PODCAST: Ed Jensen – Walking the Path of Respect
Just as his Nation embarks on an historic Title Action to assert Indigenous sovereignty over traditional territories that were never ceded through treaty, Jensen is involved in practicing, teaching and breathing life into Secwepemc hunting traditions. Grounded in Secwepemc laws that were taught to him by his uncles and grandfather, Jensen is bringing those traditions forward by teaching new generations of Indigenous – and non-indigenous – people about stewardship practices grounded in reciprocity and respect.
The type of knowledge that Ed Jensen speaks about as a hunting guide and carrier of Secwepmec traditions is part of the evidence being gathered to form the basis of the Title case RAVEN is supporting: proving that aboriginal ownership of, and jurisdiction over, lands and waters pre-dates colonization relies on oral histories like the ones Jensen is carrying.
Jensen’s work involves not only carrying and passing knowledge, but in creating artistic and functional hunting tools based on the designs of his ancestors. He’s one of the world’s pre-eminent flint-snappers; his studio in Kamloops is full of beautifully wrought spears, arrowheads, and bone-handled knives that are made entirely from natural materials.
Another way that Jensen shares his knowledge is through mentorship – just as his own uncles did with him, Ed is bringing up a new generation of Secwepmec hunters, and working to change the culture of hunting from the collection of trophies, which is what it has become in mainstream, colonial society , to a practice that is about deep attunement with the land and deep relationship with the animals themselves.
This revitalization of laws and practices isn’t only being done to benefit Secwepmec peoples: Ed is increasingly using media to spread his message to non-indigenous hunters, in the hopes that the broader culture of hunting can be transformed. It’s this braiding of traditions that holds such promise for our common future.