Gvi’las: Our Way of Life
Mavis Windsor’s practicum concerns the inherent relationship of the Heiltsuk Nation and the wild salmon from a conservation and social perspective. Mavis Windsor was raised on the Heiltsuk Reservation in British Columbia, and thus sought to examine how the Heiltsuk Nation should move forward together in a respectful and honorable way. In his study, he recounts the history of the Heiltsuk in the pre-contact era as a tribal group with a distinctive culture. Due to the Heiltsuk Nation’s location on the central coast of British Columbia, over time the Heiltsuk people developed a traditional system of ecological knowledge that embodied the use and conservation of land resources, including the wild salmon. Windsor highlights the importance of the wild salmon as a social tool for the transfer of Heiltsuk values as well as its role as a communal food sustenance. In addition, Windsor discusses the challenges associated with cultural identity, pointing out that the Heiltsuk culture has survived despite socioeconomic problems and underrepresentation in government. In conclusion, Windsor suggests the Heiltsuk Nation retake control of their history that has been driven and written by “nonHeiltsuk” over the past 200 years.