Monday, December 11, 2017

Of the Land – local indigenous voices: The story of the great flood

June 15, 2016 by Gabriel Underwood, Contributing Writer

Good afternoon, morning. Evening, hello. Today I would like to share with you the WSANEC flood story. It is the story of our territory, our nation’s experience with the great flood.

Many, many years ago, we lived with, shall we say, extravagance. We had plenty of food—that is great wealth, to be fed with lots of great food every day. That is a huge blessing. We lived happily. We lived this way for a while, and we began to forget the teachings of the creator, the words of the creator, XÁLS. We didn’t hold those words to heart anymore. We cast those words aside in our life of self-indulgence.

XÁLS saw our way of self-indulgence and said, “You forget the ways. You are not practicing the ways you should be. You are not living by the good teachings I had given.” XÁLS said, “This hurts me; you have cut my heart. You best prepare yourselves, because my pain is coming your way.”

Of the Land is a column about indigenous issues that appears in every issue of Nexus.

Of the Land is a column about indigenous issues that appears in every issue of Nexus.

A flood. A flood was going to come and sweep us away—the creator’s flood—to punish everyone for not following the good teachings. So everyone did as the creator said: they got in their boats with food and supplies. Just as the creator had said, the flood came. The sea began to dance with the land, leaving nothing but ocean water.

Things weren’t looking good. Aimlessly, the people paddled. After a little while, one said, “Hey, look over there!” Land! A mountaintop. (We can all visit this mountaintop right now; you might know it as John Dean, or Mt. Newton.)Well, they paddled to the top of that mountain and anchored themselves with their ropes to the trees. They had survived the great flood.

“We have emerged from the water to LÁU,WELNEW (place of refuge), and we have been cleaned. We are not who we were. We are a new people. And we shall be known as the WSANEC (the emerging people).”

Greatly did the people, our ancestors, rejoice. They thanked the land; they thanked the creator. They also thanked the trees they anchored to. They wanted to thank the tree, so from then on they remembered the tree, the great arbutus.

Today we can go to the anchor point where the land emerged. And when you do go up there, to John Dean or to Mt. Newton or to LÁU,WELNEW, look at the vast grassland, and just see its vastness and its beauty, and just imagine it full to the brim with the ocean. It is quite a sight; beautiful place up there, it is.

Thank you for listening, reading. Enjoy your day, night, or afternoon.

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