JESINTEL: Learn & Grow Together

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Ernestine Genshaw

With love and respect for Coast Salish elders and spiritual leaders, we endeavor to share their lives in a book & via social media.

The stories of suffering, resilience and ultimately joy are found in the Coast Salish lifeway, our She’lang’en. Our teachings are highly specific to our Salish culture and location, and yet at the same time, relevant to a developing, outward facing global understanding of earth indigenousness, consisting of relationships and responsibilities. 

As taught to them by the old people, everybody carries a certain gift. These gifts are to be passed to the next generation. This work is a call to remember, a reminder of the responsibilities we have towards one another. 

In this work, there’s a sacred obligation to respect the gifts of our elders. The ancestor’s wisdom is remembered through their lives. Their spiritual connection comes from being in touch with our past, with the earth, the water, and the people.

As a people whose territory and relations are intersected by an international border between superpowers, our work demonstrates the continued existence of the Coast and Straits Salish jurisdictional community, and the importance of maintaining relations across this border location and despite the historical interference. 

As a people whose ancestors, belongings, and territory have been taken, exhibited, and occupied through the process of colonial settlement, our work is only for ourselves, but also for the broader society, our brothers and sisters who wish to learn. 

Our vision is to share, straight from the heart, these teachings.  With a combination of narrative, photography, and elements of design, this work conveys an essence of humanity through ancestral teachings on place, matrilineal law, natural law, the power of the giveaway, resiliency, and pursuit of spirit.  By sharing our cultural teachings, readers will experience some of the transformational power of our traditions.