These are tricky days to ask “how are you?” I mean, what will be unleashed? How can we share the fullness of how we’re doing, 6 months into experiencing a global pandemic and all that has been bundled up with that.
That’s why I love that Lisa Sambo has carefully chosen a greeting that she can offer with all her heart:
“It’s good to see you”.
This, in Ucwalmictws, across your chest, means many things.
I won’t tell you what it means for you. Or interpret what it might mean to someone else.
I’ll just say that when I ordered my shirt, I did so because I wanted to express to someone: I want you to feel safe to be yourself, and will endeavour to honour you, your story, your culture, your sovereignty, to the very best of my ability. And I’ll keep working and learning and unlearning and listening in order to expand that ability.
Also, I am saying: I’m going to try my best to shape these sounds, I will not walk away because it’s too hard and strange for my mouth. I will practice. I will listen. One word at a time. Because I acknowledge that the people, the land and the language are one. That what you do to one, you do to all. And I want to contribute to the health and wholeness of the land, because I have the chance to make my home here. And so that means I also am called to champion the people and the language, too.
That’s what’s in the heart, beating beneath the fabric, bearing the words. For me.
There is more about this project in this post, and next week, we’ll share more of Lisa’s story… but in the meantime, go browse at the store and select your shirt, and colours. There’s a huge range of options.
If you are N’Quatqua, the shirts are free. Reach out to Lisa directly. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sambo initiated this project because: “Our languages are our identity. As Indigenous people, our languages are fundamental to who we are. They connect us with our history, where we come from and how we view the world.”
One of the ways that the First Peoples Cultural Council encourages language revitalization is to Learn a traditional greeting in your language and use it with everyone you meet. So, galvanized by this, the N’Quatqua Child and Family Development Centre decided to support this by providing one free t-shirt to N’Quatqua Community Members with:
áma s7at̓sxentsína ( it’s good to see you ) written on the front of the t-shirt.
To learn more about how to pronounce the greeting, you can:
– ask a St̓át̓imcets speaker or language champion for help
– visit firstvoices.com or download the FirstVoices app ( Lil’wat or Upper St’at’imc ) to hear the pronunciation of the greeting.
A few technical tips for N’Quatqua members requesting your free shirt:
It would be great if you could order all t-shirts for one house at the same time. They will all be put in a bag. This will make it easy when the shipment arrives @ NCFDC. (One exception is, if 2 youths in your house would both like a white cotton shirt with black ink. It won’t allow this. You will need to do a separate order.)
Please put your mailing address in the billing address section. Then, if you live in the area select the shipping depot and click on N’Quatqua Child and Family Development Centre. It will be free shipping.
If you live off-reserve you have 2 options.
1) your free shirt gets shipped for free to NCFDC. you pick it up or arrange for someone else to pick it up for you 2) you pay for shipping & it is sent to you
If you can help a friend or a child or an elder to order their shirt, because you’re tech-savvy, and have internet access, please do that, and ease the burden on Lisa!
For friends and allies, this is a time limited opportunity. Because inclusion is at the heart of this initiative, as many people as possible are invited to order a t-shirt.