Code of Conduct
The terms “law” and “code” suggests a formal legal system. The reality is both simpler and more complex. Cultural practices based on reciprocity, kinship, and commonly-held values made it possible for people to live together on the land. Everyone was cared for wherever they went and everyone was expected to care for themselves and contribute to the greater good of the whole group.
A small group of people, travelling together over a vast area for much of the year, quickly learns that survival depends on being able to get along and acting for the good of the group. People who violate these customs were sanctioned in different ways, the most extreme being banishment from the group. Over centuries they developed principles, values and social rules in order to support one another and get along. A number of these are briefly discussed in the section Principles and Values.
The term “Dä’òle’” refers to a more specific system of behaviour and taboos that must be followed to ensure the survival of each individual, the people and the environment that supports you. For example, a few of the concepts include never over-using an area for hunting, berry-picking, etc.; giving offerings to thank the land for its bounty, and handling fish and game with respect. Violating these rules can mean bad luck on the land or even personal danger. Very simply, to survive we must be our best selves.
Visitors and potential partners should be aware that, as guests within our traditional territory, they should show respect for their hosts and their knowledge of this land. For more specifics of things that are helpful to know, please see the section titled “If you are….”
William Henry and Ronald Johnson perform with the Hän singers.