Consider How We Paddle Together

A ‘tool’ for those that need to jump in the canoe and work together for a better future.

Raven (SQTO) artwork by kQwa'st'not

Developing climate solutions that work for everyone requires meaningfully learning from and working with diverse knowledge systems. This includes listening to oral wisdom about the climate crisis that is rooted in intercultural perspectives.

To help forward climate action goals that are grounded in social and environmental justice, Consider How We Paddle Together (CHWPT) was developed to support ENGOs and other climate-engaged organizations in working with Indigenous and other historically marginalized communities. This work, which focuses on Coast Salish protocol, will help foster dialogue in bridging Western and Indigenous ways of knowing.

We are grateful to kQwa’st’not~Charlene George (tSouk peoples) and Melissa Plisic (second-generation, mixed-race Filipinx immigrant-settler), and the many other voices who were involved, for building this work.

This intercultural guide supports organizations’ and individuals’ transformations (sometimes referred to as decolonial work) by inviting folks to listen and reflect. It is not a shortcut, you will get as much out as you put in.

We invite you into this deeper work by exploring CHWPT. This is a ‘toolkit’ that includes a Prezi guide, executive summary, literature review and reflection questions below.

About the collaboration​

CHWPT is a collaborative work (SĆȺ) by Melissa Plisic and kQwa’st’not~Charlene George. We raise our hands to the many Indigenous and more-than-human voices that breathed life into this growing SĆȺ. CHWPT celebrates and builds on work started in A Pathway Together (2021) and Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes (2019). It’s important to note that the knowledge here does not belong to any organization but lives in the communities that graciously shared these lessons for all to learn from.

A gateway to the forest

An invitation for reflection:

When you explore CHWPT here are some questions to consider.

Part 1: Considering invitations and introductions (Slides 11-13)

  • How can settlers and organizations move beyond a performative land acknowledgment? We invite you to watch this humorous video to reflect. What can meaningful acknowledgments and actions look like?
  • How can you introduce yourself within other communities (including non-human communities)? To a place? Within these introductions, are you making space for other beings to be their authentic selves, and do you try to normalize ‘different’ introduction protocols? For example, how would you introduce yourself to a bear you’ve met in their forest home (imagine your body language, if you are carrying food or have other smells on you, what season it is, etc.)?

Part 2: How siloing severely limits what’s possible (Slides 15-18)

  • Do you know your community’s protocols for sharing wealth (including knowledge)?
  • When sharing wealth, are you going to be a gatekeeper that makes connections or one that keeps the door closed to others?

Part 3: Moving away from societal norms — considering more-than-humans (Slides 20-23)

  • How often do you ‘listen’ to the voices of more-than-human beings, like orca and salmon? For example, how could a nettle plant inform your research methodologies? How would a bear think about food security?
  • As we do this work, how can we be accountable to more-than-human beings?

Part 4: How we paddle together — moving towards prosperity for all (Slides 25-27)

  • How do we create common inclusive practices? Consider the ‘othering’ that happens between humans and how we can disrupt those cycles of harm.
  • How do we work hard now to be good future great-grandparents or ancestors?

Part 5: Hints and resources (Slides 29-35)


Gratitude to all the many hands, hearts and minds that have picked up the many ‘breadcrumbs’ left to us by the Ancestors.

©kQ’wast’not intellectual property statement

Featured artwork by kQwa’st’not.