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Our Story

our story


It’s good you’ve arrived at the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱!

PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ translates to  “Blossoming Place” in the SENĆOŦEN language of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. We are a native plant nursery, food garden, and educational resource located in W̱JOLEȽP territory near the base of ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱ (Mt Newton). PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ is a special place where children learn vital life skills in a rich and supportive environment…. truly a place to bloom!



At PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ we offer weekly native plant & garden workshops for the students of ȽÁU,WELṈEW Tribal School and W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Secondary School in Brentwood Bay, BC. These workshops are hands-on, participatory education opportunities in which students learn how to grow native plants, garden vegetables, fruit trees and berry plants, as well as participate in ecological restoration projects in their traditional territory, learn about traditional and healthy methods of food harvest and preparation, and blossom into community champions for healthy local ecosystems!


We ensure the students have access to learning their traditional language SENĆOŦEN outside of the classroom, and are able to build and maintain healthy relationships with plants, food, and medicines from their territory.


We have also been expanding the restoration aspect of our program. Since 2014, students have been going to SṈIDȻEȽ (Tod Inlet), ȾIX̱EṈ (Cordova Spit), and ȾIKEL (Maber Flats) to participate in active restoration projects and healing the land in their traditional territory.  As of 2019, students now have the chance to apply their skills to a restoration pilot project on the ȽÁUWELṈEW̱ Tribal School grounds!



We host three school community events each year: the ĆENIȾEȽOṈSEṮ (Autumn) Harvest Feast, our Earth Day Tea Festival, and finally the ĆENQALES (Summer) Celebration in conjunction with the Tribal School’s Cultural Day!


At the ĆENIȾEȽOṈSEṮ Harvest Feast, the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Secondary School partners with PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ to put on a fantastic traditional and healthy foods feast for the the entire school as well as W̱SÁNEĆ Elders and community members. The feast includes wild salmon, clams, mussels, elk or deer when it is available, camas, squash, fish head soup, vegetable soup, fall greens, homemade salad dressings and so much more! The W̱LSS students personally invite the community Elders, pick up the beautiful vegetable donations from Saanich Organics and do most of the food preparation and serving at the feast, and put on an interactive display of teas and native plant foods with Fiona Devereaux and the Food is Medicine project for the younger students to enjoy! Ken Josephson of the UVic Community Mapping Lab puts on an super fun display of plant based art activities which is always a big hit with the younger kids, the final result being a riotous colourful map filled with language and love for nature. The students and teachers at W̱LSS work so hard to make this event an incredible success each year!


Our annual Earth Day Tea Festival is a really fun event for the Tribal School students, featuring something the kids all love so much…tea!! This event really brings in the spring for us as the ḰȽOEL (camas) is in bloom and all our favourite tea plants are leafing out and ready to harvest. The kids can also get creative at the plant art station, play and explore in the gardens freely, and taste the last of the winter vegetables and the first of the spring foods!


Kids always remember with great excitement the amazing clams barbequed by Earl at the ĆENQALES Celebration, the final event of the school year! This event operates in conjunction with the Tribal School’s Cultural Day, so the whole atmosphere of the school is filled with fun and activity. We really finish the year with a bang at this event, with a face painting station, CRD watershed model, plant and language guessing games, art and mapping table, healthy drinks station, salad and seaweed samples, and so much more. It is a sunny whirlwind of a day that weaves all the work we have done over the school year.


PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ is meant to be a resource for the W̱SÁNEĆ community and schools everywhere! Please check out our lesson plans and resources to learn more!