We should be proud to share our stories

I’m very happy and privileged to be sharing my knowledge of weaving tumpline on homemade weaving looms

Editor:

I’m a 77-year-old Wet’suwet’en woman, hereditary chief, one of the Bear Clan.

I’m very happy and privileged to be sharing my knowledge of weaving tumpline on homemade weaving looms. The eight different nations that participated in my latest workshop [held at the College of New Caledonia] were from Granisle, Smithers, Moricetown and from across Francois Lake. They were so happy and amazed of the different colourful yarn created by their own. The homemade looms and spindles were given to them to keep protecting and passed on to their students.

The tumpline was used by all our ancestors within their territories. Packing babies on their backs. Baby swings. It was used in resource off their territories by hunting, fishing, berry picking, it never ever breaks. When our ancestors passed on it went with them. I picked it up by memorization and doing tumpline weaving for years. This is the very first time I offered to teach in public. It was exciting. It is very sacred to us, made by our ancestors.

They lived a peaceful life. There was no divisions at all. They took time to visit one another and shared what they had, told stories of their territories. They loved and respected one another. I feel there is very little ancestors left within different nations within Burns Lake area.

We should all start sharing our knowledge to our younger generations. We have our own language, historic of our own ancestors. Our very own laws within our culture. We come from our ancestors, we should be proud to share our histories and laws within Burns Lake. Our own system without any politics, it was just beautiful and appreciated the time we had together over the week and there was singing by paddles (no drums) that sounded so soft, entertaining. Everyone went home happy.

There was a beautiful couple that came in to look at our tumpline. There was a lot of phone calls on the last day but we already had full registration. Hopefully we’ll have another one and like I said there is some knowledgeable older from other nations within Burns Lake.

Sincerely,

Rita George