Xólhmet te mexw’
stám ít kwelát.
“This is our land.
We have to take care of everything
that belongs to us.”
“Spirit, Life Force”
"… us Salish, we are one with the earth, we’re one with the land, we’re one with the trees and animals. … everything is related. They’re our brothers and our sisters, and we have to respect that. We have to look after that."
For millennia, everything the Stó:lō have used to make creative works have originated from the bounty in Stó:lō Téméxw – the territory that they have occupied since time immemorial. Historically, wool for swôqw’elh came from mountain goats (now, sheep’s wool is used). Today, bird and animal parts continue to be used for drums, rattles, adornments, and spiritual purposes; dyes and paint for wool, baskets, and carvings are provided by plants and earth pigments, like ochre.
The Stó:lō look at these elements not only as resources, but as relations and ancestors that contain shxwelí (spirits, life force). Because of this, everything must be respected, acknowledged, honoured, and thanked. These relationships are strengthened when items are collected with the right mind and heart, and in turn, these things continue to flourish in Stó:lō Téméxw.