Some time has passed since we have been able to share one of our updates. Beyon has been in Standing Rock and Wulf has been continuing work on the project while fighting demoviction from their home and spending time with the children in their life. Today we have some time though and are happy to be sharing our work from back in July/August when we visited Wet'suwet'en Territories to spend time at Unist'ot'en and with Molly and Cody Wickham on Gitemden lands. You can check out our orginal update and learn more about our project on our blog, Voices: Indigenous Women on the Front Lines Speak.
You can also support our project as well as the work of Indigenous Women and Two-Spirit Land Defenders in so-called bc directly by purchasing screan-printed shirts, paintings, weaving and photography from our online store. <3
<3 wulfgang and beyon
Time does not make its way through our lives in a linear movement and so we begin our updates with the winding down of the work on the Youth Art Mural. The mural painting was part of the Unist’ot’en’s first Youth Art Camp and we took a rare quiet opportunity to visit Molly Wickham and her family at their home on Gitemden Territory.
The territories of the Gitemden Clan of the Wet’suwet’en are located next to that of the Unist’ot’en’s unceded Yintah of Talbits Kwa. Past sprawling lakes, fields of wild medicines, tangles of berries and painful clear-cuts we made our way to Lhudis Bin, meaning “The Lake Way Out There,” where Molly and her partner Cody with their two kids, Liam and Lily, have made their home at the request of their Elders.
Lhudis Bin, the lake way out there, is located at the center of the Casyex House Territory, the Grizzly Bear House. It is a place where the Elders and the Ancestors once lived, where the earth hides caches and the hills grow medicine, the lake is home to Chard and the lands nourish Bear, Moose, Dear and Coyote. The waters of this lake are fed by the Nanika river, where Molly and her family get their drinking water from, which flows from the glacier of nearby Nanika Mountain. Nanika Mountain holds within her mineral deposits at risk of industrial extraction. If Nanika mountain were to be mined it would turn Lhudis Bin into a tailings pond. (The term “pond” can be a little misleading, as the structures can grow to be the size of Central Park.) Lhudis Bin is connected to Wetzin Bin, which drains into Wetzin’kwa, where Freda and everyone at the Unist’ot’en camp get their drinking water, which is connected to the Bulkley and eventually to the Skeena and on to the sea.
Molly, Cody and their son Liam began living on their territory and in close relationship to the land as defenders and caretakers in 2012. This has ensured that a proposed ‘sling site’, where materials and workers for the proposed pipelines on Unist’ot’en territory would be brought in, has not been established. Returning to their territory has not only created the possibility for the land to heal from years of colonial devastation through logging it has also made it possible for the growth of the Life School.
The Life School is an initiative of grass roots Indigenous families raising their children decolonized, in relationship to the land, and learning their own histories of resistance instead of the assimilation fed to youth in colonial public education institutions. Seasonally these families come together to offer support to one another, share skills, put away food and connect their children with other kids like them.
“Really we’re just living Indigenous lives, we’re living an Indigenous existence and that’s the education that we want to be giving our kids. We want to be able to be out on the land with our kids and teaching them in an experiential way according to our own tradition.” -Molly Wickham
If you are interested in supporting Molly and the Life School’s work they are always in need of both monetary donations, assistance with grants, and support approaching businesses for in kind donations in order to make their seasonal gatherings possible.
You can learn more about their work at the Cedars R.I.S.E Society.
Donations and offers of support can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
And cheques can be sent via snail mail to Box 3664 Smithers BC V0J 2N0
If you have questions feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
xo beyon and wulfgang <3