From the moment I was born, my tema (my mom's mom) spoke to me in our nsyilxcen language.
She would tell me bedtime stories that included our senklip (coyote) stories.
These stories shared lessons about why it was so important to listen to your elders. They told us what it was important to share space with all living things and that you never took more than you needed.
Our stories talked about the importance of all beings, even the small, annoying and insignificant ones. Our stories talked about valuing each other and understanding that each being had purpose even if we didn't like them. Even if we disagreed with them. Even if we didn't think like them.
All of our families had roles within our community and took care of different areas. We had a well functioning governing system that built its foundation on trust, respect and faith.
We were able to have trust, respect and faith because the messaging we received as children, told us we were loved and safe, and when we are loved and safe, we are trusting, respectful and have faith in each other.
We are told these stories over and over again by our elders. When you are given the same messaging over and over again, it becomes a part of you and forms the way you think, believe and behave.
For example, if we are told we are worthless and stupid, over and over again. We begin to believe it and it becomes a part of us and it drives the way we think, believe and behave.
When our children approached the age of four years old, they were urged in different ways to find their helper. Once the child found their help, it stayed with them for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes the helpers were animals, sometimes they were spirits, sometimes they were natural elements. As the child grew and would see their helper, they would be told, "See, the Creator is checking up on you to let you know you are cared for and loved. The Creator loves you so much that your helper is sent to remind you that you are loved."
Can you imagine, what that would be like? To be told stories every day that reminds you that you have purpose. That reminds you that you are special and loved and have a role to play during your time on earth?
Those were the messages told to our children and it became a part of who they were. We were told that when you do certain things that were not good, there were consequences. We told stories that helped our children be quiet at night. We did not have to yell or punish them to make them listen.
We did not need RCMP to police and make rules or enforce the law. We all knew what our roles were.
Today we live in a society where the education systems creates an environment that promotes inadequacy. If you don't do good enough based on its standards, you are a failure.
Can you imagine a world where our education system told our stories over and over again for all children? Where children were taken on the land to learn about the importance of responsibility and regeneration. Where all children were told they have purpose and feel a sense of belonging?
Where those messages were repeated every day throughout their childhood and not just as a one time block during National Indigenous Peoples Day?