KEXMIN field station: mission

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

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

“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  

The spelling for the Tsawout in their language, SENĆOŦEN

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.

KEXMIN Salish Sea logo

We are currently developing and discussing a mission statement.

contact: kexminfieldstation@gmail.com

Solidarity with indigenous communities engaged in their territories on Salt Spring Island

Mr. Robert Birch
XXX McLennan Drive
Salt Spring Island V8K 1X3

2017 June 12

RE: Forms of solidarity for supporting indigenous governments as part of living on the Salt Spring Island

Dear Robert,
‘Nice to receive those notes about working with First Nations with territories on Salt Spring Island. Below are a few additional points.

There is no generic ‘Unesco status’ but rather a number of Unesco-related programmes such as

World Heritage Sites (such as the Ninstincts Villages on the West Coast of Gwaii Haanas National Park / Haida Nation) and

Biosphere Reserves (that include Clayoquot Sounds [and has provided little or no additional protection] and part of the Salish Sea with some small islands north of Nanaimo up towards Parksville).

All that work is coordinated by Canadian committees, coordinated from Ottawa, advisory groups that have been increasingly partisan in its politics. I’ve worked with both programmes both in Paris and in Ottawa — and I don’t expect any new WHSs and BRs around the Salish Sea in the coming years partly because…

There are a host of new ‘joint management’ protected areas efforts being initiated / re-asserted and led by First Nations. And there was a planning process begun in 2005 that involves much of the wild West Coast of SSI in treaty negotiations. And all these initiatives could move much more quickly once BC signs on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of. Indigenous Peoples (if the New Democrat / Green government were to form).

As someone who grew up in a First Nation with territory at the Deep South-East of Salt Spring, I’d like to caution people in reaching out to the five First Nations (involving two Salish languages as different as English and German) — without first engaging in some self-reflexive research and studying the important work that is already going on.

The historical and contemporary relationships of these very different FNs to Salt Spring are asymmetrical and fluid. The Cowichan have made a deep commitment to living and teaching back in Burgoyne Bay part of the year (and it was only a summer village) and will hopefully put a houseboat in there. I have been working with the Cowichan Nation on protecting the Hwmet’utsum (Mount Maxwell) cultural landscapes spanning the two provincial parks and the ecological reserve. The Tsawout keep tabs on the federal lands reserved for their large, historic W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ village site that extended east to Bridgman Road (and will crack down on dogs in the coming years). Similarly the Chemainus, Penelakut, and Lyackson are increasingly involved again with the north end of SSI. So the best way to ‘work’ with FNs elders and governments is to engage in deep research and learning about what’s already going on.

The three most important ways to work with these five First Nations (and remember that the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) were broken up artificially into five communities with historic ties to Salt Spring so we’re up to 10 different FNs offices) is to provide solidarity around:

1. reassertion of First Nations’ joint ownership of large portions of public lands on Salt Spring;

2. reassertion of food gathering and related land management (already going on) of large portions of public lands on Salt Spring; and

3. (with an acute indigenous housing shortage on all sides of Salt Spring) accelerating indigenous repopulating and diversified housing options on Salt Spring Island (for folks that haven’t felt too welcome on this island for the last century and a half).

All of this work is already being pursued by FNs in relationship to Salt Spring. Elders and FNs administrators will call on broader support and resources when they need it and want it — support from people who have done enough intellectual and personal homework to be fully trusted.

Sincerely,

Brent
Gordon Brent BROCHU-INGRAM

First day of blooms of Salish crabapple, Malus fusca, at the Cowichan village of Xwaaqw’um, Salt Spring Island

photograph by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

This was the first or second day of the bloom of the grove of Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, at Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island — on May 6, 2017 (in an unseasonably cool and late spring). Part of the Cowichan village of Xwaaqw’um that is increasingly used as a tribal educational site, this grove persists through millennia of Salish land stewardship, propagation, and ownership. Today, this crabapple grove more often goes un-noticed and is vulnerable to sea level rise.

This is the only North American crabapple species that is in the primary gene pool of Eurasian apple landraces and cultivars with a distribution that extends along the North Pacific from central California to just north of Japan.

At KEXMIN field station, we are studying traditional small-tree stewardship and harvesting as well as both Salish and modern propagation approaches.

This is another Pacific crabapple blossom, at the same grove as above, at the old Cowichan village of Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island on May 11, 2017. (photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station).

salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis, blossom

a relatively late blossom (in a late spring) of salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis, just above the high-tide line at Burgoyne Bay just north of the Cowichan village, Xwaaqw’um, Salt Spring Island 2017 April 25 * photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

The Hwmet’utsum (Mount Maxwell) Protected Landscape, Salt Spring Island: Ongoing monitoring & assessment

KEXMIN field station involves scientists and conservation planners who have been conducting research on the indigenous cultural landscapes, ecosystems, and species at risk on wild South and West Coasts of Salt Spring Island, including the ecological reserves, going back to 1979.

Sansum Narrows vista from Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve, August 1993 by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

***

The current work in the area involves a number of interim reports for a range of clients.

Interim Report on the Status of Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve, as part of the Hwmet’utsum Protected Landscape, Salt Spring Island

contents

executive summary………………………………………………………………… 2

introduction & problem statement ………………………………………………….6

ecological reserve history & landscapes ……………………………………………7

some conservation roles of this ecological reserve…………………………………11

global trends & longer-term management imperatives …………………………….23

management & sites from 1973 to present …………………………………………31

destructive activities warranting timely interventions ………………………………34

some short-term solutions to minimize further damage ……………………………47

recommendations for conservation strategies, advocacy & policy………………59

Appendix One – Map of Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve………………………63

Appendix Two – A shore area of the ecological reserve…………………………….64

Some landscape ecologies of the Hwmet’utsum, Mount Maxwell & Burgoyne Bay, Cowichan cultural and conservation area & Tsing 2015 A Feminist Approach to the Anthropocene

drone video of Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve, Salt Spring Island taken by Ben Taft on January 5, 2017 in cooperation with KEXMIN field station

 

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing – A Feminist Approach to the Anthropocene: Earth Stalked by Man, November 10, 2015 Barnard Center for Research on Women, Barnard College, New York

Anna L. Tsing is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz, and the acclaimed author of several books including Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection and In the Realm of the Diamond Queen.

Pacific crabapple, qwa’upulhp (in the downriver dialect of Halkomelem), ḴÁ¸EW̱ (SENĆOŦEN), Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island

 

0 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0075 copyPacific crabapple, qwa’upulhp (in the downriver dialect of Halkomelem), ḴÁ¸EW̱ (SENĆOŦEN), Malus fusca, north of the site of the village of Xwaaqw’um, Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island 2016 August 11 & 12, photographs by Alex Grünenfelder & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

1 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_1195 2 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0587 3 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0785 4 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0876 5 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0920

 

crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0504 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0660 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0933 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_0939 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram***IMG_1155 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0068

 

crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0800 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0831 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0846 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0915 crabapple 2016 August 11 & 12 grunenfelder & ingram**IMG_0969

 

Garry oak, Quercus garryana, leaf on Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island

 

Garry oak Burgoyne Bay 2016 August 10 IMG_1051

Garry oak, Quercus garryana, leaf on Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island – This is an important tree species in drier parts of the West Coast, is sometimes a dominant in the Pacific Northwest, and ranges from south-western British Columbia to north-western Mexico. In some indigenous territories, including on Salt Spring Island, the acorns were gathered for food and processed in pits — with a suspected processing site roughly a kilometre and a half to the north of this site near the site of the Cowichan village of Xwaaqw’um at the south end of Burgoyne Bay.

‘KEXMIN’ is the SENĆOŦEN name for Lomatium nudicaule

logo KEXMIN Lomatium nudicaule

KEXMIN is one of the traditional names, in SENĆOŦEN one of the score of Salish languages, for the medicinal & ceremonial herb, Lomatium nudicaule. There are similar words for this species in other Salish languages, and different though related spellings. ‘KEXMIN’ is thought to be an early word in the Salishan languages from which contemporary Salish language originated. The ‘KEX’, often spelled with with a ‘q’ in other languages, is thought to mean ‘hex’ as in negative forebodings. And the ‘KEX MIN’ suggests a negation, removal, and cleansing of such current or future scourges. There is a broad renewal in engagement with KEXMIN as a symbol of renewal, healing, and intercultural conversations.

2008 5 25 Lomatium nudicaule a roof garden on Vancouver Harbour

2008 May 25 Lomatium nudicaule on a roof garden above Vancouver Harbour

2008 5 30 Lomatium nudicaule - Vancouver
2008 May 30 Lomatium nudicaule, Vancouver

2008 5 30 Lomatium nudicaule with window Vancouver
2008 May 30 Lomatium nudicaule with window & Vancouver Harbour

2004 6 21 Lomatium nudicaule 21 6 2004 Belly-Rising-Up by Gordon Brent Ingram

2004 June 21 Lomatium nudicaule forming seed at Belly-Rising-Up, at the south-east corner SȾÁUTW̱ (Tsawout) treaty lands, Central Saanich. The seeds in late June are green and powerful. The seeds mature and dry-out in August and are gathered for ceremonies and medicine.

castle & ingram 2014 Lomatium nudicaule flowers that become seeds

Lomatium nudicaule flowers that become seeds

 

Salish Sea 5 Lomatium spp leaves

Lomatium species are native to the West of North America and mainly occur in drier, interior areas. The San Juan and Gulf Islands, of the Salish Sea and Puget Sound, are the only region where these plants occur as part of terrestrial-marine interface ecosystems. And the northern margins of Lomatium species are on the Gulf Islands.