In our histories we are told that the creator sent Senklip (Coyote), to help our people survive on this land. Coyote’s travels are a record of the natural laws necessary for our Syilx people to survive and essential to our ability to carry on. We were not born with the instincts to know how to live in nature’s laws, instead we are given memory to remind us of what we could and could not be doing. Understanding the living land and teaching our young generations how to become a ‘part of it’ is the only way we, the Syilx, have survived. (Okanagan First Peoples)
The Syilx people have always governed our land accordingly to principles that are embedded in traditional knowledge, stories, teachings, ceremonies, and the arts. These principles carry with them a sacred, inherent responsibility to care for the tmxʷulaxʷ, the land.
The nsyilxcen word commonly used to refer to all living things is tmixʷ. Tmixʷ includes everything alive – the land, water, animals, people, plants, and so on. The Syilx concept of land encompasses more than the physical geography of place, it includes the spiritual connections of everything living on and within it. The Syilx language, nsyilxcen, and the captikwł transmit knowledge about natural laws and what people need to learn in order to survive on the land.