Snuw’uyulh and the Sansum Narrows Monster

An important part of snuw’uyulh (putting the thought in the child’s head/cultural teachings) is sxwi’em’ (“sh-why-m” approximately)— a great Hul’q’umi’num’/Sencotlen word that describes ancient times, places in the landscape, and narratives. The root of the word is “change” or “transformation” —the only constant thing in the universe. These stories are connected to landscapes that by their form reflect aspects of the story. The narratives associated with these places do not explain the landscapes— rather the landscapes explain the narratives. The stories are not a projection by people onto landscape but encode 4 millenia of intergenerational experience. There are variations of sxwi’em’ according to different families, but the fundamental structure of each narrative is the same. It is up to the listener to bring what they know already—prior knowledge of time and place —or a willingness to go there. Salt Spring Island has sxwi’em’ manifest in certain landscapes that serve as visi…
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Indigenous History of Salt Spring Island

In this series we will look at the Indigenous history of Salt Spring Island from the perspective of snuwuyulh (“snuh-WHY-ulth” approximately)—a Hul’q’umi’num’ word broadly translated as “cultural teachings.” The word has a literal meaning of “putting the thought into the child’s head”—a reference to a learning process that occurred from an early, indeed, prenatal stage of life to those born here. Early exposure to cultural teachings through stories and place-names produced knowledgeable people and a sustainable economy that persisted for thousands of years until the 19th century. Snuwuyulh reminds us that learning is an ongoing process and that everyone here is “like a child” when it comes to the human history of the island. Salt Spring Time offers some bare grounding in local “cultural teachings”—putting the thought in there— thanks to the many teachers past and present from Salt Spring Island, Saanich, Cowichan, Penelakut and Nanaimo. Salt Spring Now and Then Salt Sprin…
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Video: Kanaka-Salish Family of Isabella Point

Chris Arnett gives a talk at the Salt Spring Historical Society. He draws on many years of research and oral history. Archival photos and maps help illustrate local landmarks and significant historical events in the lives of Salt Spring's First Nations families, Hawaiian and European settlers. Video: Peter Prince / saltspringvideo
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Video: The Archeology of Shiya'hwt (Ganges)

Learn more about this town of 'Ganges' that we live in and around on Salt Spring Island. Archeologist Chris Arnett recalls the fascinating First Nations history of Ganges Village, known by the name of Shiya’hwt to its original inhabitants. For thousands of years Coast Salish people carried on their cultural traditions and harvested the areas abundant resources, until epidemics decimated their population and the coming of the Europeans changed their way of life forever. He shares his research, archival photos, artifacts, archeological studies and illustrations. He also interprets the evidence of burial sites around the Ganges and Grace Islet. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }  
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Video: Grace Islet Benefit Concert

On Saturday Nov. 22 a special Benefit Concert and Silent Auction was held to help protect Grace Islet, the First Nations burial ground in Ganges Harbour that is being desecrated by construction of a private home. Opened with a traditional prayer by highly respected Elder Luschiim (Arvid Charlie) and a song by his nephew Louis Sylvester of Cowichan Tribes, it was an extraordinary evening, shared by about 200 people of all ages. Incredibly talented performers, including Bill Henderson the Barefoot Thieves, Duck Creak, Tara McLean, Daryl Chonka, Daniel Howlett, Chris Arnett, Naomi Jason, Vaughn Fulford, Peter Prince, Phil Vernon, Wesley Hardisty, Olivia Budd, Kryztina Unity, Yael Wand, Harry Warner and Friends, and the Gaia Soul Sistah’s Song Circle provided top-notch entertainment and an evening of magical energy that few of us will forget. Technical wizard Mark LeCorre did an amazing job on sound and lights, with help from Daryl Chonka, Gord Ross, Peter Prince and other…
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First Nations History of Shiya'hwt (Ganges Village)

Archeologist Chris Arnett recalls the fascinating First Nations history of Ganges Village, known by the name of Shiya'hwt to its original inhabitants. For thousands of years Coast Salish people carried on their cultural traditions and harvested the areas abundant resources, until epidemics decimated their population and the coming of the Europeans changed their way of life forever. He shares his research, archival photos, artifacts, archeological studies and illustrations. He also interprets the evidence of burial sites around the Ganges and Grace Islet. A presentation of the Salt Spring Island Historical Society. October 8th, 2014. Video and photos courtesy of Peter Prince from Salt Spring Video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvJcKm0OIDQ
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