The Syilx People feel a deep connection with the land around them, their relatives the animals and the trees, rocks and all living things that share the environment. Our native nsyilxcen language grew out of our relationship with the land and the natural resources that surround us.
Our traditional stories reflect this deep conncection and help us pass down cultural, spiritual and historical knowledge through generations.
In our histories we are told 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. Understanding the living land and teaching each generation how to become a “part of it” is the only way we, the Syilx, have survived.
The Okanagan word which most closely translates to “ecology” is “tmiXw”. TmiXw includes everything alive – the land, water, insects, people, animals, plants, medicines. Underneath all of the tmiXw is “tmXwUl’A/Xw” which is the core spirit from which all of creation arises and which unites everything. It is the Okanagan word for the land. Okanagan laws all lead back, through the skc’xwiplA/ which disciplines the people, taught and exercised through the st]tA]t, to the core spirit shared by all living things “tmXwUl’A/Xw”.