Longhouse - Front

Spiritual Beliefs

Stó:lō elders are committed to respecting, and teaching respect, for the ancestors. The elders believe it is very important to share traditional knowledge with their people. In their view, sacred objects are the property of their creators, the ancestors. Contemporary Stó:lō people are caretakers of these ancestral sacred objects. This responsibility involves the proper care of sacred objects (often referred to in museums and educational institutes as artifacts ), and the pursuit of knowledge surrounding their creation and origins. A spoleqwith'a (ancestral spirit) may create problems for individuals who do not properly care for sacred objects in their possession. By respecting sacred objects, Stó:lō people contribute toward a spiritually healthy community.

Communities and extended families hold the responsibility of ensuring that the respect and care for a spiritual site or object is maintained. Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre is an example of this responsibility in the caretaking of Hatzic Rock, a Stó:lō transformation site. Caretaking responsibilities for sacred objects can also be passed on through direct family lineages, ensuring that the necessary respect is continued.

Certain traditional names are connected to specific cultural responsibilities. For example, T'ixwelatsa was a man from the distant past who, after challenging the transformers, was changed into a wild carrot, then a salmon, next a mink, and then finally into stone. A contemporary Stó:lō individual has chosen to have T'ixwelatsa as his name as a way of confirming his and his community's responsibility and relationship towards this ancestral stone figure.

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