis," diyagat, "mii neem di im sim up hlaamagat hlis j i simjagwit. D i m up mihldisim. Kw'oo didawdas i i up. i i hats'im hoo dildilstdiit". Wilaayihl hanak'gi. "Way dim dogosim dim sitxwimsansim", diyagat hanakgi. "Wooy j i hats'im hoo yuxwsa wo dim miim sim hats'im hoo 'wahl hlik'i 'yhl wilp w i l hoo jokhl hlik'ulithl gyat. A h l 'nidiit ant yatshl gyat", diyahl hanak'gi. Wilaayit. "Wooy i i gilbilhl t'imgest", diya. "Wooy 'nithl guudit gyatgi iit luusbagayt magat ahl t'imgestgi. i i sakshl t'imges i i t'aawak'hl gyatgi", diyagathl hanak'gi. "Ii 'nit dim hats'im hoo wilhlsim dim up hoo mihl di simhl wilp laxst", diyagat. "Wo dim miimsim t'al simihlis gyadis loot", diyagat. "Dim up J'iibilixst, diyahl hanak'gi. "Wooy mi im sim hoo 'wahl hlik'yulit", diyagat. Hats'im hoo k'yulit hat'akxwit aneet." "Dixdakhlxw se'et", diya. "Ii se'ethl hooyit ahl gyat", diyahl hanak'gi. "Dim gya'asim dimt wilaagwisim", diya. " D i m sim hugyagam laagaldid 'nisim", diya. "Wooy mi im sim lup wilaax dim wila laahlsim", diyahl hanak'gi. "Dim mi im sim up hats'im hoo mihlit", diya. "Wo dim i i hoo hats'im hoo liyeedisim. D i m hats'im hoo 'wayisim hlik'i 'yhl wilp", diya. "Woo i i 'nithl gyat tun", diyagathl hanak'gi, "Haldawgit 'nit, ganhl hooyit", diyagat. "Hat'aThl 'niilisxwit lax gangi. Tuuts'xwhl hlik'aphl gangi i i ihlee'etxwhl hlik'apt", 210 diyagat. "iit gyarhginhl gyatgi, haldawgitgi hat'a'lgi iit am gimkhl akhl gyat yugwithl wogad. i i 'nit w i i 'nu'wt. Wooy dim yagayt j 'abisim tun", diya, "hligook mi sim 'wahl anee'ysa. D i m hoti j 'abisimhl gan wo dim i i hoti t'uuts'xwt i i ihlee'etxwhl hlik'apt. W o dim i i saalisxwhl ha't 'a'l loot", i i t gi'namhl hanak'giihl mas loodiit dim hooxdiit ahl hlik'aphl gangi. i i 'nithl wila wilhl galdim haldawgitgi i i hoti 'nithl wilhl dim j'apdiit. "Wo dim i i xsidaa'wihlt ahl gyalk' hligook dim laahlsim", diyahl hanak'gi. "Wooy dim miim sim gay guuhl J'apsim neem sim dii gwingya'adid loot", diya. "Dim miim gay hedint go'ohl aats'ibis", diya. "Go'ohl amuwast ahl aats'ipgi dim mi im sim guuhl galdim haldawgittgi d im mi im sim yaxwt. Wooy 'nithl goodihl gyat dim 'wayisim", diya'nit. "Wooy k'i'y dim 'wayisim hligook dim guusbakwsim ahl ts'apsim", diya. "Hoo'o dim wilhlsim", diya 'nit, "dim l igi galxsa hat'akxwima 'nisim". ' " W i i lalt", diya, "dim 'wayisim. J im sim gii'ytxw wi i wokt i i gesxwt", diya. "Ii j i gyukwsxwt dim i i isxwt i i 'nithl haadidawxwhl gyat", diya hanak'gi, " i i 'wii t'ixxwt i i l imxsihl hlilaxt i i si lkxwhl ga'nagwit. Wo ' i i j i da wokt mi im sim da'akxw mi sim jagwit", diyahl hanak'gi. "Way neen dii wilaax dim wils im j i gadoo'ot", diyagat. "j i galxsa ax'akxwsim mii gwisbakwsim", diyagat. Wooy saks dipust hlaa hiihluxwgi. Ts i l im 'nidiit. Ii liyeetdiit. lit 'wadiit w i i jokhl aneehl hanak'gi loodiit hlaa yuxwsa. "Tsimaxsisim, ts'imaxsisim, ts'imaxsisim", diyagat. Nuhlxhl hoo ts'ilim sgoogaat. lit gwin wanhl gyatgi 'nidiit. i i wandiit. i i hlgu hanak'gi ant kw'ihl hooxhl k'aaxgi. Ii yukw gathl wo'otxwhl kw'ihl 'max t'atgi. Ii yiyukwhl txookxwdiit. Gwaats' ama smaxt gindiit. Maa'yhl gupdiit. Gwih l gubihl" 'wahlin gigyatgi 'nithl gupdiit. i i wandiit. 2 1 1 i i 'nit w i l hoo balgi hes Nuhlxas as Masxwa-Lo'op, "Gya'ahl hlit'as suust, gya'ahl hlit'as suust". i i tk'alyeediihl dalhl het. "Gya'ahl hlit'ahl t'aat go'osuust", diyagat. Gwaats' sidaltidhl het. lit guuhl guht'atgiit Nuhlx iit hliba'aldid ahl t'imgest i i 'wii nuts' 'niit'aat t'imgeshl gyatgi iit suusildint. lit gay hoot Masxwa-Lo'ophl guudit. iit tk'al geexanhl 'wii lo'opgi ahl t'imgest. Ii didawhl hlit'at. Xsdaat Masxwa-Lo'op. Didawhl hlit'at i i hoti 'nu'whl gyat i i hats'im hoo lo'opt. lit hats'im hoo guuhl hlgu hanak'giihl lo'op gant Nuhlx iit hats'im hoo k'utk'uu didaa'wihl k'aaxgi loodiit. Ii hats'im hoo dildilsis dip Nuhlx gant Masxwa-Lo'op. i i laahldiit i i hiihluxw i i txookxwdiit. lit dokdiithl hlik'aphl wineexhl gyatgi. iit simihldiit. Habindiithl wilp laxsgi iit mihldiithl gyatgi loot ganhl t'ax'nitxwshl toosit. U p 'nithl hehl gwil im mahlasxwit loodiit dim wildiit . iit hlaamakdiit hlishl wildiit. Haay hats'im hoo liyeetdiit iit hoo 'wadiithl hlgu aks i i 'nit wi l wanhl txookxwdiit i i hats'im hoo saahlo'odiit. Hlaa dimt 'wadiithl wilphl 'nii gilbilthl t'imgeshl gyatgi. i i hlaa amhl wila yuxwsa i i 'nit wilt 'wadiit. i i hoo litxwdiit gyalk'. iit hoo gwin ts'imaxshl gyatgi 'nidiit. i i ts'imaxdiit. i i up 'nithl Nuhlxhl hoo ts'ilim sgoogaat. i i wandiit. i i wo'otxwhl gyatgi loodiit. Tkoogant 'nidiit. Hl ishl lits'eexdiit i i wandiit. Sgwatxwi'yhl hoo het gats Nuhlx, "Gya'ahl wi lhl t'imgeshl t'aatgo'osuust", diyagat, "Gya'ahl wi lhl t'imgest." Hats'im hoo ya' 'nit. Ansigwit w i l yukwt hatagans Masxwa-Lo'op 'nit. Hlaa amhl ga'nagwit i i gehlxxws Nuhlx, "Gya'ahl wi lh l t'imgeshl t'aat go'osuust" diyagat 'nit. lit luu sbagayt magahl gyatgiit Nuhlx ahl t'imgest. i i hats'im l ig i 'wii nuts' t'ahlit loot, iit sildinhl gyatgii ahl aats'ip. i i gay yat Masxws-Lo'ophl guudihl gyatgi iit magat go'ohl t'imgest. i i hats'im ligi tk'an bisihl t'imgeshl gyatgi. Tk'an bisihl lo'opgi w i l 'niiwanhl t'imgest. 'Mashl lo'opgi i i 'nu'whl gyatgi iit 212 hats'im hoo diyeehl hlgu hanak'giihl aatxyasxwdiit, k'aaxgi, i i hats'im hoo hugwisxws dip Nuhlx gant Masxwa-Lo'op. i i laahldiit. Ii up hats'im hoo 'nithl wildiit hlaa hiihluxw. Mihldi i t , w i i tip 'nithl hehl gwildim mahlasxwitgi loodiit dim wildiit . iit dokdiit dim gupdiit ahl txookxwim hiihluxwdiit. iit hlaamakdiit. iit hoo 'wadiit hlik'yulihl gyatgi hlaa yuxwsa. Dakxhluwithl sise'ehl gyatgi. Gya'adiit wi i mihl lakwt i i kw'idin hlo'odiit loot go'ohl wilp laxst i i 'nithl hoo wildiit hoo agwi lixwda. lit guun ts'imaxshl gyatgi 'nidiit i i ts'imaxsdiit. Dakxhlxw 'wii sise'ehl gyatgi i i yukwhl si'angwahl gyatgi, txoogant dip Nuhlx. Hunhl gupdiit ganhl smax ganhl maa'y. i i up 'nitt Nuhlx hoo sit'aa'maat ahl hat'akxwtgi. i i hoo am si'aamhl het as Masxwa-Lo'op, "Gya'ahl sise'ehl t'aat go'osuust", di hoo yagat. i i hlaa amhl ga'nagwit i i tk'alyeehl dahl het. Ii a'laxhl gyatgi. i i t'aahl gyatgi. Nee dii gwi j i wilt yukwt dimt giba dim woowoxdiit. iit kw'ihl gi'namhl gyatgi dim gwiiladiit. Ii laahldiit laxts'eehl lakw. i i 'nit wi i hoo gwaats' luuxsgiiksis Nuhlxgi anu go'ohl lakwgi wo'iit Masxwa-Lo'op iit Maawinim-Lo'op iit Skants'ook'. iit K 'oh l im-Loop wagayt gits'unit wi i sgit. i i amyeet kw'ihl yalims woowoxxwdiit yukwt dimt gya'adiit dim wilhl gyatgi. Ii simhetxwshl gyatgi j i woowoxdiit i i yukwtgat juxwhl se'etgi, dakxhlasit. Ii sim dalhl ts'aks Nuhlx. Xsixhak'yo'odithl lakw i i hoti wils Masxwa-Lo'op. Gaay anuu gits'unhl gya'adiit. Gya'adiithl hl iwilhl gyatgi. i i 'widin daa'wihl gyatgi ahl lakw i i yukwt gyamginhl se'et i i hats'im wilhl didili 'y gathrwilt. Tuuts'xwhl se'etgi. i i 'nithf hedint go'ohl hak'yo'os Nuhlx i i hoo 'wii nuts'hl 'nii t'ahlit loot iit hoo sildint go'ohl aats'ip. lit gaay hoo Masxwa-Lo'ophl k'esxwihl gyatgi iit gwaats' xsi 'nagwinhl hak'yo'ot iit suu hlip t'ishl se'ehl gyatgi. 213 Xjaaxxw wi l t'iphlaalagahl hlits'u'winhl t'uuts'xwhl gyatgi. Ii hoo k'a daa'wihl gyatgi go'o wi l giihlt. i i yukwt geexhl se'etgi, an'unt hooyit. Gwaats' sakhl j'apt. i i sa'aamhl dalhl ts'im ts'aks Masxwa-Lo'op. i i hats'im hoo 'widin yeehl gyatgi iit hats'im hoo hlo'oxshl hak'yo'os Masxwa-Lo'op. Tk'alyeet xsi'nagwins Masxwa-Lo'ophl hak'yo'ot. i i hats'im hoo hliplakhl se'ehl gyatgi. i i hats'im hoo daa'wihlt iit hoo hats'im geexhl se'et i i yugwi'yhl wilt i i hlipgoodihl se'et. i i 'nu'whl gyatgi. lit hats'im hoo j 'aphl hlgu hanak'gi dip Nuhlx iit hats'im hoo lugwisindiit. i i laahldiit. Hlipgoodahl se'ehl a'lagadgi. iit malkwdiit 'nit. i i hats'im hoo saahlo'odiit. Wo ' hlaa yukwt dimt j'apdiithl galdim haldawgitdiit. 'Nakw wi l liyeetdiit i i 'wadiithl hlgu aks i i 'nit wilt simihldiithl lakw. 'Nit wilt t'uuts'diithl gan aneehl hanak'gi. Gwaats' tk'al gi'namdithl hat'a'lgi ganhl mas. iit k'utk'uu dakxhldiit hat'a'lgi i i t saamastdiithl hlits 'u 'winhl hat'algi. 'Nithl daxyukwdiit hlaa hats'im hoo saahlo'odiit hlaa dimt 'wadiithl haldawgitgi. Hlaa sk'eexxw wilt 'wadiit 'nit iit gwaats' kw'ihl yaxwdiithl galdim haldawgitdiitgi. Nee dii hediit dimt gya'ahl gyatgi. i i ts'imaxsdiit hlaat gwin ts'imaxshl gyatgi 'nidiit. Luu'amhl goothl gyatgi w i l kw'ihl bakwdix go'ot. A k ' h l hoo l igi kw'ihl hes Nuhlx gyuu'n. A k ' h l hoo l igi kw'ihl halaagyagad. Up amagyathl t'aatgi. i i txookxwdiit. Gwaats' ts'eeyinhl gyatgi 'nidiit. iit awisdox dim w i l laahldiit. Up 'nit wi la laahl gyat ahl 'nagwit. i i xsidaa'wihl gyatgi gyalk. Y u k w dim yeet dim ist. i i haldim baxs Nuhlx iit sityeewihl galdim haldawgitgi iit gaay magahl japdiitgi go'ohl amuwast. iit yaxwhl galdim haldawgithl gyatgi. l i hoo 'nithl hediit kw'ihl yalim woowox 'nidiit. Gya'adiit dim wilhl haldawgitgi. 214 i i mihl hlgu lakw. 'Nakw hlidaa woowoxxws dip Nuhlx diyahl goothl gyatgi ganwilhl gi'nitxwt i i daa'wihlt go'o wi i hetxwhl galdim haldawgittgi. iit guut, iit 'nii gyamgint lax'uhl lakwgi. lit 'nii k'yant lax aaks Nuhlx, gwaats' k'akhl aaks Nuhlx. Hats'im gaay didal gathl sneeks Nuhlx. iit hats'im hoo wilaagwit i i gaay hoo hlik'yulitgi anwilt iit hoti gwaats' neediit hoti am ligi aatxt. Saabahant 'nidiit i i nee dii didawdiit. iit magahl galdim haldawgitxwtgi iit hedint. Ii daa'wihl giihlt. i i 'nithl hoo yagayt mahldihl gwildim mahlasxwitgi. i i hlaa yukw sim xts'a'yhl wokt diya i i xsi'at'aat'ixshl hlip'aaluxw ahl ts'akt. Hlaa goodihl wilt i i "nit w i i up wokt. iit guutdiithl galdim haldawgitxwhl gyatgi i i 'nithl hooxdiit loot, iit liluxwsdiit hlinaahlxt. Gooda hlinaahlxhl gyatgi. 'Nu'w 'nit. Sakshl laahldiit hlishl wildiit i i woowoxdiit. Ii 'nu'whl gyatgi. Up hooxdiithl anda haldawgitxwt loot. U p hats'im hoo 'nithl wildiit. Hats'im hoo mihldiithl anj'okt iit mihldiit gyatgi. Gaay hoo lalt dim 'wadiit jigyuu'n. i i liyeetdiit, i i liyeetdiit hlaa yukw dimt 'wadiithl miinhl sga'nist. i i silakwsdiit i i txookxwdiit. i i aayaawaatxwhl hlgu hanak'gi gas wilt gageexhl unt. Sigyamkhl an'unt ahl lakwgi iit hats'im hoo geext. i i 'nithl hlgu hanak'gi dim ant luudaltxwhl lalt. iit yagayt mahlihl gwildim mahlaasxwitgi wi i ts'uuxshl laltgi nda wi i wokt. iit tk'esxws K'ohlim-Lo'opgi w i i sisgihl lalt lax lo'op. Si'amhl wokt. iit suu saak'ojis k'ojis K 'oh l im -Lo'opgiihl t'imgeshl laltgi ganhl hlik'uukw't. i i anuu Gigeenixhl wila daa'wihl t'imgeshl laltgi hlist saak'ojit. Ii luudaa'wihlt ts'im t 'axxwhl Gisgaga'as. i i Gyeets' wila daa'wihl hlik'uukw'hl laltgi. i i hoti luudaa'wihlt ts'im t'ax. 'Nithl siwatdiit ahl Seeley Lake gyuu'n. Xsdaat K'ohlim-Lo'op. Jakwdithl laltgi. 2 1 5 iit gaay hoot Nuhlx ant k'utk'uu didaa'wihl k'aax. i i hats'im hoo mootxws K'ohl im-Lo'op i i hats'im hoo hlgu hanak't. l i hats'im hoo saahlo'odiit hlo'odiit. Bax saksda laxsga'nist, Sdik'yoodinaxhl. l i hlaa yukw dim kw'adixsxwdiit laxsga'nistgi iit lax'nidiit w i l yats'ahl sdamk. Duum, duum, duum, diyagat lax'nidiit. l i kw'ihl litxwdiit, nee diit wilaaxdiithl gwihl hehl lax'nidiitgi. l i hats'im hoo liyeetdiit, hasak'diit dimt gilk'a giisxwdiithl hehl lax'nidiitgi. Nee diit mahlihl gwildim mahlasxwitgi dim wildiit . l i kw'ihl gina litxwdiit i i hats'im hoo saahlo'odiit. Gya'adiit wi l aat'ixshl, i i aat'ixshl hanak'. ' W i i t'ax luuhlo'otxwithl hooyit. i i k'aat'xwhl 'wii hanak'gi. i i nda wi l gya'lasxwt i i xsi'aat'ixshl mihl ahl ts'a'at i i hoo ts'iipt i i hoo goodaahl wilt i i hats'im hoo gyahlaasxwt i i hats'im hoo aat'ixshl mihl . Gaay hoo lixsgyat kw'oo kw'ihl wils dip Nuhlx kw'oo si'yhl huutxwdiit i i up ganwila hetxwhl 'wii hanak'gi angook'diit. l i ak'hl kw'ihl wildiit i i up 'nit w i l litxwdiit. l i 'nit w i l lo'ops dip Nuhlx. l i up 'nit w i l didaxwdiit. K 'oo ' I t siwatdiithl hanak'gi i i up 'nit ant yats dip Nuhlx. Up ak'hl wildiit loot, l i 'nit w i l lo'ops dip Nuhlx, laxsga'nist, Sdik'yoodinaxhl. i i Mis gathl t ' ip daa'wihls Nuhlx, diyahl andamahlasxw i i hats'im hoo huwanhl txalpxdulit. l i j i hlaa t'ipgootdiit i i 'nit gat dim wi l saabaxhl ha'niijok. l i 'nit tun w i l saabaxs Nuhlx. 216 H l g u A x x w t (The Li t t le Porcupine) Ant mahlihl andamahlasxw tun hasakdiit dimt si'aluut'aadiit dim hlo'otxwhl dax'nitxws ligi agwi. K'i'yhl sum sint, diyahl andamahlasxw tun, kwihl wilhl hlgu axxwt Sdikyoodenax. K'i'yhl sahl yukwhl kwihl yookxwt iit hlaat aatx wilhl hehl ligi 'numwogadiihl het. iit 'wahl hlgu axxwt wii luuxts'agimxs sdo'ixshl sganlaxsimlaxnok. ii giihls hlgu axxwt ii hehl sigootxwt dim 'nakw dim wokt dim ii sim ixsda dim xsiwokt. Ii gyuksxwhl hlgu axxwt wilt nax'nihl ligi agwi'y mahl het ant umgant. Ii kwihl si'y gya'lahl hlgu axxwtgi iit gya'a wii hlgu akst huwilt hli laxliksit ii 'nit ant umgant' ii sim hisgyatxwshl hlgu axxwt 'widin yeet. Wilhl dim ligi kwihl urngasxwidi'y 'nit iit sim staada aksis hlgu axxwt hlgu aksgi iit sim jixts'eekhl kuba lo'opgi wagayt wii gwilgwalkwdiit. Ii hlaa needii s'yaxhl ligi agwi, ii hats'im hoo gwis yees hlgu axxwt go'owil luuxts'agimxs hlawhl sganlaxsimlaxnokgi. Ii needii 'nakwtgi ii hats'im hoo sit'aa'maahl hlgu aksgi 'yaga baxt saa'witxwt laxsaa'nist. Ii sim tk'alyeehl yaahls hlgu axxwt. Ii hats'im hoo gwis yeet iit sdaada aksihl hlgu aksgi iit hats'im hoo jixts'eekhl kuba lo'opgi wagayt wii gwilgwalkwt. Ii hats'im hoo gwis yees hlgu axxwt yukw dim hats'im hoo wokt ii up neediit gwis 'wahl sganlaxsimnaxnokgi. Sim gyaks galanhl silxwsax ii xwhluxws hlgu axxwt.ii hats'im hoo 'yaga baxhl hlgu aks sdo'ixshl laxsga'nist. 217 Ganhehl Gitxsan gaxsdiksihl hli da wilhls hlgu axxwt i i needii getxwhl wilhl axxwt i i hoo yaahlt. Amts'uuxs l igi gwihl hehl lax 'ni 'y i t iit hoo lidinhl hli 'yimt ganwil l igi yukw hat'agam xsiwokt. Andamahlasxw Wila Wilhs K'alidakhl (Origin Of Blue Jay) K'alidakhlt siwadihl Gitxsanhl ts'uuts' tun, gus dak hlit hli gest. X s i m Gitxsan ant sit'aahl k'alidakhl. Xsibaxhl mi' in ahl sii sa'anjokdiit i i sim luu'am'amhl gagootthl sii naksit hlis sim t'is hahla'alstdiit hlist sim hugyagam hlisindiit sii'anjokdiit. 'Nakwhl sak' ahl maadim, i i ax'akhl wineex. i i up am wi l galxsi'ax'akxwdiit. Hlaa aat'ixshl gwooyim i i hats'im daaxaaxhathl gagootdiit i i hats'im hoo siisaxxwdiit dim sii sagootxwdiit i i hats'im hoo siisaxxwdiit dim wila wildiit. T'is dim hahla'alstdiit. D i m gan nee dim hoo haxhaaxxwdiit j i hlaa hoo maadim. Gwats luu naadimda'amt 'nidiit hlaa yukwhl hoo sagagootxwdiit dim wila wildiit . Ii yukwhl naadildalkdiit, iit nax'nidiit w i l kwihl sdamk wi l kwihl xhlilsihl ligit naa gadaaxdiit. Ii 'nithl dii ayookdiit, an j i m ts'ilaayxxwhl ligit naa am j i kwihl sdamgansdin dim kwihl xhlisdin gadaaxhl anjokdiit, dim gwinnax'nitxw 'nit. Ii j i ansigwidiit kwihl het i i hats'im hoo luuyaltxwt w i l saa'witxwt. Ii xsaxwhl gyatgi gwiihl naadiihl hlamsim hanak't gildimgoodit dim tsimil lukwtgo'odiit. K w i h l yukwdit 'wii gwe'ehl.wii luudoxhl amixugitt. 218 "Tsinin", diya 'nit, tsaa nee'ydi'yt sim ha'nookhlgoott laa wi lh l hlamst. Amgoodit wi i needii dim hoo belt dim siwineexdiit. Ii sim needii luuts'o'o hli algyaxt. Neediit gabidint wi i yukwt umkxwhl hlamsim gyatt het. A m h l dii wila wilt gimaadim, helthl dii wineext. Needii kwihl sk'oksxwhl wi la dii kwihl ganjijok't. Needii kwihl hlabixsxwt wi i needii gwi j i jabit. "O", diya, moo j i ligit kwihl digilsxwhl het, k'oo'moxwihl goott neemdiit kwihl simedindiit kwihl het. A h l amuwast dim wilt kwihl giihlindiit 'nit. Ii logom mankdiit dimt kwihl gindiit 'nit. Lukwi l guxw siilinaasxwim gyat tun iit sim siip'inhl ama'masithl nakst. Xsidogathl wi i sim am'amhl smax i i 'nithl si'angwit ahl nakst. Ii sim gaakxhlxw smaxhl gi'namdiit loot, i i sim luusk'eexxwt i i luusakhl amuwaast wi i jokt w i i sii du'u wi i mihl lakw. Ii sim hagwin t'aahl hlguuhlxwim hanak't sdo'ixs wi i mihl lakw yukwt gup yoosim wi i am'amhl smax. Ii t'aahl anhluut'ixsim nakst, sim gyamk, i i sim ama'masihl gwisgoosxwim gwilahl hooyit. Ji needii kwihl wi lh l k'ay'masim hanak' tun, "Yugwima dimt kwihl didi'yhl guxw siilinaasxwim gyat tun". Ii kwihl t'aahl hlgu logom'wiinak' amuuwast sim kwihl k'yalt. Gaswilt ge'enhl sim sipxwithl smax yukwhl hat'agam sagootxwt dim wila wilt. Ii k'i 'yhl sa i i daa'wihl k'ay'masim gyat guxwguwasit; iit jagwihl hlgu logom'wiinakgi lup hlguuhlxwim hanak't. Ii sit'aa'mat guxws awil japxwt dim gan wilhl tk'ihlxwidi'y 'nit. iit 'wahl t'uuts'a lakw go'ohl hlawil mihl lakw iit k'utk'u dist'uuts'inhl ts'a'at loot, iit guuhl aksa maa'y iit min'manhl dido'ot ganhl gadaaxhl tsim'aakt. lit sagayt dimdamganhl hli gest 219 iit sagayt ts'iipt ahl lax'ohl t'imgest, tk'ahl hooyit. Ii sim luu'amhlgoott ahl japt, iit 'niimagahl ama'masim gwisgwoosxwim gwilagi lax no'ohlt i i t'aahl gibee'esxwt. iit nax'ni wi i hlaa aat'ixshl guxw siilinaasxwitgi gadaaxhl anjokdiit. Ii ts'int iit 'widin gya'ahl go'ohl amuuwast w i i hixs taahl hlgu 'wiinak'gi, "0, am", diya, "daa'wihlidahl hlgu 'wiinak'gi", diyahlgoott. Ii sit'aa'maat gildimgoodint dim gupdiit j i hlaa yuxwsa. Ii 'widin yeet wi i dit'aahl nakst iit simt luu gya'ahl ts'a'ahl kwihl si'ihl si'ama'masxwit logom'wiinak. i i sim luu'amhlgoothl hlgu logom'wiinak' iit mahlihl daa'wihl naks k'ay'masim gyat i i hlaa 'nit dim ant hooxhl gwisgwoosxwim gwila. Neediit simedinhl hehl nax'ni'yit. Daa'wihl ama'masim nakst. iit guuhl xlaaxw iit k'utk'u hilanhl hlgu 'wiinak'gi gadaax wi i mihl lakw' gaswilt yatst ahl xlaaxw. Mahla k'i'yt yatst i i aat'ixs wi i ts'uuxs hlgu 'wiinak'gi, gaswil aayaawaatxwt, gaswil tk'alyeehl dalhl het. iit balgi haldim bajihl lip 'nit w i i gak'aaxt i i 'nit wi i xsigiphayxwhl k'alidakhl alohl xsiyuwihl mi'in. 'Nit hli ihlagansxwt ganwilhl daa'wihlt go'ohl spagaytgan i i 'nit w i i kwihl gapgabilsxwt dim gubit i i gaswil luubagayt kwihl algyaxt. Ii wagayt k'ay gigyuu'wini'y, i i j i t'is j i kwihl algyagan i i needii gwi j i kwihl liseewin, hishalaagyaxxwhl Gitxsan iit siwatdiit 'niin ahl K'alidakhl. 220 Wii 'axgats 'agat (The O r i g i n O f The Mosquito) Needii yagayt kwihl wilhl wiidaxgats'agat go'osun diyahl andamahlasxw. Amkyeekw 'Wii'nagwid Ts'agad kwihl yeet. Gasgootxwihl aluugigyat similoo'o tun w i l helthl gyathl yajit iit gupdiit. Go'ohl ts'apdiit w i l wilt, l i helthl k'aylimxsim i i 'wxwim Gitxsan ant wilaaxhl wildigitxw i i 'nidiit saksit dim ant jagwihl 'wii similoo'o tun i i needii gwisbakwdiit. 'Nit ganwilhl Ts'uu'windigim Wakdiit sagootxwt dimt jagwihl 'Wi i Similoo'o tun. Txalpxdulhl wakxwt ganhl amkyulithl nibipt saksit dim ant jagwihl ' W i i Similoo'o tun, i i needii gwisbakwdiit. Ii ee'esxwhl Ts'uu'windigim Wakdiit dim diltxwt wi l didaxwhl wakxwt. Sgwaa'yt asduxwhetxws noxt 'nit ganhl hlgiikws noxt nee dim dii yeet i i up hasakhl Ts'uu'windigim Wakdiit, iit gos ji t asduxwhetxwsdiit 'nit dim hlaat'aat ahl anjokt dim wi l gyakshl dim wila wilt. lit guuhl Ts'uu'windigim Wakdiithl andaxs'aksxwt w i l luusgihl k'aymasxwdiihl hli t'uuts'hl lakw iit sdindokhl haxdakwt ganhl hawilt, i i saayeet dim yeet go'ohl f a x wi l jokhl 'Wii'nagwithlts'agat. Ii needii dit'aahl 'Wii'nagwithlts'agathl similoo'o. Ii hlipdaltxwhl wiixoo'osxwithl k'ay'masim gyatgi alohl sginist. lit gya'ahl gansk'ootsxant ts'im t'ax. Ii t'aahl gibee'esxwhl k'ay'masimgyatgi. Ii needii 'nakwt i i gwis'witxwhl similoo'ogi; i i sim kwihl yaahlt. Ii sim hat'akxwhl laxha i i needii kwihl wi lhl Gitxsan laxyipxwdiit dim siilinit gan dimt yatsdiit i i sim xwdaxhl similoo'o tun i i sim tk'alyeehl yaahlt. iit balgi gya'ahl similoo'o giihl k'ay'masimgyatgi ts'im aks. l i lok'on goshl similoo'ogi ts'im aks wilt gya'ahl gansk'ootsxanhl k'ay'masimgyatgi. lit laaxsawihl k'ay'masimgyatgiihl gan wi l 'niit'aat. l i laaxaoshl similoo'ogi. Lukwi l hasak't dimt gidiguuhl gansk'ootsxangi dim gubit j i hlaa yookxwim yuxwsat. Hlaa sim hlabixsxwhl similoo'ogi, i i 'widin yeehl k'ay'masimgyatgi hasak't dimt hlimoot. S im hagwil ha'algyaxhl k'ay'masimgyatgi loot i i het loot, "Wi lh l l igi xhatxwidi 'y 'm i i aksdin. D i m simihli'y 'wiit 'isim lakw dim i i gyamgin". Ii sim kwihl his'weesxwhl similoo'ogi wilt kwihl 'num hlimoodiit 'nit. lit sagaytdoxhl k'ay'masimgyatgiihl gwalgwa lakw. Ha'y, t'is w i l mihl japt. "Gwaats gwinhetxwin i im gyamginhl lip'niin", diyahl kay'masimgyatgi, sit'oogathl similoo'ogi. Ii 'nithl wi lh l similoo'ogi gwaats gwinhetxw go'o w i l gyamkhl lakwgi. Ii 'nit wilt lok'on t'ishl k'ay'masimgyat similoo.o ts'im anlakw. Ii hlaa yukwhl ts'akhl lakwgi, iit lax'nihl k'ay'masimgyatgiihl hehl saa'witxwit ts'im anlakwgi. "Tsaawildiihl mi jakwdi'y mi up hoo gwis'witxwi'y mahla k'i 'yhl sint i i 'nit dim wi l diltxwi'y. Ii 'nithl wilhl hli ee'esxwhl similoo'ogi, wi lhl up t'uuts'iihl wilhl wit'axgats'aaad xsiliphaygwid alohl hli guumhl lakwgi. K'ay gigyuu'ni'y, i i si'amhl ax'exhl Gitxsan wila wilhl wiit'axgats'agat i i kwihl ligiphaygwihl kuba wiit'axgats'agat gamimuxwhl Gitxsan iit amgoosindiit 'nitdiit hli ee'esxwhl hligookdiit. 222 A P P E N D I X E Time Line: Occupation Of Gitxsan Lands (2003) have provided a timeline for the occupation of Gitxsan lands. Our footprints have traveled across this land and established a circle of footprints that represents an organized society. We have traveled through time like other Nations and our journey wi l l continue together. 10,000 BC: Archaeologists have dated village and cache pit sites at ages more than six thousand years. Occupation by the Gitxsan is estimated to be thousands of years older. The land is maintained according to traditional laws and overseen by House Chiefs who ensure that their House territories and people are treated with respect and balance. B C ' s Aboriginal populations are estimated to be several hundred thousand strong. 1830 B C ' s Aboriginal population drops to 70,000 due to epidemic disease brought by contact with Europeans. 1859 Gold seekers pour into the territories, using the 'Xsan as a transport and access system. 1865: Collins Overland Telegraph to Russia is built up the Bulkley Valley from Quesnel to Kispiox before the project is cancelled. 1868 Hudson's ' Bay Company builds trading post at Gitanmaax. 1870 Gold is found in the Omineca area. For two years, hundreds of prospectors travel up the Skeena and along the Babine Trail to reach mines. 1871 B C enters Canadian Confederation, yet refuses to cede control of Crown land to the Canadian government. Ottawa discovers that only a few treaties with aboriginal groups exist in B C . Most of B C ' s Crown land is thus not properly acquired. According to the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Ottawa has a responsibility to ensure that Crown land be legally acquired through treaties with aboriginal groups. 223 1872 European prospectors burn Longhouses and totem poles in Gitsegukla. Miners refuse to discuss compensation as required by Gitxsan law. The chiefs blockade all traffic on the 'Xsan. Two gunboats are dispatched to the mouth of 'Xsan. Gitsegukla Chiefs meet on board with Lieutenant Governor Joseph Trutch. Compensation of $600 is granted. Blockade is lifted. 1874 Gold Rush in Cassiar Mountains. Again , Skeena route through chiefs' territories is used. 1876 Canada's Governor General, Lord Dufferin, protests B C ' s refusal to acknowledge aboriginal title problem. 1876 A joint federal and provincial commission is appointed to look into the allocation of reserves. The Gitxsan give a cool reception to the commissioners and refuse to cooperate in the naming of village sites or burial grounds for reserves until the question of aboriginal title is addressed. The reserves are set up anyway. B C allocates 10 acres per head of household for native. Non-natives are allowed to claim up to 320 acres per person. Natives are prohibited from taking white land without permission of the Lieutenant Governor. 1883 Gold found at Lome Creek. Gitwangak chiefs, fearing that the prospectors are disturbing wildlife, post notices on trees around camps announcing that the miners are on Indian land. They are ignored and Indians are told to leave the area. 1884 Royal Commission into Indian land question fails to settle land issues in part due to B C ' s refusal to discuss the fact that aboriginal title continues to exist. 1884 A . C . Youmans, a freighter for local miners, fails to notify and compensate, as is required by Gitxsan law, a Gitsegukla family for the drowning of their son, B i l l y Owen. Three years earlier, B i l l y ' s brother had also drowned while in Youmans employ and Youmans refused compensation then also. B i l l y ' s father, Haatq, kills Youmans. He is charged and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. 1884 Feasts, the central political and social institution of the Gitxsan culture, are banned and punishable with ja i l sentences for all participants, including whites that have knowledge of one and fail to report it. 224 1887 Second Royal Commission into B C Land Question fails to settle issue of aboriginal title. Again Province refuses to sit down to negotiate. 1887 Haatq, arrested in 1884 for the murder of Youmans, dies in New Westminster ja i l . Gitxsan are denied the demanded compensation. 1887 Kamalmuk, suspecting that one of his family members is kil led by witchcraft, kil ls the man suspected of witchcraft against his family. Police, who had come to arrest him, shoots Kamalmuk in the back. Demands for compensation by his Kitwancool family are ignored. Anger at Kamalmuk and Haatq's deaths threatens to lead to a general uprising against white presence. Additional police are called in. 1888 A n Indian Agent and a Constable go to Gitwangak to attempt to enforce the ban on feasts. Their attempt is unsuccessful. 1889 Babine Agency of the Federal Department of Indian Affairs is formed. R . E . Loring becomes the first official Indian Agent in Gitxsan territory. 1889 Federal Fisheries A c t is passed. Aboriginals are no longer allowed to sell fish or own fishing licenses. Natives who work for fish companies are paid 5 cents a fish while white fishermen are paid 10 cents a fish. 1891 Reserve Commissioner P. O 'Re i l ly and his surveyor, A . H . Green, begin reserve allocations. Clear opposition emerges to allocation of reserves at Kispiox and Gitwangak. O 'Re i l ly promises that all Indians can continue to "hunt, fish, or gather berries where you w i l l " . 1893 Rocks are blasted out of the 'Xsan to improve steamer boat traffic. A t Gitsegukla, the fishing sites and smokehouses of five families are destroyed. 1897 New Reserve Commissioner A . W . Vowel l receives letter from Kitwancool Chiefs saying, "they do not want him there". He goes the following year anyway, but instead of receiving land measurements, the Kitwancool chiefs give a demand for compensation and a tombstone for Kamalmuk, killed in 1888. 225 1906 Squamish Chief Joe Capilano and his delegation of chiefs spread the word of their audience with K i n g Edward VII in London. The K i n g had told them that aboriginal proprietary rights in the land are to be restored, but only through Ottawa's intervention. Federal Fisheries Department workers forcibly remove Fish weirs on the Babine River, a traditional fishing method. Nine men who owned and used the weirs are arrested and charged with theft, illegal fishing and resisting arrest. This confrontation forces a meeting between Native representatives and the Federal cabinet to discuss fishing grievances. Nothing is resolved. 1907 Provincial Game Ac t is enacted to stop beaver hunting for a period of six years. Gitxsan lobby and win a temporary exemption. 1908 Gitxsan contribute money to send Joe Capilano and 25 chiefs to visit Prime Minister Laurier in Ottawa with a land rights petition. Whites around Hazelton dig rifle-pits and trenches in expectations of an Indian "uprising". Indian Agent promises another land grievances commission and tension is diffused temporarily. June 1909 Gitwangak villagers stop a group of surveyors at gunpoint and demand meetings over land grievances. A t the meetings they use quotes from the Royal Proclamation of 1763 as one of the basis for their claim. Kispiox chiefs post notices forbidding whites from crossing the Skeena. July 1909 Laurier government sends out a commission to discuss land grievances. Gitxsan present their claim of aboriginal title, which cannot be settled by the commissioners. Discontent is aggravated as the commissioners leave. Province agrees to white requests for more police to protect their newly settled property. November 1909 Kispiox chiefs blockade a road construction crew at gunpoint. Crew foreman responds by throwing two Gitxsan into the river. The Gitxsan seize the crew's equipment. Seven Gitxsan men are arrested after rumors of "secret uprising meetings" prompt a dawn raid of over 40 policemen on Kispiox. 1909 Local D I A Inspector notes that in the Skeena area the "land trouble was more acute.. .than in any other part of B C " . 1910 Kitwancool & Gitwangak Chiefs post notices of their aboriginal claim along trails in Hazelton district and4nvoke the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to challenge white presence. ' . " „ 226 Prime Minister Laurier comes to Prince Rupert to hear chiefs' complaints. 1910 A Gitxsan is chosen to jo in the delegation of B C Chiefs petitioning K i n g George V on land grievances. 1911 ,. Laurier demands that B C acknowledge the problem of aboriginal title in the land question. B C refuses. Laurier must settle for a second joint land commission. 1912-1916 The second joint federal-provincial land commission, headed by B C Premier McBr ide and Federal representative McKenna, visit local communities to hear land complaints. Aboriginal title is raised frequently. The commissioners refuse to deal with it, as it is not within their jurisdiction. Chiefs express anger at being let down again. 1920 Indian Ac t is amended to require compulsory attendance of aboriginal children in residential schools, "so there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic, and there is no Indian question" - Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of Federal Indian Department. 1924: Gitxsan and Nisga'a chiefs meet P M McKenzie K i n g in Ottawa to discuss land claims. April 14,1927 Ottawa, frustrated by constant aboriginal petitioning regarding the B C land question, decides to allocate $100,000 to B C for Indian technological training, hospitals and promotion of agriculture and stock raising. This is in lieu of usual treaty payments it would have to pay i f B C had recognized aboriginal title. It remains on the federal account books to this day as the " B C Special". 1927 The federal government amends the Indian Act , making it illegal to organize around the land question, or to advance any land claims. They also make it illegal for any lawyer to work on such a case. Kitwancool chiefs are sent to Oakhalla prison after resisting government attempts to create boundaries for a Kitwancool reserve without discussing aboriginal title. Indian Agent orders R C M P to suppress feasts at Gitwangak and Kitwancool. Attempts fail . 1929 B C ' s Aboriginal population is estimated at 22,000 people, after epidemics of smallpox, measles and influenza. 227 1958 Hagwilget Canyon rock is blasted out by the Fisheries Department. Thousands of years of fishing sites are destroyed. 1975 Gitxsan begin research to launch another formal request to negotiate their claim for land with the Federal government. 1977 Federal government officially accepts the Gitxsan declaration of claim to their territories. However, negotiations cannot proceed so long as B C refuses to acknowledge their responsibilities. October 23,1984 The Gitxsan & Wet'suwit 'en launch the historic legal action, Delgamuukw v. Queen to deal with land claims. They challenge B C ' s jurisdiction over their 22,000 sq. miles of territory. November 1985 Chief Gwis Gyen, Stanley Will iams, stands in front of a train on the C N railway to force C N R to compensate Gitwangak for 100 acres taken from the reserve in 1910. The Grand Trunk Railway was built right through the village cemetery. The village had been given $100 to bury the 14 bodies the railway had disturbed, but nothing was given for the land itself. Blockade lasts more than two weeks. 1986 Federal Fisheries officers are sent in to reserves to uphold Ottawa's ban on inland fisheries. B C government adopts the position that reserve grounds are under federal jurisdiction, but ground underneath the rivers are provincialland, so they too have the right to control Native fisheries. The Gitxsan go fishing without permits and, in Gitwangak, the fishery officers are pelted with marshmallows when they try to interfere with Native food fishing. May 11,1987 Opening arguments are made in the Delgamuukw v. Queen case in Smithers. Chief Justice A l l an McEachern presides. 1987 B C Supreme Court refuses Gitxsan's plea for an injunction against new logging or Crown land pre-emptions while Delgamuukw is in court. 1988 Chief Luulak, Sandra Will iams, issues notice to Skeena Cellulose that logging on her territory is not permitted. She asks Eagle Clan Chief Gi i la 'wa , Peter Turley, to move a loader off her territory. He is charged with possession of stolen property. Eventually charges are dropped. 228 February 29,1988 Kispiox residents place a huge cedar log across Kispiox Road in the center of their village to halt logging trucks and protest clear-cut logging of their territories. April 12,1988 Gitwangak Chief, Glen Wil l iams, is the first aboriginal in B C charged with holding a bingo on reserve without a permit. September 1988 Westar begins to build a bridge over the Babine River at Sam Green Creek. A blockade is set up to stop the bridge building. Gitxsan go to court and win an injunction against Westar, who is told to halt the bridge building while Delgamuukw is in court. 1989 Gitxsan chiefs continuously protest unauthorized logging in their territories. 1990 Gitwangak chiefs blockade the bridge over the Skeena and the highway into the Gitwangak Valley. The C P R train is stopped at Gitwangak to bring attention to continued failure of C P R to discuss the 1911 land expropriation. Road to Kitwancool is blocked to protest continued logging. B C Premier B i l l Vander Zalm visits Kitwancool to speak about land issues, and continues to deny participation in land claims. Gitwangak mil l is taken over for three days to protest logging while court case is unsettled. B i l l Vander Zalm announces the establishment of a Ministry of Native Affairs and an Office for Land Claims. B C , for the first time in history, agrees to begin negotiations over land claims, but again without any recognition of aboriginal title. March 8,1991 Delgamuukw v. Queen is decided in favor of the B C government by Chief Justice A l l an McEachern. He describes aboriginal life as "nasty, brutish and short" and announces that aboriginal title, i f it ever existed, was extinguished in 1858. Academics and media commentary express shock at the Reasons for Judgment. April 1991 Gitxsan Chiefs appeal McEachera's decision. 1992 Gitxsan go to B C Court of Appeal. June 25,1993 B C Court of Appeal rules against McEachern and declare that aboriginal rights were not extinguished in B C . The Gitxsan wi l l appeal the case further in the Supreme Court of Canada. The B C Treaty Commission was established to mediate treaty talks. 229 1994 The Gitxsan set aside their appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in favour of Treaty negotiations with B C and Canada. They enter into the B C Treaty Commission process. 1996 B C walks away from the Gitxsan treaty table, declaring "irreconcilable differences". The Gitxsan resume their Delgamuukw case in the Supreme Court of Canada. December 11,1997 The landmark decision was handed down in the Supreme Court of Canada in favor of Delgamuukw. Supreme Court of Canada orders a retrial to deal with Gitxsan Title. 230 APPENDIX F Residential Schools Timeline Indian Residential Schools in Canada Historical Chronology The chronology reproduced in our info kits for the Mar 20th special event is one published at events.html. 1620-1680 In New France the first boarding school arrangements are made for Indian Youth by the Recollets, a French order, and later the Jesuits. B y 1680 the New France experiment of educating Indian children in residential establishments is terminated. 1820s-40s Early church schools run by Protestants, Catholics, Anglicans, and Methodists established. 1847 Egerton Ryerson's study of Native education, undertaken at the request of the Assistant Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, under the Imperial Government, became the model for future Indian Residential Schools (IRS). Ryerson recommended that the schools provide domestic education, religious instruction for the Indian, for "nothing can be done to improve and elevate his character and condition without the aid of religious feeling..." The recommended focus was on agricultural training; and the government would control the schools only through inspections of them, reports from them and grants to them on the basis of the inspections and reports. 1848-51 The Department of Indian Affairs (DIA), under the Imperial Government, plan to allot private property to encourage Indians in industry was rejected by band councils, but bands were very supportive of education and new schools were established. 1856 A shift in Imperial Government policy towards assimilation through education begins. D I A began to refine its approach in the growing belief that adult Indians could not be changed, resulting in an emphasis upon educating children. 1860 Responsibility for Indian Affairs transferred from imperial government to the Province of Canada. 231 1860s-70s Disappearance of the buffalo forced changes in prairie west; Plains Indians sought knowledge of agriculture and requested schools as part of the treaties that set up reserves for them. 1867 With the enactment of the British North American Act , Indian Education becomes federal responsibility. Indian Day Schools are set up in accordance with Treaty provisions of the 1850's. 1876 First Indian A c t gives authority to Minister of D I A to control Indian Education. 1879 Nicholas Flood Davin, Conservative M . P . , was sent to the U S in January to study the Indian education system and report on its appropriateness as a model for the Northwest Territories (NWT) . Davin recommended that four denominational industrial boarding schools be established in the N W T so that Indian children could learn Christian morality and work habits away from the influences of the home. Wi th its numerous recommendations, Davin's report had an important influence in shaping the early residential school system. Existing Mission schools would become feeder schools for the larger government run Industrial schools that would enrol students at the approximate age of 14. Industrial schools taught Indian students trades. 1884 The Indian Act was amended to allow regulations to be made regarding, among other things, compulsory attendance for those status Indians under the age of 16 until they reached 18 years of age in Indian schools. 1895 Deputy Secretary General of Indian Affairs (DSGIA) Reed reported in the 1895 annual report that the D I A ' s move away from day schools toward industrial schools off reserve was gradually earning the approval of the Indians of Manitoba, B C and the North-West Territories. 1900 B y this time, only 22 industrial and 34 mission boarding schools were in existence, compared to 225 day schools. L ike the day schools, the boarding schools were located on reserves but had the advantages of ensuring attendance while the parents were away but allowing contact with them when they were on the reserve. 1920 Amendment to Indian Act made attendance mandatory for all children 7-15. Chiefs and band councils are given the right to inspect schools in a further provision of the Indian Act. Term 'residential' replaces 'boarding' and 'industrial' in D I A terminology. 232 1936 The Indian Affairs Branch comes under Department of Mines and Resources; provincial curricula were to be used, with an emphasis on vocational training in residential schools. 1944 The Director of Indian Affairs appeared before the Special Committee on Reconstruction and Re-Establishment to argue for a shift from residential to day schools. 1946 The Anglican Church was conducting its own "investigation into the Indian work of the Church, especially with regard to Residential Schools" The Church committee recommended that youngsters be taught to read and write English, simple Arithmetic, the Geography of their own region, and the history of their own people. 1948 Beginning of era of integration of Native and non-Native schools, which lasted 40 years. 1949 The Director of Education laid out his five year plan for Indian education. He asserted that the churches had "taken the initiative" regarding construction of IRS and that "a new policy must be instituted in which the Department decides on the basis of professional surveys and reports, as to the necessity of erecting this type of school." 1950 A policy statement from the I A B Director in a memorandum to the Deputy Minister noted that attendance at residential schools should be restricted to underprivileged children who have no homes or whose home conditions are undesirable and to children who live in areas where it is not possible for them to attend day schools. 1951 The I A B replaced half-day with full-day instruction; as the old system of residential schools began to disappear and more children began to attend day schools. 1952 The Canadian Home and School and Parent-Teacher Association elected to its National Committee an Indian representative who prepared a "Report on Indian Education" which presented a comparison of the statistics for 1945 and 1951, that showed an increase in the numbers of children being educated. It also noted that the federal government was being more diligent regarding the needs of Aboriginals in Canada. 1956 Regulations for the establishment of school committees were set up and Branch field staff was requested to encourage and assist all Band Councils to develop these committees. In ten years about fifty would form. 233 1957 A memorandum prepared by the Superintendent of Indian Education reviewed the activities of the Education Divis ion for the period 1952-57. The Superintendent noted that during this time residential schools saw an increase of Indian teachers from 42 in 1952 to 81 in 1957. 1957 A memorandum from the Director to the Deputy Minister recommended establishment of a Board of Indian Education made up of representatives of the government, Indians, the churches and the Canadian Education Association. They would meet annually to discuss educational policy and so an opinion could be obtained on new policies before they were launched. 1958 A t the Fourth Conference of Regional Inspectors of Indian Schools, held in Ottawa in A p r i l , it was recommended that the IRS system be demolished, but it was subsequently realized that residential schools were necessary under certain circumstances, and these schools were increasingly playing the role of boarding places. 1958 A memorandum to the Secretary of the Treasury Board sought funding for establishing kindergartens for Indian children 5 years of age. The primary purpose of this new policy was to assist Indian children with the "most formidable handicap that faces" them, the requirement of learning a second language. 1958 Between 1949 and 1958, attendance in IRS had grown by about 50% in this period to over 37000. Only 7330 Indian students attended non-Indian schools but this represented an increase of almost 500%. 1966 A proposal from The Canadian Welfare Council for a study of the residential school system was submitted to the department on A p r i l 4. The study noted that priority in admission to Residential Schools was now given to children where there was family breakdown. 1967 A memorandum from the Director of Education Services to the regional school superintendents made recommendations regarding Indian cultural activities in residential schools. A new programme was to bring half an hour a week of "instruction in some aspect of Indian culture..." 1967 The Department reported that the role of Indian education continues to change as Native people began taking an increasingly active part of in the education of their children via local boards of education. . t ., 234 1968 The Education Branch undertook an extensive survey of textbooks used in both provincial and federal schools across Canada. The provinces cooperated fully with improvement or removal of any texts found "inappropriate." 1969 D I A N D assumed management of residential schools. Day schools and other arrangements replaced residential schools, which become special service only. Parental consent was required for placing children in a residential school and parents were now included on school committees. B y this time, 60% of Indian students were in provincial schools. 1969- 70 Increased consultation with Native people was recommended in a memorandum from the Assistant Deputy Minister ( A D M ) of Indian Consultation and Negotiation to the A D M of Indian and Eskimo Affairs following statements from Native leaders who were critical of the level of participation "in matters affecting their present and future situation," including education. 1970 Blue Quills Residential School is the first of the residential schools to come under the control of First Nations. The N I B calls for the end of federal control of native schooling. 1970- 71 The Department decided to close Indian residences "as soon as it is practical and reasonable to do so." 1971 In the committee's fifth report, known as the Watson Report, The Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development was critical of the Department's efforts regarding education. The report noted that both D I A N D and the provinces were aware of the "inadequacies in the education programs" but their "new awareness has produced many improvements and imaginative innovations." 1971 A five-year program was established for Native Cultural/Education Centers by Cabinet decision in July. Furthermore, bands were becoming more involved in establishing education centers; one example is the Old Sun campus founded by the Blackfoot. 1973 Control of the Indian education program is given to Band Councils and Indian education committees. The department would train Native people to administer schools and consent was required by Native people before any shift from the federal to the provincial educational system was made. Furthermore, Native Cultural/Educational Center 235 Programs would continue, a revision of curricula to meet requirements of Native students would ensue, and a higher emphasis on post-secondary education would be put in place. 1973 The Department had been supporting training programs for Native teachers but the number of Native teachers was still too low to meet the demand. In recognition of this difficulty, the Department required that non-Native teachers "take courses in inter-cultural education so as to increase their understanding of the Indian child..." A l l teachers were expected to have completed these courses by 1975. 1973-74 Cultural identity would be strengthened as more and more Native people became involved as staff in many different roles in the educational system. B y 1974, over 34% of staff had Indian status. 1975 A D I A N D publication reported that 174 federal and 34 provincial schools had language programs in 23 Native languages. 1975 In October, a provincial Task Force on the Educational Needs of Native Peoples heard many recommendations from Native representatives that reiterated the goals of training for Native teachers, increased language and cultural programs and improved funding for Native control of education. 1979 Only 15 IRS still operating. The Department undertook a "major Education evaluation." These measures included initiatives in the Regional Offices to increase the involvement of Native people in education and ways to increase the "sensitization of our school principals and teachers on reserves oi" the particular cultural and other needs of Indian students." 1982 A Statement of Policy provided notes that the mandate is to support Indian people in assuring their cultural continuity and development by providing Indian youth with the knowledge, attitudes and life skills necessary to become self-sufficient and contributing members of society. The Departmental objective for this policy was to "ensure quality education through Indian control." 1989 Allegations of sexual abuse of non-native orphans by Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland are made public and pave the way for litigation for residential school victims. 236 1991 Public awareness on the issue of abuse grew in the early 1990s. One result was the First Canadian Conference on Residential Schools, held in Vancouver on June 18-21. According to a press line written for the purpose, the key points in the government's response on the issue of abuse in residential schools included "mention [of] the personal impact of the issue and the assimilation, loss of culture and familial disruption which resulted from the residential school system..." However, it was stressed that past government policies cannot be undone - D I A N D policies now support Indian self-government as well as Indian control over their own schools..." 1991 The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate offer an apology to the First Nations peoples of Canada. 1993 7 IRS operating: 6 under band control and 1 by D I A N D at First Nation's request. 1993 In a message from the Primate to the National Native Convocation, the Anglican Church of Canada offers an apology to the First Nations peoples of Canada. 1994 The Presbyterian Church offers a confession to First Nations peoples of Canada. 1996 The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples ( R C A P ) issues its final report in November. The five volume, 4,000 page report covers a vast range of issues and its 440 recommendations call for sweeping changes to the relationship between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people and governments in Canada. There is an entire chapter dealing with residential schools. 1996 The last federally run residential school, the Gordon Residential School, closes in Saskatchewan. 1998, January 7 The Honourable Jane Stewart and the Honourable Ralph Goodale unveil Gathering Strength Canada's Aboriginal Act ion Plan, which is a long-term, broad based policy approach in response to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. It includes the Statement of Reconciliation: Learning from the Past, in which the Government of Canada recognizes and apologizes to those who experienced physical and sexual abuse at Indian Residential Schools and acknowledged its role in the development and administration of residential schools. 237 1998 St. Michael 's Indian Residential Schools becomes the last band run school to close. 1998 The United Church's General Council Executive offers a second apology to the First Nations peoples of Canada for the abuse incurred at Residential Schools. Litigation naming the Government of Canada and major Church denominations grows from several hundred to 7,500. 2004 Canada and the United Church of Canada hosted an Apology Feast in Gitanmaaxs, B C on Saturday, March 20, 2004. Although it was hosted by Canada and the United Church, they opted to use a Gitxsan venue: the Gitxsan Feast. Simultaneously, Gitxsan extended families of the 25 survivors who completed the alternate dispute resolution pilot project were formally welcomed back into Gitxsan Society. 


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