The Gitxsan are matrilineal, meaning that kinship is based on the female line. I belong to the Ganada or Frog Clan because my mother, her mother and so on were Ganada. The women are seen as the leaders in our culture and that has stayed and survived colonialism. Matriarchs are Life Givers and have the responsibility of the continuation of the nation, the language, the stories, the culture and the respect for our Mother Earth. The lesson is always reciprocity - give back, leave things better than when you arrived, preserve as much as you need, harvest respectfully.
As a Gitxsan woman, I learned much from my Grandmother, Nora. She was such a beautiful human being. I still miss her very much. She taught me how to love my children by loving me. When I think about being with my Grandmother, I feel very Blessed to have known her. Her Spirit lives on through my children and their children.
She showed me how a Matriarch holds herself in the nation, the community, in the family and in her house.