ḴEXMIN field station: mission

mid-July seeding of KEXMIN (in green) Lomatium nudicaule

ḴEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule, seeding (the stalks in green), mid-July in a historic patch along Dallas Road in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria , British Columbia

“We cannot carry out the kind of decolonization our Ancestors set in motion if we don’t create a generation of land-based, community-based intellectuals and cultural producers who are accountable to our nations and whose life work is concerned with the regeneration of these systems rather than meeting the overwhelming needs of the Western academic complex or attempting to ‘Indigenize the academy’ by bringing Indigenous Knowledge into the academy on the terms of the academy itself…The land must again become the pedagogy.” Leanne Betasamosake Simpson 2017[*]

“That the KEXMIN, Indian consumption plant, is a good medicine used to clean and open the way for the pure spirits to come near.”  Tsawout First Nation  

KEXMIN field station is a centre for research & learning spanning traditional indigenous knowledge and contemporary science for environmental planning, ecological design, public art and other forms of contemporary cultural production with a focus on the Salish Sea and its Gulf and San Juan Islands between the mainland of the North American West Coast and Vancouver Island.

[*] Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 2017. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pages 159-60.

the Salish Sea & Puget Sound as an organism

introduction to the work of ḴEXMIN field station

We are currently developing and discussing a mission statement. While currently active in a range of projects, this work all falls into the blank boxes in the mission matrix below. There is already too much work to be able to insert into these blank boxes.

contact: kexminfieldstation@gmail.com

ḴEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule, a species with deep cultural, medicinal & nutritional significance to Salish communities

2018 September 24 ḴEXMIN, south of the Tsawout / SȾÁUTW̱ treaty lands P9240014 photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

 
 
 
 
 
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blooming ḴEXMIN, late spring in Lək̓ʷəŋən Territory, Vancouver Island

2019 2019 May 27 Lomatium nudicaule just beginning to flower, Lək̓ʷəŋən territory, Vancouver Island P1010022

Two of the most important Salish plants just coming into bloom: ḴEXMIN (yellow flowers) and camas, Camassia spp, in a traditional Lekwungen agricultural, gathering, and stewardship site, 2019 April 25 Lək̓ʷəŋən territory, Vancouver Island P4250100

ḴEXMIN [SENĆOŦEN], Lomatium nudicaule, just south of the  1852 Indian Reserve line set (under severe threat of imperial violence) for the W̱SÁNEĆ, north of Island View Beach, Central Saanich, Vancouver Island

2018 September 24 ḴEXMIN, south of the Tsawout / SȾÁUTW̱ treaty lands, Vancouver Island  P9240083

2018 September 24 ḴEXMIN, south of the Tsawout / SȾÁUTW̱ treaty lands P9240017

“One ceremonially prized plant, ‘wild celery’ (Lomatium nudicaule), was, and is still today, widely used and sought for medicinal and ceremonial purposes, and its seeds used as gifts. Some contemporary Northwest Coast peoples are careful to leave wild celery seeds behind, or to scatter seeds (when gathering medicines) to ensure it’s continuation, and this seems a likely candidate as a species that was managed and whose range has been extended through past human intervention. This attribution of a ‘spirit’ within all of nature’s creations, and of the powers of plants to affect human lives and human well-being, is another reflection of, and reason for, peoples’ stewardship of the plants they depend upon…” (Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner. 2005. Conclusions. in Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America. Douglas Deur and Nancy J. Turner (eds). Vancouver: UBC Press / Seattle: University of Seattle Press. pages 331 – 342. quote from pages 334 – 335 )

2018 September 24 ḴEXMIN south of the Tsawout / SȾÁUTW̱ treaty lands P9240028 This population is highly vulnerable to ongoing sea level rise and saltwater intrusion into roots.

In addition, the 2020 COVID19 pandemic has compelled herbalists to highlight the exceptional power of Lomatium  species as traditional and settler medicine for treating lung and viral disorders.

Gulf Islands snails on the run in a heat wave

2021 August 8 cf Pacific Sideband snail, Monadenia fidelis, Hwmet’utsun, Salt Spring Island * P8080017

Two snails were studied on August 8, 2021 in the Hwmet’utsun conservation area on the wild West Coast of Salt Spring Island in the territory of Cowichan Tribes. After a six week heat wave, linked to climate change, it can be assumed that the native snails of the Gulf Islands could have a difficult time surviving. These two snails could be out and about because there was light rain 36 hours before and there were droplets of rain under the otherwise dry arbutus leaf litter. These snails are probably the most common native snail on the Gulf Islands, the Pacific sideband snail, Monadenia fidelis, but there is a possibility that the second video is of a much rarer, Puget Oregonian snail, Cryptomastix devia (which has a pronounced, curled-up lip on the aperture of the shell). Along with hotter temperatures and more erratic rainfall patterns, native snails are vulnerable to terrestrial acidification from pollution sources nearby and across the North Pacific.

a sign that it’s summer: Fragrant blooms of the West Coast species of mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii

2021 June 23 mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii @ KEXMIN field station P6230002
a sign that it’s summer:
This is the bloom of the West Coast species of mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii, nestled with a seven year old ĆEṈAL̵Ć, Garry oak, in the research garden at KEXMIN field station. W̱SÁNEĆ elders knew of uses, for the strong, narrow branches of this shrub, for making things. Mock orange this far north sometimes grows into fragrant trees that grow up to more than 3 metres in height.
2021 June 23 mock orange, Philadelphus lewisii @ KEXMIN field station P6230005

dwarf rose, ḴEMI [SENĆOŦEN], Rosa gymnocarpa flower, ĆUÁN

ḴEMI,EL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN] with the flower just ‘ḴEMI’, Rosa gymnocarpa * 2021 June 3 * P1010005

flower power: ḴEMI,EL̵Ć [SENĆOŦEN] with the flower just ‘ḴEMI’, Rosa gymnocarpa on the ridge above and east of Fulford Creek, ĆUÁN, 2021 June 3, with the petals and hips traditionally eaten for spiritual and corporeal purification and greater strength. This is one of the three species of wild roses that grow around the Salish Sea with this species, the only one of the three with spines as well as sometimes thorns, extending south to the mountains of Baja California.

celebrating Earth Day through learning from black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii, especially its importance to pollinators & ecological persistence across western North America

2021 April-21 black hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii, in a grove adjacent to KEXMIN field
station that has been re-establishing for several decades after a century of intensive goat
and sheep grazing P4210007

For the second year in a row, we are celebrating Earth Day at KEXMIN field station, on the Gulf Islands of south-western Canada, through learning from black hawthorn, MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN] / Metth’unulhp [Hul’q’umi’num’], Crataegus suksdorfii, one of a number of disappearing native fruit trees. This species currently grows from northern British Columbia and Haida Gwaii to northern California and then across the Rockies to Lake Superior. We have much to learn about how these trees persist, recolonize and can be protected and better restored including through field research combined with social strategies rooted in contemporary culture.

Renewing biodiversity conservation planning strategies as part of joint management with First Nations especially for the drier islands around the northern Salish Sea.

Gordon Brent BROCHU-INGRAM, KEXMIN field station, April 9, 2021, The Land We Would Like To Be: Renewing biodiversity conservation planning strategies as part of joint management with First Nations around the northern Salish Sea. City and Regional Futures Colloquium, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.

harvesting fruit with seed of Pacific crabapples, ḴÁ,EW̱ [SENĆOŦEN], Malus fusca, for ecological restoration and indigenous food sovereignty

Harvesting fruit for planting seed of Pacific crabapples, ḴÁ,EW̱ [SENĆOŦEN], Malus fusca, on the first day of autumn, 2020 September 22, Beaver Point, Salt Spring Island * P1010021

ḴÁ,EW̱ [SENĆOŦEN], Pacific crabapples, Malus fusca, is an important fruit tree throughout the North Pacific region and is recorded from Sequoia National Park in California, mainly along the Pacific coast, to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula (Routson, Volk, Richards, Smith, Nabhan and Wyllie de Echeverria 2012). The extent of the far western extent of this species in the Aleutian Islands remains poorly charted.

Given that Malus fusca sometimes hybridizes with other wild and landrace species in the primary gene pool of cultivated apple, there are a number of east Asian species near adjacent coasts spanning Alaska, Far Eastern Russia, Japan, Korea and China including M. floribunda, M. baccata, M. mandhurica, M. asiatica, M. komarovii, and M. sieboldii. And with aerial pollination some alleles and genotypes move around the North Pacific region — especially along and close to areas with mild maritime climates. And many of these gene flows are vulnerable to climate change and urbanization.

reference
Kanin J. Routson , Gayle M. Volk, Christopher M. Richards, Steven E. Smith, Gary Paul Nabhan, and Victoria Wyllie de Echeverria. 2012. Genetic Variation and Distribution of Pacific Crabapple. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 137(5): 325–332.

a large and scattered grove of seaside juniper, PETEṈILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Juniperus maritima, on S,DÁYES (Pender Island) including two trees with nearly ripe berries

Seaside juniper, Pender Island 2020 September 17 * P1010004
This was one of two of ten individuals in this landscape with ripening berries.
The smoky sky was due to the Oregon fires.

There is a landscape in the centre of North Pender Island evocative of the grasslands with lodgepole pines, with bison and mastodon, soon after the retreat of the glaciers roughly 14,000 b.p.

Seaside juniper, Pender Island 2020 September 17 * P1010055
This was one of two of ten individuals in this landscape with ripening berries.

While this endemic, island species of juniper, PETEṈILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Juniperus maritima, is relatively rare throughout its range, there are over ten trees scattered in this landscape with this pine-grassland exceptionally rare on the Gulf Islands and evocative of central British Columbia or further north.

Seaside juniper, Pender Island 2020 September 17 * P1010044
This was one of two of ten individuals in this landscape with ripening berries.

Seaside juniper, Pender Island 2020 September 17 * P1010060
This was one of two of ten trees in this landscape with ripening berries.

Of these junipers, only two were fruiting with the aromatic berries perhaps a month from the peak of ripeness.

Seaside juniper, Pender Island 2020 September 17 * P1010001
This was one of only two out of ten juniper trees, that all appeared to be under fifty years old, with ripening berries. The smoky sky was due to the Oregon fires. Surrounding these
junipers was mesic grassland with old lodgepole pines and young Douglas fir trees.

fruit of black hawthorn, MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Crataegus douglasii, a week after the peak of sweetness

2020 August 24 Douglas black hawthorn above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island P1010040

An important traditional food tree, black hawthorn, MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Crataegus douglasii, (in Canada, Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii) is also ecologically important especially for the nectar and fruit. One of the few seaside areas where this species grows on the Northwest coast of North America is the Gulf and San Juan Islands where this fruit tree established in drier times with colder winters. Consequently, this species was more important to indigenous communities east of the Coast Range.

2020 August 24 Douglas black hawthorn above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island P1010009
This area appears to have been heavily bulldozed twenty to forty years ago with the tracks
collecting sufficient water, on this sunny, south-west facing site, to allow this mesic, wetland
edge species to get established in this early seral stage of succession.

MÁT̸ŦEN ILĆ [SENĆOŦEN], Crataegus douglasii, (in Canada, Crataegus douglasii var. douglasii), is one of two black hawthorn species on the Gulf and San Juan Islands. This, the smaller species, generally produces more accessible fruit and grows in mesic (damper) areas in drier regions.

2020 August 24 Douglas black hawthorn above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island P1010012

This beautiful small tree is highly adaptable to urban and other degraded landscapes but so far has been rarely used in Coast Salish food sovereignty, permaculture and ecological restoration initiatives.

2020 August 24 Douglas black hawthorn above Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island P1010039