November 19, 2016: SENĆOŦEN History of Saturna Island, Saturna Community Hall
“I’m delighted that the Islands Trust has taken on this vision and journey! It’s only the beginning…” (Saturna Island resident)
The Saturna Island Local Trust Committee invited community members to an evening of sharing, learning and relationship building. Over 80 people - almost a quarter of Saturna Island residents - gathered to listen to elders Helen Jack, Belinda Claxton and Dr. Nick Claxton talk about the SENĆOŦEN history of Saturna Island and share stories about their personal connection to the island. Six other Tsawout members came with the guest speakers to be a part of the event and to meet with island residents.
The question and answer session and mingling over refreshments provided opportunities for casual and intimate one-on-one interactions to improve and respectful relationships between residents and visitors of Saturna Island and the local First Nations with asserted interests on the island. Morgan Yates, a Saturna resident, wrote about the event in the Saturna Scribbler.
Below are links to additional reading on topics raised at the “SENĆOŦEN History of Saturna Island” event:
- A powerpoint presentation outlining the history and case law on the Aboriginal rights associated with the Douglas Treaty Nations.
The Saltwater People was first published in 1983 from about 10 hours of interviews with Dave Elliot from Tsartlip First Nation. It includes SENĆOŦEN place names, English translations and stories about the Saanich Peninsula and the south Gulf Islands.
- A 2015 Supreme Court Law Review regarding Aboriginal Title and Private Property by John Burrows, Canada’s Research Chair on Indigenous law.
Saanich Tribes Use and Function Map is an excerpt from the 1983 book, The Saltwater People, and shows where seasonal activities traditionally happened throughout the SENĆOŦEN territory.
Saturna Island Special SENĆOŦEN Places lists place names, their approximate location and their English meaning.
Saanich Plant Knowledge presentation put together by Dr. Nancy Turner in co-operation with elder Belinda Claxton from Tsawout First Nation.
An interview with elder Elsie Claxton (audio) from Tsawout First Nation, Vi Williams from Pauquachin First Nation and Professor Tim Montler from the University of North Texas about Indigenous land use concepts regarding the SENĆOŦEN territory (a transcription of the interview).
2015 Tsawout Marine Use Study (only pages 1-35 available), prepared for Tsawout First Nation’s Review of the Proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion, Marine Shipping Component by Trailmark Systems and Consulting. This study examines Tsawout’s past and current marine use activities in Tsawout’s traditional territory.
September 21, 2016:staff field trip to Tsawout Reserve beach on Salt Spring Island
Islands Trust staff travelled to the Tsawout Reserve lands at Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island where they were welcomed by members of Tsawout and other SENCOTEN-speakers. John Elliot, a high school SENĆOŦEN Teacher at W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Secondary School on the Saanich Peninsula welcomed us with a beautiful Indigenous song and spoke of W̱SÁNEĆ stories and perspectives about the islands. Belinda Claxton from Tsawout First Nation also presented historical perspectives about her Nation’s connections to the land and waters of the southern Gulf Islands.
Below is a list of resources that reflect many of the same stories told that day to Islands Trust staff.
- 2008 audio of Tsartlip elder John Elliot describing the connections that SENĆOŦEN people from the five W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) Nations to the south Gulf islands.
- Fulford Harbour creation story from the oral history of the SENĆOŦEN people, describing the creation of deer as the hunted food.
- K’omoks History of Fishing and Special Places on Hornby and Denman Islands (TBD: Feb. 2017)
- Lasqueti “Stories of Lasqueti Shorelines” with local First Nations (date TBD)
- Denman Community-to-Community meeting with elected officials from Islands Trust and local First Nations (date TBD)
If you have any questions or comments about the information on this page, please contact:
Fiona XETXÁTTEN MacRaild
Senior Intergovernmental Policy Advisor