I heard elder Saw̓t Veronica Bikadi today explain at Signal Hill Elementary School’s Indigenous Day Assembly that before settlers arrived in the valley, the S’tat’limx peoples didn’t have written calendars. They kept track of time using the sun and the moon.
Tonight is a full moon – one that is sometimes known as the Strawberry Moon. I didn’t get to participate in the classes where students made their own calendars with Ucwalmictws words, so I’m resorting to Google and borrowing from a post in Muskrat magazine about the Ojibwe Nation, wondering if this story is true here, too.
The medicine of the strawberry is reconciliation. It was during this moon cycle that communities usually held their annual feasts, welcoming everyone home, regardless of their differences over the past year, letting go of judgment and/or self righteousness. The strawberry is the first berry to ripen it is thought to be a good medicine for the heart and the teeth.
In Brian Hayden’s 2011 book, A Complex Culture of the British Columbia Plateau: Traditional Stl’atl’imx Resource Use, contributor Nancy Turner affirms that this moon was known as the moon “when strawberries are ripe.”
If anyone can offer a correction, let me know!
Until then, I will be gazing up at the sky and eating strawberries.