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.
Hands Back, Hands Forward: Expanding the Circle of Indigenous Storyworkers.
Occasional Paper Series,