Word of the week: tmicw (the land)

Natalie Rousseau keeps me grounded. I might be out of step with popular culture or the overculture, but thanks to her wisdom, I always know what astrological season it is, and I can notice what’s happening in the natural world, and because of that, I feel more connected. (Whereas a quick skim of headlines leads to a sense of mental disconnect and confusion, like, what the hell is happening in the world and why do things cost what they cost and how come it’s all getting worse?)

It’s a relief to come back to the body, the blossoms, the elements that are reflected in the cycle of the moons through constellations like Aries (fire), and Taurus (earth) and the steady cycling through cosmic patterns and elemental forces.

We’re in this earth time right now. Natalie says she uses this time to plant something, to walk barefoot or out in the fresh air, to drink teas from flowers and herbs you’ve harvested, to arrange flowers…

I also think of it as an invitation to remember we are the land. Our bodies are landscapes. They’re organic, organisms, elemental. We’re a microbiome living on a macrobiome…

It’s a radical way of thinking for me, disembodied little suburban dweller that I was: To approach land from this place of relatedness.


Radical for me, but not at all radical for the people of the St’at’imc Nations, it seems, who all have a phrase that says: the people and the land are one.

ti tmícwa – means the earth or the land.


And Pala7míntwal̓ i Ucwalmícwa múta7 ti tmicwa means the land and the people are one.

Pala7míntwal̓ is a beautiful word that means “to form one group.” I connect dots here (and stand to be corrected by language speakers), that the people and the land form a wholeness, a unity, a oneness, a kind of family. If you know how to count to ten in Ucwalmicwts, you’ll know that pála7 means one. One thing. One thing are the people and this earth.

In this time of the earth warming, awakening, blossoming, breathing, let’s utter this word as an offering of attention, gratitude, recognition, respect.

tmicw – land, earth, soil (generically)

ti tmícwa – the land/earth (specifically, that is known.)

(Interestingly to me, ti tmícwa means the land/earth that is present or known… it’s kind of an equivalent of a possessive noun, of saying, “mine” or “our”, but that’s not technically what it denotes. The land known to us. Not the land we own.

I hope that my explorations in language can help me decolonize my ways of thinking, and move into a space where things are honoured for their relatedness, their known-ness, and not my dominion over them.

May you know a feeling of oneness with the land, this season. May that felt sense propel us to honour the ancestors of the land, and the people who live here.

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