Of Christmas Trees and Hemp

Consider the lowly Christmas tree, a symbol of a people and its relationship to the Earth. Here’s Mission Hill Winery at Tsinstikeptum, courtesy of “Do the Okanagan.”

There are many ways to “do” something. You could enact something, but that’s not enacting the Okanagan, which looks like this:

So, I guess it’s another meaning of “do” here. You could execute something, commit a crime, or do something honour. Perhaps it’s honour? Here, let’s ask the Okanagan:

Canim Bay

With all those weeds growing there, it does look a little done, in fact, so maybe “I’m exhausted” is the one, as in, “You know, I’m done.” Still, “honour” and sagebrush kept from burning far too long might not be a good pair. No matter. Down at Canim Bay, without fanfare or crowds, passed daily by hundreds, peed on by dogs big and small, the Indian Hemp is growing.


This is the signature plant of the Okanagan. This is the source of weaving fibre, by which all people, human and otherwise, are woven into the fabric of the Earth. This is the one that takes hurt wet land and turns it into wealth. This is the one from here. I hope you have a chance this solstice to thank Dogbane before trying to weave your Christmas tree into her story. I’m sure she’d appreciate showing you the ropes.

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