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Cover Story

Welcome to

Xwaaqw’um

Indigenous cultural resurgence WELL underway on Salt Spring Island

gail sjuberg photo + at top

By GAIL SJUBERG Photos as credited

Page 8 – AQUA – October/November 2016

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hen I think about the recent interest in truth and reconciliation efforts in Canada, I realize how much of it revolves around learning and unlearning. We need to listen to and absorb the stories and perspectives of indigenous peoples, while figuring out how to discard the layers of negative narratives we've grown up with. It requires a large-scale, open-hearted commitment and effort to accept and be part of the necessary change around truth and reconciliation, which is why it was encouraging to see so many Salt Spring

Islanders at a gathering on Aug. 20, 2016 hosted by members of the Quw’utsun (Cowichan) Tribes. At the heartfelt welcome-pole ceremony at Xwaaqw’um — which translates to “female merganser duck place” in the Hul’q’umi’num language and is also known as Burgoyne Bay — Quw’utsun artist and speaker Simuletse (Stuart Pagaduan) looked around at the estimated 200 people, many from the island’s settler community, and joked, “We must have a lot of relatives here that we don’t know about. A lot.” It was impossible to not be impacted by both the tone and content of what Simuletse was sharing.

Aqua Fall 2016  

Lifestyle in the Canadian Gulf Islands

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