Longhouse Teachings

The late Elder Tsimilano often invited people to “form a circle and join hands in prayer. In joining hands, hold your left palm upward to reach back to grasp the teachings of the Ancestors. Hold your right palm downward to pass these teachings on to the younger generation. In this way, the teachings of the ancestors continue and the circle of human understanding and caring grows stronger.”

The teachings of respect, relationships, responsibility, and reverence are offered here so that they may continue to strengthen the circle of understanding and caring at the UBC First Nations Longhouse.

RESPECT forms the foundation for other values. Respect begins with self and ripples out to embrace family, community, nations, the natural world, and the creator. We honour the teaching of respect by:

  • Acknowledging the land and the Coast Salish and Musqueam peoples of the land
  • Maintaining a safe, healthy, inclusive environment free of alcohol and drugs, discrimination and harassment
  • Caring for our home and the surrounding environment
  • Being sensitive to the needs of other users

RELATIONSHIPS speak to our connection to all creation and the creator. We honour the teaching of “all my relations” by:

  • Valuing the gifts and teachings which come to us through our relations with those of different ages, ancestry, colour, family, status, marital status, physical or mental disability, political belief, place of origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and unrelated criminal conviction
  • Interacting with discretion
  • Considering the needs of Elders and children in our actions and activities
  • Welcoming visitors with honour and consideration

RESPONSIBILITY is when we understand what enhances wellbeing and what diminishes it, and we take responsibility for strengthening it. We honour the teaching of responsibility by:

  • Modelling and sharing protocol with others
  • Caring for ourselves, others, the Longhouse and the environment
  • Serving as witnesses in the unfolding life of the Longhouse
  • Using resources appropriately

REVERENCE is the meeting of respect and the sacred. We honour the teaching of reverence by:

  • Serving others for the benefit of all our relations
  • Developing our own gifts and facilitating that development in others
  • Being grateful for our lives and the lives of all in our circle of relations
  • Being respectful of the spiritual realm and its place in learning

Longhouse students, staff, faculty, friends and visitors are expected to behave responsibility and with propriety. When these expectations are not met, the First Nations Longhouse administrator, the First Nations House of Learning, will take whatever action it deems warranted by the misconduct, including limiting access to resources and other privileges.

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The Longhouse Teachings embody principles consistent with UBC policies and provincial and national charters and laws including:

December 2019