Economic Reconciliation

Grounding Economic Systems in Culture

July 20, 2019

Below, you will find two articles pertaining to one Nation’s Cultural Framework. It is from the Sylix Nation (Okanagan Speaking People) and it is Enowkinwixw. I share these articles with you because one needs to fully understand its influence on everything in Indigenous communities including governance, decision making, kinship relations, trade, ceremony, protocols, land use, guardianship, sustainability, etc. This process is embedded in everything they do and without its’ knowing, no one can truly understand its roots and its’ impacts on how the Sylix people are guided by it.

The same goes for Potlaching on the Coast of B.C. The process of Potlaching governs everything in these communities, including gifting, wealth distribution, governance, decision making, etc. I will share another article on Potlaching in the near future, so that one may begin to understand its basis of governance, economics, decision making, etc., just like Enowkinwixw for the Okanagan people.  The embeddedness of this knowing and teachings through ceremony and protocols provided the entire foundation of economic systems for their people (Communities and Nations).

In the following articles, one can grasp a basic awareness of the Okanagan as a people and who they are. Understanding this is the key to grasping the basis of traditional governance and economic systems. Culture, language, place, songs, ceremony is not separate from the economic systems, it is the economic system. This is how we thrived. 

Article 1: Syilx Cultural Framework

The first article I share illustrates Enowkinwixw, providing you with a description of the consensus-building decision-making process/model and the origin stories which provide the foundation of everything for this Nation.  To even understand Enowkinwixw fully, you need to understand the Sylix people, their history, language, stories, place.  I share so that one can grasp the deepness and richness of this knowing and how it is embedded in everything they do. Click here to view full article. 

Article 2: The Four Chiefs Enowkinwixw Discourse

The second article I share takes you a bit deeper into understanding Enowkinwixw as a basis or foundation of many things within the Nation or Community.  This article speaks to how the Okanagan have applied their Indigenous “way of knowing” as the framework for sustainability. The source in the previous article shares in part how this ‘way of knowing’ as the framework for the Nation’s Health Plan. Click here to view full article.

If you really want to know how to do business with our people, support economic reconciliation through granting, capacity building, funding projects, or anything really, you need to know where we came from, our world view, our values, the lens of how we see and do things, and know that we do not intend to compromise any of this anymore.  We look to this knowledge as our foundation to creating the best possible future for the people yet to be.  This includes how we look to balance our traditional knowledge in a modern world through economic development.  We may use the modern strategies of the economic system to achieve outcomes for the well-being of our people. However, we do not do it solely based in capitalism, sacrifice, extraction, single minded thinking, and only with the intent of financial returns.  We look to prosper with the inclusion of traditional knowledge, sustainable practices, stewardship, guardianship, values based, and holistic approach to the well-being of our people, not just the bottom line.

Additional Resources