Were you inspired reading ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ or are you a fan of renowned ethnobotanist Nancy Turner’s research on Indigenous peoples’ knowledge of plants and environments? Then you might want to attend a Mayne Island Conservancy presentation January 7th, 2023, at the Ag Hall with Judith Lyn Arney and Sarah Jim of the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation.

The afternoon begins at 1:30pm with a Ceremonial Opening by W̱SÁNEĆ Elder J’SINTEN/ Dr. John Elliot, leading into the unveiling of three Salish designs created  by W̱SÁNEĆ  ethno-botanical artist Sarah Jim. The designs are for murals to be installed as part of the wetland ethnobotany garden being developed east of the new thrift shop. The mural designs and other works by Sarah Jim, will be on exhibit at the Library Jan 11, 2023, until mid-February. Check out her work here.

Tsartlip Elder J’SINTEN/ Dr John Elliott demonstrating cedar bark harvesting at Campbell Bay Music Festival on Mayne Island, June 2019.

But what, you ask,  is the PEPÁḴEN HÁUTW̱ Foundation? And how do you pronounce that name?

PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱, pronounced (puh-pay-kuh-n-how-t) means ‘Blossoming Place’  in SENĆOŦEN, the W̱SÁNEĆ language of this territory. Working with partners across W̱SÁNEĆ territory, the Foundation carries out education, resiliency, and land healing initiatives. They have projects at SṈIDȻEȽ (Tod Inlet), ȾIKEL (a wetland restoration project at the Tribal School ), HELEṈIḴEN (Horticulture Centre of the Pacific), ȾIX̱EṈ (Cordova Spit), QENENIW̱ (on Pender Island/ S,DÁYES), and are now  working with us on SḴŦAḴ (Mayne Island) to create the wetland ethnobotany garden.

Tsartlip Elder J’SINTEN/Dr. John Elliott at the opening of Campbell Bay Music Festival, 2018.

 Writes Nancy Turner: “Sarah Jim and Judith Lyn Arney are an extraordinary duo, both with long experience working with – and for – the land, guided by the wisdom of Elders of the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation. Together they are a shining example of what can be accomplished in environmental restoration through dedication, hard work and deep care for nature and the cultural knowledge and practices that sustain it.  They both understand – and have devoted much time and effort to helping others understand – how closely the well-being of the land is tied to the well-being of the people – to language, stories, relationships and art. Their work over the years, especially through the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation, guided by Elder XETXÁTEN Earl Claxton Jr. and other gifted members, has been exceptional.”

“The many projects of the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation provide exemplary models of partnerships focused on community based native plan education, and eco-restoration, “ says Emily Olsen, one of their Board of Directors and a W̱SÁNEĆ community member. “ But it is their youth focus and hands-on, participatory and fun way of working together that makes their programming really special.  There is so much that people who are interested in environmental restoration, native gardens and Indigenous knowledge can learn from their work.”

Tickets for the Jan 7th event are $20 from Home Hardware and Farmgate Store. Complimentary tickets for low income folk are available; please email Jennifer Iredale at jeniredale@hotmail.com. Proceeds from ticket sales will be divided  between a donation to the PEPAKEN HAUTW Foundation and establishing a maintenance fund for the Mayne Island ethnobotany garden. Doors for the event open at 1pm, and it runs from 1:30 – 3:30pm.

This event is co-hosted by the Mayne Island Conservancy, Mayne Island Agricultural Society, Mayne Island Library and Campbell Bay Music Fest with funding from CRD Arts Commission and 150 Time Immemorial.


Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *