First Peoples

Wild Humans, Tame Horses, Brother Deer

In some ways of thinking, it’s not just humans who are persons. In ways that have worked well during the greater part of the life of our species on this planet, this is a person, too:

Getting a Bite to Eat Before the Sun Goes Down

In Syilx tradition, deer are the brothers and sisters of humans.

These are people, too:

Horse People at the Okanagan Indian Reserve

Relative newcomers to Syilx life on the move across the grass.

Now that the Syilx are no longer seasonally nomadic on the grasslands, their horses are. They are not the only creatures out on the grass, though…

Lone Trees on the Grass

This Douglas fir (background) and ponderosa pine (foreground) live on the grass the way their ancestors have done for thousands of years. These are pretty much the only lone trees left in overgrown grasslands for hundreds of miles, I doubt it’s an accident.

This is no accident either:

Schoolbus Parked at the Shore, Snc’c’amala?tn Early Childhood Development Centre

That lakeshore property can be used for children, and common community values,  speaks of a relaxed attitude towards the relationship between lake, land, and sky, and the belief that none of them are going anywhere.

This kind of respect is obviously still possible in the 21st century. It also looks like this:

Pow Wow Centre, Okanagan Indian Reserve

Anyone watching a pow wow here has the land behind them and is watching the lake and the dancers together.

In settler cultures, such attitudes are relegated to the arts. In Vernon, this leads to the notion that to challenge the commodification of art objects, one need only make them temporary. Tell that to the horses…

The Moment Has Passed but the Image Remains

And the grass, the horses, and the clouds are still there. They, too, are aesthetic moments. Just not human ones. And they would really like to stay.

People, we are not alone.

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