Abstract

(This is the abstract for Julie Cajune’s teaching unit, “Sxwiwis – The Journey.”)

This learning exploration involves four episodic themes of study:

  • The Salish World
  • Our World
  • Two Worlds Meet
  • Selling the Salish World

The first episode, The Salish World, examines the cultural geography of Salish homelands through written text, film, photographs, place names, and maps. Students get a glimpse into an intimate and old tribal world where land was home. Details of relationship and dependence between the Salish and their territory chronicle that land was their church, store, hospital, and refuge – land was everything. Many of the place names and related stories are part of the Salish Creation story, what are commonly referred to today as “Coyote Stories.” It is the Salish and Pend d’Oreille tradition of taking these stories out after the first snowfall and then putting them away with the first thunder. In following this cultural protocol for winter storytelling, you honor the Salish and Pend d’Oreille people and their history. These place names are part of our people’s collective memory. They have been lovingly saved by members of my community and shared generously and graciously for the generations to come.

The second episode, Our World, invites students to explore personal relationships with place through essays, poems, personal memoir, and field trips to a specific site. Individual and tribal narratives of affection and attachment to place are utilized as anchor texts and inspiration for personal reflection.

The third episode, Two Worlds Meet, analyzes accounts of the Lewis and Clark Expedition entering Salish homelands through film and primary source materials. Cultural protocols of Salish hospitality are explored through the Salish response to the Expedition. This example is utilized as a springboard for students to examine cultural protocols of hospitality within their family, school, and country.

The fourth and final episode, Selling the Salish World, looks at intent and consequences during this historic period and into the present. Diverse perspectives of this history are juxtaposed for student analysis. Concluding activities involve contemporary tribal thoughts and feelings about the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the continuing legacy of American Indians.

Before beginning the learning journey with your students, please review all of the materials including text, film, audio, and image files. It will be important for you to facilitate interpretation of these resources and provide scaffolding for students.