Ways of Life

Values

Like all cultures, the Nisg̱a’a have a traditional code of morality that is expressed in clear “commandments” governing personal conduct. The Nisg̱a’a moral code is described symbolically as three trees.

The word “sḵ’an” means “fruit tree” (for example, “sḵ’an apple”). Each tree, or sḵ’an, represents an immoral behaviour that individuals should avoid. If you “encounter” these trees in your daily life, you should turn away from them. You should not engage in the behaviour they represent, as these trees produce bad branches and have strong roots:

Sḵ’an wil
Do not do foolish or unlawful things that cause physical harm to others, yourself, or your family.

Sḵ’an hi
Do not claim ownership of anything that does not belong to you. You will cause conflict and suffering.

Sḵ’an algax̱
Do not gossip or say hurtful things about others.

By respecting these three commandments, you will live a good and happy life, and you will avoid the suffering that comes from immoral behaviour.