Elder Vincent Stogan
HANDS BACK … HANDS FORWARD
The intention of the website is summarized by a teaching of the late Dr. Vincent Stogan, Tsimilano, our dear Elder from Musqueam. Tsimilano taught us that Hands back… Hands forward guides us to reach back and learn from those that have gone before us, and then reach forward to pass on the teachings to those that are coming after us. At the start of our gatherings, Tsimilano asked us to form a circle, in which to share good thoughts for establishing a comfortable learning and working environment. We extend our left palm upwards, to symbolize reaching back to receive teachings (knowledge and values) from the Ancestors and those who have travelled on knowledge pathways before us. We are then given the opportunity to put these teachings into our everyday lives. We also have a responsibility to pass those teachings to others, especially the younger generation, which is shown when we hold our right palm downwards. In the circle we join hands to connect with each other and to symbolize the value of cooperation.
In the context of Indigenous Storywork Hands back… Hands forward has involved working with Elders to understand the nature and purpose of Indigenous stories, and then working to bring these lessons into current day education, both in the classroom and in the home.
As both a retired educator and an enthusiastic grandparent, Jo-ann Q’um Q’um Xiiem, welcomes conversations with all those that want to learn more about and contribute to Indigenous Storywork.