Celebrating the Salish village of W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ

KEXMIN field station above Weston Lake, southern Salt Spring Island

The main office of KEXMIN field station is a kilometre north of the Salish village of W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ that was a mixing place for speakers of two Salish languages: SENĆOŦEN and HUL’Q’UMI’NUM’.  In the 1860s, the village included three lodges and a number of large wooden sculptures that were purchased and removed by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. We celebrate this place of confluence, fusion, and innovation.

W̱EN,NÁ,NEĆ graphic

Camas, Camassia leichtlinii, re-establishing in 2014 after the 2009 lightning fire on Hwmet’utsum

2014 May 8 Camassia leichtlinii after the 2009 lightning fire midway up Hwmet’utsum at the north end of Mount Maxwell Provincial Park adjacent to Mount Maxwell Ecological Reserve  * photograph by castle & ingram


This camas, Camassia leichtlinii, a major Salish food plant, is quickly disappearing from Salt Spring Island’s Hwmet’utsum (Mount Maxwell) a historic Cowichan gathering, cultural burning, and management area. Two factors for the disappearance of camas from protected areas in the area is predator suppression leading to extremely high levels of deer browsing and fire suppression which is contributing to Douglas fir trees growing shading out Garry oak meadows. This small population was re-establishing after wildfire (that probably stimulated seed germination) in the 2009 June 12 – 15 burn area. Unfortunately, this particular clump of camas was browsed to their roots a few days after this photograph was taken and blooms on this site have not been seen since.