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Four Feathers Writing Guide

Learn more about traditional Coast Salish teachings and approaches to learning that can support your development as an academic writer.

SIAM SELW̱ÁN (Respected Elder) Teachings

Love is based upon affection, kindness, unselfishness, loyalty, devotion, and concern towards all.

Respect is showing honour for the value of people or any living thing by being polite, considerate, and appreciative. We respect each other, animals, land, water, and sky because they provide shelter, clothing, food, and warmth for our daily living. We only take and use what we need.

Honesty is speaking and acting truthfully, honest to the laws of our Creator and each other, and especially to one’s self. Never try to be someone else, live true to your spirit, accept who you are and the way you were made.

Truth is to know and understand all the teachings given to us and to share and carry on these teachings to ensure they will never be lost or forgotten.

Courage is the ability to live life with confidence bravely. It is to have mental and moral strength to overcome fears that prevents us from living our true spirit.

Wisdom is the ability to make decisions based on personal knowledge and experience. Our Elders who lived life are our teachers who contribute to family and community.

Humility is expressed and manifested through the consideration of others before one’s self. To accept all beings as equal is to capture the spirit of humility. (Charles, 2018)4


4 The teachings and approaches to learning in this guide are shared with permission. The ownership of the Traditional Knowledge remains in perpetuity with the appropriate Nation; accordingly, the information should not be re-used without explicit permission.

* Citations and references to Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers in this resource follow the approaches created by Lorisia MacLeod and NorQuest College Indigenous Student Centre staff. For more information, please see "Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers" in NorQuest College Library's APA Style 7th Edition guide.