Netsnetseol means “one at a time.” In SENĆOŦEN it is written as :
In Sḵwx̱wu7mesh it is said/written as:
I don’t really remember why I chose the name for this blog. But, I know it’s hard to take things one thing at a time. I’ve worked very hard throughout my life to help my mind focus on one thing at a time.
How that manifests and what it really means for me, is a confusing thing.
Right now, I realize that I am choosing to focus on language revitalization in my career. I’ve done and am doing a lot of things that are quite hard to define. Language revitalization is really easy to define and say, “This is what I’m doing.”
I don’t like being called an artist, because I don’t find myself expressing creatively in the definition that things come from me as an inspired place in my heart. Rather, I dig deep into problems in search of solutions. Or, I dig deep into feelings and try to find what need (whether emotional or mundane) they’re actually wishing to have fulfilled in their distress.
When you spend your life thinking that way, you’re open to all the possibilities and then you boil it down to that “one” desire, need, or goal. I think there’s a fullness to “one” that is hard to describe, but if I were to attempt to (over?)simplify what I mean. This. I’ve sought solutions to conundrums through looking at the big picture. And, now, I’m trying to look at the small picture. To take things step by step. Day by day. Because that’s where the work gets done.
Example, if I feel like the people I’m working with in doing language revitalization work need a mansion (or dare I say longhouse) sized home in which everyone lives and works together and are speaking the language but I don’t do any work to make that a reality. If I’m just dreaming big ideas and not focusing on it every day, what good is that solution?
There are a lot of struggles within my community. And, I believe language revitalization will help solve A LOT of them. It could actually obliterate things like abuse, suicide, violence, mental and physical illness etc. And, I know that revitalizing language revitalizes our culture. And, I know that the daily rituals. The daily work. Is actually what’s going to make all of that a reality.
So, I saw the big picture of high suicide rates, high unemployment, high rates of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, physical illnesses like diabetes and cancer. As a kid I just wanted to be a super awesome celebrity, because I knew Indigenous kids could really use a role model to look up to, to inspire them to believe they could know their own greatness. So I thought sports, or modelling would be a great idea. As a teenager I started going to counselling, and realized people really need that so I wanted to become a counsellor. I saw that women were not treated with respect like my teachings taught me we should be, and that reclaiming birth ceremonies could be immensely powerful for our future generations. To bring life into the world in an extremely loving way could heal women of today and ensure children don’t have to struggle the way we all do and have for decades since colonization – so I wanted to become a midwife. I recognized that the concept of family has been very damaged by colonial education systems, so I thought I should be a homeschooling parent. I saw people could really benefit from energy healing, so I considered many possible ways of healing peoples’ energy (still not off the shelf). I realized we have a lot of unhealthy foods, so becoming a nutritionist would for sure be my way of helping my people. And then upon that realized we actually really need to reclaim our traditional diets. And upon that realized it would be a challenge to feel like you’re honouring the land if the foods and medicine places for harvest are either paved over, or low in abundance, that we could learn to grow our Indigenous food systems in our own backyard.
And, I can honestly say I’ve touched on a lot of the work I’ve listed above, in my own way. But, I’m allowing myself to trust that if I focus on the one thing – language revitalization – that all the other things will fall into place. I even trust that all of those roles (inspirational motivator, counsellor, birth worker, healer, nutritionist, plant gatherer extraordinaire) don’t have to be sacrificed. And each role will arise when needed. No part of me needs be sacrificed. And, when you’re a mom you have to be all things anyway, right? 😉