Xwayólem

"It was shared with me from my mother and my grandmother, and other Elders… [that] everybody has a purpose in the family, in the community – everybody has their gift to contribute. Some are carvers, some are weavers, some are fishermen, hunters. …if we all had the same gifts we wouldn’t have to rely on one another. But, with everybody having a different gift, we need each other to be able to live as a community, as a family."

 

– Xótxwes qas kayse’me

Often, individuals, usually children, are drawn to, and exhibit special skills in creating certain creative works. Once recognised, these gifts are encouraged and nurtured. Elders, Knowledge Keepers, family members, and other creatives act as teachers

to strengthen the skills that individuals have. This traditional knowledge is taught within families and passed between individuals, who have themselves attained this knowledge through years of training, mentorship, and experience. In addition to practical skills, such as how to physically carve or weave, students are taught how to maintain the spiritual relationships that accompany these skills. Individuals are born with these creative gifts and have a responsibility to care for them.

"…back in the day, the grandchildren were given to the grandparents to raise. ... the Elders were the ones that would see the gift that each child had. [they] honed it and brought it out …. Gave [the child] the tools to pursue them on their trail with their gift."

– E’yies’lek

"Gifts one makes use of"