Culture Saves Lives acknowledges and recognizes the traditional unceded territories of the Coast Salish people.
Since before memory of time, many Nations lived on the West Coast of Turtle Island as stewards of the land, fresh water, and sea . In the territory and surrounding land of what today is known as Vancouver, the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueaum) People of the River Grass; Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) Salmon Peoples of the cedar longhouse; Tsliel-Waututh People; and many other Coast Salish Nations lived and continue to live alongside one another. The Peoples were skilled hunters, fishers, wood carvers, and weavers and continue to carry the wisdom of these ways. The languages, practices, and spiritual beliefs at the centre of these ways were and are diverse among Peoples. Integral to the cycle of life, traditions and ceremonies acted and continue as the roots of social, economic, and political processes.
First Nations cultures share the belief Creator made the Earth, Moon, Sky, its Plants, Trees, and Beings, revere Elders as keepers of wisdom and knowledge, and place Children at the centre of communities’ activities to ensure the promotion of welfare for the next generations of life. Story and song, carried from generation to generation, animate the Spirit of the Earth, its Creatures, and People to share wisdom of history, purpose, place, and ways of being and relating to one another and the land.
In past times, food was abundant for all, the land offered medicine for sicknesses, and people lived in healthy ways. In return, Nations cared for all people, Grandmother Earth, and Her four-leggeds and wingeds and lived in support of community giving thanks to Creator for His generosity.
Every Nation suffered devastating losses in the last 200 years; despite this, cultural roots run deep and anchor Coast Salish Peoples to the land, giving strength to Nations as they rebuild their communities; restore, in sovereignty, their ways; and thrive. Many peoples of the First Nations, including the Culture Saves Lives campaign, extend open invitations for peoples of diverse heritage and culture to stand alongside First Nations Peoples to restore the natural abundance of Grandmother Earth and care for all people and all four-leggeds and wingeds for the sake of all children and our future generations. First Nations people have never abdicated their responsibilities as stewards of the land and water and strive to see a future where all people work together to care for and heal this traditional territory.
“It is up to each of us to take our place on the medicine wheel” – Chief Fraser Andrew
References and Where to Find More Information
First Nations Websites