by Glenn C. Jim –

In my last column I mentioned the understanding of the land when it “tells” us to do something and to follow the traditional teachings of respecting our lands and taking care of our TETÁĆES (relatives of the deep). Today, I would like to share our understanding of the W̱SÁNEĆ seasons.

As I look out my window while writing this column, I see the seasons change in front of me. The leaves have transformed to their beautiful colours and the strong southeasterly winds and accompanying heavy rains bring them to the ground. This is W̱JEL, ȻÁ SEN, – the moon of putting your paddle away for the bad weather (November). W̱JEL, ȻÁ SEN, tells us it is time to put our paddles away and give thanks for the travelling, the hunting, fishing and visiting done in the past year. There would be time now for stories and traditional teachings to be shared around the longhouses. This was also the time to prepare for the upcoming harsh winter months.

There are 13 moons in the W̱SÁNEĆ calendar; their names describe what takes place in the seasonal cycle of our environment. The 13-moon calendar tells which activities are or should take place, which salmon are migrating and where they are moving and so much more.

If one were to study the calendar, subtle changes are taking place now that don’t align anymore with the traditional calendar as the seasons are affected by global climate anomalies. This type of cultural knowledge and drastic change is probably even more evident in northern B.C. and in the lands of the Inuit.

HÍ,SW̱ḴE (thank you) for the positive feedback from my inaugural ÁLEṈENEC column. There were a few requests for phonetic spelling for easier pronunciation. I found it difficult to combine multiple consonants together to express a non-English sound without losing the integrity of the word. It’s challenging to express SENCOŦEN without it becoming anglicized; unfortunately there are no shortcuts. Visit www.firstvoices.com to hear audio of the SENĆOŦEN letters, words and phrases.

HÍ,ÁȻA is the SENCOŦEN phrase for “goodbye”, “go if you must”; implying we will see each other again.


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