the apple gene pool at KEXMIN field station

modern apple cultivar nearly in bloom, KEXMIN field station 2018 May 3 photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

While the focus at KEXMIN field station is often on wild native species, especially food plants stewarded by the Salish, the Eurasian apple cultivar, Malus pumila, such as the one recently planted here, is in the primary gene pool of Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, the native apple of North-western North America (that continues to thrive from California, along the Pacific, to north of Japan). In contrast to the red in the buds of this European cultivar, those of the Pacific crabapple are a uniform ivory with not even hints of pink.

While we are engaged in propagation of Pacific crabapple, scores of individuals and a number of ‘groves’ thrive nearby.

 

blossoms of Pacific crabapple, Malus fusca, Ruckle Provincial Park 2018 May 1 Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

edible rice-root, Fritillaria affinis, at the northern end of the Cowichan village site on Burgoyne Bay

2018 April 23 blooming of edible rice-root, Fritillaria affinis, at the northern end of the Cowichan village site on Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island

In rural-suburban interface areas, such as Salt Spring Island, populations of these rice-root are now too low for traditional Salish food harvesting.

Deciphering Salish lines on the land

2018 March 25 above W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ (elevation 80 m), Reginald Hill, Salt Spring Island

These rectangular stone enclosures, at 80 metres elevation on terraces above the village site of W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ on Salt Spring Island, suggests cultivated beds of bulbs, such as camas and chocolate lily, and carrot-like roots including KEXMIN (Lomatium nudicaule) and yampah (Perideridia gairdneri). The small size of these beds, with each less than 80 cm X 40 cm, and the lack of deep earth suggest horticultural more than funerary sites.

There are numerous other archaeological sites in nearby valleys, hills and islands that go back at least 7,000 years. W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ was occupied for millennia until residents were forcibly evicted from their own homes by the Government of Canada in 1923. The W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ village site, established as an Indian Reserve in 1873, is not currently inhabited but continues to be carefully protected and stewarded by the Tsawout First Nation of Saanichton, British Columbia.

2018 March 25 above W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ (elevation 80 m), Reginald Hill, Salt Spring Island
2018 March 25 above W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ (elevation 80 m), Reginald Hill, Salt Spring Island
2018 March 25 above W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ (elevation 80 m), Reginald Hill, Salt Spring Island

 

 

Planting KEXMIN seed, Lomatium nudicaule, in the roughgarden of the field station with the waxing of the full moon

2018 March 1 KEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule & Camassia leichtlinii seeds

Planting KEXMIN seed, Lomatium nudicaule, in the field station’s roughgarden, with the waxing of the full moon, with the small dark seeds of giant camas, Camassia leichtlinii

2018 March 1 KEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule & Camassia leichtlinii seeds
2018 March 1 KEXMIN, Lomatium nudicaule montage of stripes in seeds

Ottawa never ‘did the work’ to hear out Indigenous concerns over Trans Mountain pipeline

A W̱SÁNEĆ  elder listens during a rally outside the Federal Court of Appeal where a hearing about the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is taking place, in Vancouver, BC, on October 2, 2017 photograph by DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ottawa never ‘did the work’ to hear out Indigenous concerns over Trans Mountain pipeline: lawyer

 

Camille Bains. 2017. Ottawa never ‘did the work’ to hear out Indigenous concerns over Trans Mountain pipeline: lawyer. Globe and Mail (OCTOBER 2, 2017). 

 

leaves of Pacific dogwood, kwit-xulhp [Cowichan – Island Hul’q’umi’num’], Cornus nuttallii, in Lhukwlhuwus, Fly-Away-Place, Humet’utsun, Salt Spring Island

leaves of Pacific dogwood, kwit-xulhp [Cowichan – Island Hul’q’umi’num’], Cornus nuttallii, in Lhukwlhuwus, Fly-Away-Place, Humet’utsun — in the southern parcel of Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve — The bark was often used in medicines. These leaves appear to be the second leafing of 2017 perhaps associated with the first rains in nearly three months.

ripening Pacific crabapple, ḴÁ¸EW̱ (SENĆOŦEN), Malus fusca

Pacific crabapple 2017 August 10 photograph taken jointly by Jan Steinman, Ecoreality Cooperative & Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram, KEXMIN field station

ripening Pacific crabapple, ḴÁ¸EW̱ (SENĆOŦEN), Malus fusca

audio  (scroll to 372 & 373) * This is one of those very old words that is often similar in all of the 12 Salish languages.

This crabapple fruit is ripening quickly in the recent summer heat (after a late spring) and is roughly four to six weeks from maximum size (roughly twice the size of the fruit in this image) — along with  optimal sugar content and ‘crunch’. After that peak of ripeness, the crabapples will become soft and by late October will begin to drop — as well as the seed being dispersed through various fruit-eating birds and mammals.

location: Salt Spring Island on the north side of Beaver Point Road between King and Forest Ridge Roads

W̱SÁNEĆ & Hul’qumi’num clam garden, Russell Island, Gulf Islands National Park

This site is barely two kilometres south of KEXMIN field station and is being restored through cooperation of W̱SÁNEĆ governments and Gulf Islands National Park.

Nathan Cardinal, manager of resource conservation at Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, said he discourages the view of parks as pristine or untouched. “All these landscapes were actively managed by First Nations for millennia,” he said. One of his goals is to “change some of the common perception of Indigenous people as people who were hunter-gatherers to people who were effectively resource managers, just as I’m doing today,” he said.

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