As with most First Nations, the Elders hold a special place in Cowichan society. The Elders Program ensures that the Elders are well cared for and provided with the right environment to carry out their responsibilities to the community.
Work undertaken by the Sul’hween team includes:
Elders Lunch – Provide lunch to Elders twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday.
Day Program – Provide physical, mental, spiritual, and cultural nourishment to elders and frail community members that would otherwise be on their own from Monday to Friday.
Bath Program – Provide access to special tub and walk-in shower for members who have difficulty bathing in regular bath facilities.
Personal Care – Provide in-home individual care and support.
Swimming Program – Help members with disabilities attend a water exercise program utilizing gentle water resistance exercises.
Healthy Lifestyles – Promote healthy living through a variety of home visits, group sessions, and drop-in sessions.
‘Uy Sultun Letsus – Provide affordable fruits and vegetables.
Open net fish farms have been operating for 30 years in Musgamagw-Dzawada’enuxv, Mamalilikulla, Nam’gis, and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis territory without their consent. Over the same time period, wild salmon populations that spawn and migrate through this region have begun to collapse.
Marine researchers have documented the risk posed by over-crowded, open-net salmon farms, specifically the likelihood of sea lice, piscine orthoreovirus, infectious salmon anemia (ISA), and heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) being transmitted to wild salmon as they migrate past the farms. For example, a study published in 2016 reported that sea lice from fish farms killed up to 40% of juvenile wild salmon in Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw territory.
The Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Mamalilikulla, Nam’gis, and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis have called for an end to fish farms in their unceded traditional territories and are taking a stand to protect the integrity of salmon-based ecosystems, assert their rights and title, and defend their community’s livelihood and culture. They are taking direct action to stop fish farm operations in their territories, including physically occupying fish farm sites, blocking transfers of diseased fish, and monitoring illegal fish farm occupations in their territory.
The Unist’ot’en Camp is located on the Wedzin Kwah (Morice River), near Houston, BC. Energy companies including Chevron and TransCanada are aiming to push fracked gas (LNG) pipelines through Unist’ot’en territory without their consent. The Unist’ot’en homestead is not a protest or a demonstration—the clan is occupying and using their traditional territory as they have for centuries. They are protecting and utilizing their hunting, trapping, fishing, and plant gathering territories to ensure that future generations will also have the opportunity to live close to the land.
The Unist’ot’en have been blocking the pipeline right-of-way for the last 8 years, and have continued to expand their camp to include a traditional Wet’suwet’en pithouse, bunkhouse, permaculture garden, and greenhouse. They are completing construction of a new healing center, offering a space for community members to return to their traditional teachings and land-based wellness practices.
Supporting the Unist’ot’en’s initiative is especially important this year, as the BC NDP government has recently announced massive subsidies and tax breaks for the LNG Canada project terminating in Kitimat in hopes of eliciting a positive Final Investment Decision later this year. This is in blatant contradiction to their commitment to implementing UNDRIP.