An Indigenous teaching that has guided my life, both professionally and personally, comes from Tsimilano, Elder Dr. Vincent Stogan of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam). 2 He was a leader, teacher, and mentor to many. At the beginning of our gatherings, we often formed a circle. Tsimilano had us hold our left hand out with the palm facing upward to signal the respectful action of reaching back to receive the teachings—knowledge and values—from the ancestors and those who have traveled on our pathway before us. It is our responsibility to think of ways to put these teachings into our everyday actions. He then had us extend our right hand with the palm facing downward to symbolize sharing those teachings with others, particularly the younger generation, which is also an action of reciprocity. We then joined hands in the circle to unite the past, present, and future.

Author Biography

Jo-ann Archibald Q’um Q’um Xiiem, PhD, is a member of the Stó:lō First Nation and has kinship in St’at’imc First Nation in British Columbia. She is professor emeritus in the Faculty of Education, University of British Columba (UBC). Q’um Q’um Xiiem’s scholarship relates to Indigenous knowledge systems, storywork/oral tradition, transformative education at all levels, Indigenous educational history, teacher and graduate education, and Indigenous methodologies. In 2018, Q’um Q’um Xiiem was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her lifelong contributions to advancing Indigenous education in K-12 and post-secondary education through policy, programs, curricula, and research.



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