TABLE OF CONTENTS
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To the Malsgm Sa'winsk
We are thrilled to have you here and to share with you the first edition of our brand new newsletter, the NIFCS Malsgm Sa'winsk (Newspaper). We hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as we did producing it!
The idea was first floated by our Executive Director, Kathleen Bennett, several months ago. A team was eventually formed, and we envisioned how the newsletter could provide meaningful value to the communities we serve.
In establishing the 'why', we discovered that among other things, the newsletter could be a useful tool to:
- Provide engaging content and useful information
- Highlight inspiring stories and events from the communities
- Coordinate and standardize announcements
- Share NIFCS services and programs
- Encourage community feedback and ideas
In discussing the type and frequency of publication, we arrived at a consensus that this will be an
e-newsletter to be published quarterly according to seasons, i.e.:
- First edition - Winter 2020/21 (Dec 21)
- Second edition - Spring 2021 (March 21)
- Third edition - Summer 2021 (June 21)
- Fourth edition - Fall 2021 (Sept 21)
Once the groundwork was established, we consulted on the nature and scope of the content to ensure that it stayed within the vision of the project. This provided the framework for the newsletter you are reading today. We see this as a first step toward building a vibrant communication channel to engage with and learn from the members of the communities we serve.
We would love to hear your opinion about our first newsletter and any ideas you may have to make each edition special, and each future edition better than the previous one.
Click HERE to send us your feedback.
Wishing you Happy Holidays, a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2021!
A DELIGHTFUL CHRISTMAS WISH...
Here's a sweet rendition of "Santa Claus is coming to Hartley Bay" in Sm'algyax by six-year-old Aaliyah Fisher.
Aaliyah attends Hartley Bay school and enjoys singing and colouring. She loves to learn new things and her favorite past time during Covid is to colour.
Heart Speak symbol created by Nisga'a artist Kari Morgan
In this edition, we are sharing the story of a team that came together to breathe life into a wonderful program called Algya̱ga K’üülm G̱oot (speaking from one heart).
Below is a personal account shared by facilitator and Youth Empowerment Worker, Britt McDougall. It is a moving story of how her heart was opened up by life's experiences that led to her wholesome embrace of the Heart Speak program in serving the community she loves.
“What Are You Saying, Heart?”
By Britt McDougall
Youth Empowerment Worker – Kitsumkalum
Facebook: Kitsumkalum Youth Empowerment
December 10, 2020
What does my heart say? When I told my then boyfriend, I wanted to be “more like just friends” over the summer, I was listening to my heart. When he told me, I broke his heart, he was speaking from his. When my brother wrote me a note on my birthday expressing his love for his sister, he was speaking from his heart. When I witness my brother struggle with addiction and mental health, my heart breaks. When I brought myself to a support group and let myself cry and cry, I was leading with my heart. At every crossroads in life, I try to ask myself, what does my heart say?
We can speak about the heart in many ways; as the physical organ, as an emotional center or as an energy center, a chakra. But here, I am speaking about the heart as a messenger, a pathway, a guiding light, a common thread among all beings. Many cultures all over the world, point to the heart when asked about identity. Who are you? Dialects of Sm’algya̱x are spoken by the Tsimshian, Nisga’a and Gitxsan. In Tsimshian Sm’algya̱x, g̱oot, the heart is at the center of many feelings and thinking expressions. To name just a few, Adziksa G̱oodu – I am proud, Ḵ’amg̱oot – kind (only heart), ’Wahg̱oot – thoughtless, Luḵ’ aag̱a g̱oot – to start thinking about, to remember something (open heart). (Sm Łoodm Nüüsm – Dr. Mique’l Dangeli, 2020) In my personal experience, the heart is an inclusive and endless way to knowing mySelf.
The heart has guided me to this point now. Writing this article, serving as a Youth Worker. First, my heart broke open. I realized and continue to realize the oppression of Indigenous Peoples that I was fed and gobbled up unknowingly. My heart broke open when I found myself, perpetuating colonial violence at a Tribe Called Red Concert. I stood in front of her in the crowd. Our eyes locked. I felt her fury and disgust in my own body. I had let my friends paint my face. “Read a textbook!” she glared, “This a war paint!” In one moment, I realized that the slime of oppression had crept into my actions. I broke down and cried and cried. I thought I was immune, “a good person”... Big emotions came through, but this is not the point. I realized I was just another part of the problem (if I stay uneducated). I had to listen to my heart to know what to do next.
The heart I speak of is always present. It does not come and go with emotions, but is here to witness them all. In the same way, if the mind is busy or loud or quiet, this heart, we are here throughout.
I started the ongoing journey of educating myself about First Nations culture and history, my own biases and connecting with people in Kitsumkalum. I was hired as a youth coordinator and the rest is history. Well… the job teaches me something new every day and I get to work with some amazing people, but it comes with its challenges too. As many of us are familiar, there is quite a lot of lateral and emotional violence in many communities. Internalized oppression is a real thing. For the first two years, when I left an interaction feeling off, I was never sure why. And I constantly battled with myself wondering if this is the right place for me. To be honest, I still wonder. But sometimes things happen that re-affirm in my heart, that I am in the right place. Like, meeting my co-worker Dm Sil Haaytk Gyibaaw - Emily and sharing the STOKE on community projects together. Or hearing from my good friend and teacher that he feels this work is good for my spiritual growth. Or getting a grant to do a really cool project!!! (see below).
Life throws at us some curve balls for sure, and we never really know what we’re going to get. But this heart, my friends, is here to stay. And something tells me (.. heart) that this attention to, this following, this speaking from, this unfolding, this being as the heart, is the way anyways.
Which brings me to Algya̱ga K’üülm G̱oot – Heart Speak (that really cool project!!!). Algya̱ga K’üülm G̱oot means speaking from one heart in Sm’algya̱x. It is a youth communications initiative that is informed by many community members and by my experiences with them. It aims to bring youth together, to connect with culture, to the heart and to give back to others. This year we are running a pilot project and want to give space for it to take on a life of its own. The project takes place over 5 months. First, a culturally based training is offered by an amazing Support Crew (see members in acknowledgements below). Youth Leaders will take part in activities involving Lateral Kindness, Cedar Brushing, Traditional Medicines, Feast Hall Voice Strengthening and Adaawx – Storytelling. Then youth will meet weekly throughout the school year to practice connecting, listening, speaking from the heart, and eventually facilitating.
Right now, Indigenous youth ages 14-20, living in Kitsumkalum, Terrace and Kitselas are having weekly *virtual* talking Circles, in partnership with Live Different. These meaningful conversations are a platform for youth to develop themselves, connect and give back. Contact me, Britt, directly if you, a youth, would like to get involved. We would LOVE to meet you.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (Picture of the team in a Zoom meeting below)
I would like to give a huge shout out to each of our Support Crew members. We spent an entire 3 days together over Zoom at the end of November, building a foundation of trust and developing the training for youth. Due to the presence we all brought, it was a very moving and touching time together. These folks are part of a root system who supports youth in knowing the leader in themselves, practicing cultural wellness ways and speaking from the heart.
Liitaa laxdaaw Gyibaaw - Sharon Bryant
You have literally been there since the first Kitsumkalum Youth Group, I led back in 2017. I was shaking in my boots lol. Thank you for your continued kind-hearted presence.
Dm sil haaytk Gyibaaw – Emily Bryant
SO happy to know you and continue be beside each other, through thick and thin. Siip'ntut nüün!!
X'aam'aal' niiy' bagwit - Sherry McDames
We have just recently (re)connected and I am so grateful and inspired by your full-on readiness to share your gifts with those around you. Thank you so much!
Wii Kxasw Jasa Wilin - Lynn Wright-Parker
Your vision and methods truly are a powerful force. You have carried me through some tough times and I am so so grateful for the privilege to call on you.
Gaks Laksiilda – Kathy Wesley
Your calm embrace holds such sacred space and room for healing. Thank you for who you are.
Sm Łoodm 'Nüüsm (Dr. Mique’l Dangeli)
Wow, I feel honoured to learn along side you and to witness your simple yet fiery acceptance of who you are. Your strength moves me.
Goolth Ts’Imilx and Teetlien – Mike Dangeli
Big hearted man! Haha, thank you for taking the time to share from your heart. Your offerings are sweet and oh so full.
VOICES OF OUR CHILDREN & YOUTH:
Here's eleven-year-old Mae Sankey from Lax Kw'alaams sharing her story with us. Mae spends time in the village playing with her little cousins and siblings. She describes the impact of Covid-19 and talks about her favorite time of the year.
Check out this video to find out more.
OOLICHAN DAY WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS
For thousands of years First Nations people constructed camps along the Skeena and its tributaries to harvest their 'saviour' fish, the Oolichan, whose arrival marked the end winter and the beginning of the harvest season. This spring friends and families gathered for a joyous morning of fishing for Oolichan, and while they did not land a large catch, the experience of reliving this ancient tradition was precious and empowering.
NIFCS Staff Spotlight
CULTURE & HISTORY
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On a trip down memory lane, we found a wonderful book by Mildred Roberts and Don T. Roberts. It was first published in 2006 and tells two adaawx (true stories) of encounters with killer whales. Both stories demonstrate the spirit connection between human and killerwhales.
Below is a synopsis from the back of the book and an introduction to the stories within. The book is currently available only as a part a program for Kitsumkalum Language & Culture learners. For more information please contact Sharon Bryant at
PUZZLE ME THIS !
Love an intriguing puzzle?
Well we've got the perfect one for you.
Not just any 'ol crossword puzzle.
This one is in Sm'algyax!
Are you up to it?
Click below for this fun
yet delightfully challenging puzzle created by
CAN YOU FIND IT ?
There is a SECRET PHRASE
concealed within this newsletter.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it
is to put on your Sherlock hat and go find it!
In the box below are your pointers & clues:
(pointers tell you where to go, clues tell you where to find each letter)
There are 10 letters in the Secret Phrase.
When you combine them according to the
sequence below you'll uncover the phrase.
Submit your Secret Phrase and enter the
$100 Gift Card Draw!
Three winners will be drawn
from the pool of correct submissions.
Simply email your answer to
by December 31 2020
YOUR POINTERS & CLUES HERE!
01. Pointer -> You are what you read! Clue: Second letter in the name of this newsletter.
02. Pointer -> The whale is your friend! Clue: First letter of Mildred's grandfather's first name.
03. Pointer -> Get to know her! Clue: Fourth letter of the first name of one of the two NIFCS staff in this section
04. Pointer -> Yummy! Clue: First letter of how you prep carrots and celery for this dish
05. Pointer -> Fly like an eagle! Clue: Second letter in the names of both communities highlighted here
06. Pointer -> Speaking from one Heart! Clue: This letter appears 3 times in the Sm'algyax version of this name
07. Pointer -> Find a bee with a pen! Clue: Fifth letter in the title of the team that produced this newsletter
08. Pointer -> A beacon of light for guidance!: Clue: This letter repeats 3 times in the title of this section
09. Pointer -> The name of the game! Clue: First letter of the name of this game
10. Pointer -> Who's your best friend! Clue: Third letter in Veronica's favorite type of pet.
GOOD LUCK IN DISCOVERING THE SECRET PHRASE!
WHEN YOU DO, YOU'LL FIND THAT THE PHRASE IS ACTUALLY IN THIS NEWSLETTER ;)
YUMMY COCKLE FRITTERS!
More than just a recipe, you'll read about the history and cultural significance of this scrumptious dish. So first, let's go to the story, then the recipe! You in?
Harvesting Shellfish especially cockles and clams has been a very important ritual in our family ever since I was a little boy. They are harvested in the late fall and through the winter into the very early spring. We have our traditional areas within our territory that we go to and have been going to since the beginning of time. We harvest in areas that have been taught to us from our ancestors and we continuously pass down knowledge to our next generation to make sure that the harvesting practices are done properly and respectfully.
We harvest and prepare the clams and cockles as a family unit making sure we have enough for the coming year and it really brings our family together and gives us good quality time working on what we love to preserve. I always remember what my grandmother Marjie Hill taught me and her words were simple but powerful and it applies to all aspects of Harvesting as a Gitgaat person. "Take what you need and Use what you take."
These are words that I always remember and I practice this in all that I do. If the world could understand this and practice this we would be in a far better situation globally. Cockles and clams are very precious to the Gitgaat and its our job to look after them and in turn they look after us.
Story by Cam Hill
Recipe & Pics by Eva Hilll
4 cups chopped cockles or clams
1 med onion
1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
A little bit water
Mix together and fry in hot oil
OVER THE HORIZON
THE COMMUNITY LIGHTHOUSE
Currently two Lighthouses have been completed and three more are under construction and/or renovation. Construction is expected to begin for the remaining two in spring of 2021 and completion is expected in summer.
NIFCS Programs & Services
ON THE WINGS OF AN EAGLE
In this edition we are showcasing brief aerial videos of Kitimaat and Kitsumkalum. We plan to highlight more of such videos in each upcoming edition of this newsletter. Stay tuned! If you received this newsletter without subscribing (indirectly from someone besides NIFCS) and wish to receive a copy directly from us, please subscribe HERE
HEALTH & WELLNESS
COPING WITH COVID
How are First Nations youth coping with the pandemic? First Nations Health Authority tell us how youth are coping and staying well during these challenging times. Hear from the youth themselves in a series of brief videos and read their pages to find out what they are doing to feel connected.
Follow this LINK to learn more
More useful health advice from First Nations Health Authority. These guidelines are intended to support community members in educating each other about better food and drink choices in schools, meetings, homes, cultural and recreational events, and in restaurants. This resource contains information for various audiences including community members, and administrators.
Access this guide HERE
AMA SIG̱OOTG (GOOD IDEAS)
MESSAGES FOR YOU...
From the NIFCS Board of Directors & Executive Director
Back row, left to right: Rhonda Schulmeister, Denise Eshom, Marcia Spencer, Gerri Alexcee, Kathleen Bennett, Lloyd McDames, Keith Innes, Warren Nelson. Front row, left to right: Shirley Bolan, Cynthia Bohn, Angela Green
Dear community members,
I hope you are all well, keeping safe as can be. This has been a very difficult year for most, however we pulled together the best we could considering the circumstances. I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings and most of all very best wishes for a much better New Year.
I would like to thank all the staff, board members and families for the continued hard work put into our communities. This newsletter will be a wealth of information from all our communities and staff for us to know more about NIFCS and what is happening within the communities that NIFCS serves. And since you are here, I would like to invite you to learn more about NIFCS, our programs and services, by simply clicking on this LINK to access our Home Page
NIFCS has a lot to look forward to in the New Year within each community, I look forward to hearing all about it through the newsletter throughout the year. Please continue to take care, and let’s be gentle with each other.
FROM YOUR EDITORIAL TEAM
The Editorial Team would like to thank and congratulate our intrepid group of contributors for this inaugural edition of the Malsgm Sa'winsk!
We realize that this is simply the first step in a long journey to bring our readers information that matters in an engaging, inspiring and entertaining way. We welcome any ideas and suggestions that you may have to help us continuously improve the quality and content of this newsletter. It is after all your newsletter!
The contributors for the Winter Edition of the Malsgm Sa'winsk are:
Cam & Eva Hill
Our sincere thanks to all of you for your untiring work to source or write material that engages the readers' heart, mind and spirit. This is especially challenging given the restrictions that are in place due to the pandemic. Regardless, you have outdone yourself!
We would like to also thank you, our reader, for subscribing to the newsletter (if you have not, click HERE to subscribe) and for supporting this publication. Please share it with your family and friends. We have exciting content in the works for the next edition, with more fun contests, awesome giveaways and useful information!
With that, we'd like to wish you Happy Holidays and a very merry Christmas. Have a wonderful 2021! May it be light-years of goodness away from the historic challenges that this year has given us. Stay safe, stay happy!
The Editorial Team
Rachel Hewer - Sharon Bryant - Mamie Lawson - Kristen McKay - Armaan Ratra - Sean Segran
WINNERS OF $100 GIFT CARDS
Metlakatla: Patricia Leighton
Kitkatla: Lillian Aster
Kitamaat: Tara Paul
Hartley Bay: Havana Jae Fisher
Kitselas: Rosemary Stelmachuk
Kitsumkalum: Troy Sam
Lax Kw’alaams: Sharon Wesley
Urban Region: Michelle Lewis
We will contact you this week for instructions to send out the gift cards.