Last week I attended the opening celebration for an exhibit at the University of Victoria’s “We Carry Our Ancestors” exhibit. The moment I walked in I felt the beautiful energy from the baskets. I could feel all the love that went into making them. Dr. Lorna Williams was there and shared some words of thanks to the people who contributed to the exhibit and shared some Lil’wat knowledge of baskets, and the trees. She has generously loaned her family’s baskets to the exhibit, including this tsepalín.
I went back and had some quiet time with the baskets and watched the two videos that were playing of Lorna Williams, and Tiffany Joseph. Below is a photo of a plaque at the exhibit with a bit of a bio on her and a story.
She said that the trees used to get so big that 30 people could stand around it holding hands and sometimes even then you might not reach all the ways around. Those trees, she said, were like our great great great great grandmothers. I really love that. I remember being told that when we prayed before harvesting Cedar, we would say a prayer offering thanks for letting us borrow her dress. I believe I am who I am because the women in my life, the women who have been in my life, and my ancestors. I am so grateful to be Lil’wat and have been surrounded by so much love and nurturing. I called my mom before I started writing and asked for advice and she told me to hold a bit of cedar. She is so wise and taught me well on lessons of loving Land. I am so grateful to have such a strong mother. I pray more people can feel the love that we do for Cedar. I pray for people to have that relationship with Land. I want to end this by sharing this poem that was up at the exhibit.