Lil’wat Nation celebrates water

On September 1, 2022, Lil’wat Health and Healing proudly presented this continuation video of the community’s water celebration.

It starts with Kúkwpi7 Gélpcal, Lil’wat’s Cultural Chief, sharing that a celebration of water starts with thankfulness, gratefulness. Every family is precious, and they’re all here because of water. Water is responsible for everything. Water can also be an offering – an offering of thanks to a tree or plant you might harvest from.

This video was released after what has been called “a silent drought” here – a dry summer, where the preciousness of water has been more notable than ever. And it’s wonderful to hear the voices and see the faces of so many people in the community, and realize how inter-related and inter-dependent we are, on each other, on our choices, on the way we treat the lands and water.

If we want to, as settlers, live in right relation, or practice reconciliation, or even feel as if we are “Lil’wat”, people of the Lil’wat territory, (or St’at’imc, for those living out N’Quatqua way or down the lake), I think one path to that is to respect the “true Lil’wat”, the “Lil’wat7ul”, and to align the way we live with the values of the Lil’wat7ul – the values of taking only what you need from the land – K̓ úl̓tsam̓, and respecting the land as a living thing. Respect. Xzums.

When I spend time in Whistler, I often feel curious about the charge that comes with the word “local.” It’s a claim people make, it confers a certain status or benefit, it’s contentious. I often wonder: what is your obligation, what comes with that claim? Do you have to make any kind of contribution, to call yourself a “local”, or do you just have to hang on, despite the challenges of living there? Is it only about entitlement, being a local? or is it about responsibility? A responsibility to re-orient towards being stewards, and to understand the ways of this land, and the culture that great out of it, and with it, since time before memory.

What if becoming local meant acknowledging the territory you’re on, learning at least a greeting and the word for thank you, in the language of the people of the land, and practicing some of the key values of the culture of the place?

These are some of the thoughts that flowed for me, when I watched this video.

Check it out. It’s beautiful.

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