The books don't specifically focus on the Okanagon/Okanagan region so I've done just a small amount of digging and already found some great stuff. An Okanagan First Peoples site has a calendar of the Sylix seasons that resonated with me. Why yes, it is "the time of the cold weather", or possibly moving on to "the time of the snow to fall". What a lovely way to engage the yearly cycles and watch for changes around us rather than having an arbitrary date inform us what is supposed to be happening. We look forward to nature walks that highlight the various native plants noted.
The same site has a section that summarizes the role of children in their society and how they learned about their world. Ivy's eyes lit up at the thought of reading about it. Some portion of this will be the jumping off point for discussion tomorrow.
Children are the heart of the Syilx and have always been taught the necessary skills and Syilx laws they needed to learn in order to survive, as soon as they began to understand. They are taught skills such as; fishing, hunting, tanning hides and making baskets to songs, stories, dances and prayers. They are taught that every living thing has a right to be a part of our lives and our community-even if it's role isn't easily understood. They are taught to respect life and all of creation and that disrespect would lead to certain consequences.
Children are not forcibly taught or punished for not understanding, they are taught with patience and only what the teacher thought they needed to learn or were ready for. Harshness was not a method used in teaching children. Learning has always been made to be very easy at first and gradually becoming harder and only as much the child could understand .Therefore, when the children became ready to do the harder things they did so without fear.
Teens and young adults were accompanied by the older family members to become trained by them in a special area. While, the foundation of their training remained the same, only the intensity changed. An example; as children they learned which plants were edible, which ones were not, which ones contained healing properties and when they were in season. As teens and young adults training in medicines, they went back to the same plants and learned when to pick, how to prepare, when to use the plants, why to use them and most importantly when not to use them. They were taught the hundreds of uses for every portion of every plant.
Each youth and young adult was not only trained in a special area but they were also taught the lifestyles and laws of the community at large. They understood that everyone had a role and a responsibility to ensure the survival of themselves as individuals, to their families, their community and even their people as a whole. They were taught to love, honor and respect each other's roles and their own roles and taught the role of children, youth, adults, elders and as a man or a woman. Each Syilx person understood what it meant, to be in the role of a warrior, a teacher, a hunter, a healer, a chief and a singer. Each Syilx person understood what it meant, to be a child, a sibling, a parent, a grandparent, an aunt/ uncle, and a husband or wife.