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W̱SÁNEĆ field trip – Learning on the Land

March 23, 2023


March 23rd, 2023 

Join us for a field trip to the SṈIDȻEȽ restoration project and the TEMOSEN carving shed on Thursday March 23. It will be an exciting day connecting with Indigenous knowledge keepers and experiential learning on the land. For this day long field trip, our wonderful community bus will take us for a trip to  SṈIDȻEȽ (pronounced sngeet-kwith) and the carving shed of the late Master Carver Charles TEMOSEN Elliott, now the studio of his son TEMOSENG, Chas Elliott and nephew Mathew Parlby-Elliott.

Participants will be actively contributing to the restoration and revitalization of native ecosystem in the W̱SÁNEĆ homelands and need to come prepared with good work shoes, gloves, weather-appropriate layers and protection, and a snack & water. Lunch at Floyds Diner, Brentwood Bay.

Departure from Mayne on the 7:00 am ferry and returning from Swartz Bay on the 4:20 pm ferry. Transportation thanks to the Mayne Island Community Bus team!  The cost for the day is $50 and includes the bus and ferry. 

Please get in touch with Justine at stewardship@mayneconservancy.ca if you are interested in attending, yet are in need financial assistance to be able to do so.

At SṈIDȻEȽ, located on Tod Inlet and part of Gowland-Tod Park, participants will spend the morning with PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation staff, Judith Arney and Sarah Jim participating in their Learning on the Land Program. This is a hands-on experience doing healing work on the land and learning W̱SÁNEĆ cultural and ecological teachings. SṈIDȻEȽ means “Place of the Blue Grouse” in SENĆOŦEN and is the first W̱SÁNEĆ village site. Blue grouse indicated a rich eco-system where people gathered edible and medicinal plants. “SŁEMEW came down from the sky and descended on the place we call SṈIDȻEȽ,” explains Elder J’SINTEN, Dr John Elliott. “He built the first village and raised his family with the teachings from XÁLS, our creator. Our people enjoyed harvesting in this village for centuries until the 1900’s when a cement factory polluted the land and the waters of SṈIDȻEȽ.” Despite the industrialization that destroyed the diverse eco-system, the location is still very beautiful, and the eco-restoration work we will be participating in is one small step towards restoring the land. The trailhead is near Butchart Gardens and it is about a seven minute walk to the Inlet where we meet our hosts.

At 1 pm, after our morning work, we have reserved for lunch at the new Floyd’s Diner at 6719 W Saanich Rd in Brentwood Bay – or you can bring a packed lunch if you prefer.

To round out our day, we visit the Elliott carving shed and meet with carvers TEMOSENG Chas Elliott and Mathew Parlby-Elliott to get a sneak preview on the progress on two welcome posts, destined for the entrance of the Ag Hall grounds on SḴŦAḴ / Mayne Island! TEMOSENG, at just 27 years old, is already an accomplished Salish artist whose fine work attests to his deep understanding of the Salish art form and the beauty it conveys. Born in W̱JOȽEȽP, on the reserve near Brentwood Bay, he grew up surrounded by the carvings and prints by his father and the Salish weavings created by his mother. His father taught him carving and Salish design while his mother, Myrna Crossley-Elliott taught him about plants, dyes and medicine. “In the past I have worked with cedar and also hard woods like maple and yew wood for carving,” he explains. “I have painted drums, canvas, and murals on walls. I have worked with fibres such as plant roots, bark, and wool which I look to further explore as harvest season approaches.” As a full-time artist, he has developed his own style while respecting the Salish idiom, which he translates into carved poles, masks, paddles, carved spindle whorls, paintings and designs for modern products. His current work focuses on public commissions and address contemporary themes related to endangered habitat and injustices. Chas believes that colonization and western ways have harmed the “plants, animals, lands, oceans and ourselves” and that decolonizing can help bring humans into harmony with nature – as is the W̱SÁNEĆ way.

Register for this incredibly special day. Do it soon as there are limited seats on the bus and we expect it to sell out!

PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation is a charitable non-profit organization based at the W̱SÁNEĆ tribal school whose mission is to provide participatory education opportunities about traditional and healthy food systems to contribute to the restoration and revitalization of native ecosystems in the W̱SÁNEĆ homelands and to promote food security and indigenous food sovereignty in the W̱SÁNEĆ community and beyond.

For more information on ‘Learning on the Land’ visit the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation.


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March 23, 2023
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Mayne Island Conservancy
(250) 539-2535


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