Sulsameethl and Tousilum George are our beloved relations and they have guided our festival crew since its inception to be in-right relation with Quw’utsun land and people, supporting us to follow Quw’utsun protocol as we create this event.
Elder Tousilum is named after his great-grandfather Tousilum who was a Lhumlhumuluts’ hereditary chief at Xwaaqw’um. This rich history and connection to land has been calling them home for years. They would like to reinhabit the lands of their ancestors and continue to help lead cultural practices and habitat restoration at Xwaaqw’um.
Due to colonialism, the popularity of Salt Spring Island, the lack of affordable housing, and after years of searching, their granddaughter (new youth land steward at Xwaaqw’um) has found a home for them to rent! We are fundraising to support their moving costs and anything they need to return to this land that is so sacred to them. We see their reoccupation of their territories as an important step towards healing some of the many wounds caused by colonialism, and important for Quw’utsun culture to carry on as it has been for millenia on that island.
Since time immemorial Xwaaqw’um Village has been a vital source for local First Nations to harvest shellfish, plants, medicine and animals, and serves as a significant landscape for cultural and ceremonial purposes.
Hul’q’umi’num use of the land and sea at Xwaaqw’um (Burgoyne Bay) on Salt Spring Island BC includes upholding responsibilities and connections to the land, the ancestors, to each other and to all animal and plant relations.
Everything we do is for indigenous youth, families and communities to re-engage with culture, language and ways of life that have been forcibly removed from Indigenous communities.
Those who are interested are welcome to start or continue to educate themselves about visiting or living within Coast Salish territory. Good ways of doing this include sitting with local elders and knowledge keepers or referring to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other resources online.
The Gidimt’en Clan is one of the five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. These clans have been governing their territories in so-called British Columbia since time immemorial. In the winter of 2019, Gidimt’en Clan began re-asserting traditional law by closing the Morice West Forest Service Road, blocking access to contractors from the Coastal Gaslink fracked-gas pipeline. Their strong stance in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en Clan launched a wave of rail blockades and resistance across Canada in 2019 and 2020. Gidimt’en’s sustained direct action resistance to extractive colonialism and capitalism remains a beacon of hope for communities across North America and around the world.