First Peoples

Creatures of the Sky and Creatures of the Wind

Stkcxwiɬp beings are so much sky creatures …

stkcxwiɬp, or “Red Willow” in Priest Valley

…that they are only holding onto the earth so their roots can breathe the sky within it, and yet they are holding on, because they can’t live anywhere else. They carry sweet sugar from the sun down to the creatures of that subterranean sky, and exchange them for minerals from the earth, which they lift up into the air and turn into flowers, and fruit, and medicine for birds and moose and humans. This interrelated field of being is called “habitat” and “ecosystem” and “niche.” What an impoverished language for expressing the deep relationships and embedded consciousness of beings who stand at the point of balance between atmospheric and terrestrial skies like the dogwood and, like the wind, move. Stkcxwiɬp is one of the lightning creatures of the sky, but humans and moose are creatures of the wind.

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