Storyscapes Chinatown: “Spiritual Kinship” – Todd Wong
Here is my contribution to Storyscapes Chinatown, bringing together
stories of interactions between First Nations and Chinese peoples in
Vancouver. I was very pleased to bring a Creation Story to tie in
the spiritual kinship between these two cultural groups. I have
always personally felt a spiritual bond to First Nations peoples…
especially since I have travelled to Nu-Chal-nuth territory in Kyuquot
Sound, Nootka territory in Clayquot Sound, Haida territory in Haida
Gwaii, Squamish and Musqueam territory throughout the Lower mainland
from Tsawassen to Lillo'wat and Okanagan Territory too.
This particular story about the Mongolian birth mark on First Nations people was told to me by an elderly First Nations man that I met at the mouth of the Capilano River in North Vancouver. My father and I went for a walk, and some First Nations people were fishing on the East side of the river. All the land here is land belonging to the Burrard First Nations. We had a good talk about fishing, then about being non-white, and giving appreciation to each other's culture. Then we talked about how both Chinese and First Nations babies both have the Mongolian birthmark when they are born. He shared this story with me.
There are many theories about how Asian peoples may have migrated
across the Bering Strait to North America across an “ice bridge.” One
of my favorite Creation stories about the First Nations people, is by
Bill Reid. It is how Raven found a clam. He opened it,
setting the first peoples free. There are many Creation stories,
and we need to respect all of them.
But we also know that there are aboriginal people in Siberia and also
in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska – who are family and travel across
the Bering Sea to visit each other. It is the same as aboriginal
people on Southern Vancouver Island who travel to North West Washington
across the Juan de Fuca Strait. They have been related and family
– since before Canada or the United States existed. What are
geographic borders but creations of human ideas?