Looking for alternatives to Canada Day this year? Marilyn James elder and smum iem Sinixt matriarch has five suggestions.
1. Go to the water
As James often says, “We are all just big bags of water walking around. When we connect with water, we are connecting with ourselves”, the post reads.
“The water is red on the Sinixt map of the təmxʷúlaʔxʷ because water is the blood of all life. Thank the water, spend time with the water, think about the importance of water in sustaining all life and what you can do to protect it for future generations.”
2. Spend some time on decolonization
Recommendations include the Decolonize First Workbook by Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee as well as the free resource Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization which contains essays by Arthur Manuel, Taiaiake Alfred, Glen Coulthard, Russell Diabo, Beverly Jacobs, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Kanahus Manuel, Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour, Pamela Palmater, Shiri Pasternak, Nicole Schabus, Senator Murray Sinclair, and Sharon Venne.
3. Do nothing to celebrate colonialism
“Instead, contemplate what actions you can take to come into right relationship with Sinixt təmxʷúlaʔxʷ (territory), water, and other beings in the təmxʷúlaʔxʷ. Spend time with family. Spend time being in gratitude; there is always something to be grateful for. One suggestion is to fill one pocket with small items (perhaps those pennies you don’t know what else to do with). Then, every time you feel dissatisfied, move one penny from your pocket. Notice how many times you think about dissatisfaction over gratitude. Decolonization is tough work. Everyone has been colonized, settler and Indigenous alike, so we need to focus on things we can feel grateful for, even while doing the hard work of decolonization.”
4. Learn more about Sinixt
Listen to Sinixt elder Eva Orr’s story of gratitude and survival.
“Read and listen to the stories in Not Extinct and learn more about the land in which you live. It is alive with stories that have meaning for all of us in the təmxʷúlaʔxʷ.”
Read Paula Pryce’s Keeping the Lakes’ Way, which is available at the library.
Look at a map, learn more about the Indigenous lands you live on.
5. Have conversations with friends and family
What actions can you take to work towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples?