NIȽ TŦE SXIÁM E TŦE TUOS SW̱IḴE EṮ WSÁNEĆ EṮ SȽEMEW̱
Video by Sarah Jim and Tiffany Joseph
SṈIDȻEȽ (Tod Inlet, Gowlland-Tod Provincial Park) is an important place to the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. SṈIDȻEȽ means “Place of the Blue Grouse” in SENĆOŦEN and is the first W̱SÁNEĆ village site. J,SIṈTEN (John Elliott, Tsartlip elder) tells us the story of how SṈIDȻEȽ was actually the first W̱SÁNEĆ village site and where SLEMEW̱, the first W̱SÁNEĆ man, was placed by XÁLS the Creator.
From 1904-1913 the Portland Cement Company operated a limestone quarry in SṈIDȻEȽ, seriously impacting the lands and waters in this special place. The structures built to house management level staff were used by white settlers as homes as late as the 1950s. In the 1970s local firefighters burned down the remaining structures as a practice exercise for their crews since most of these buildings had become derelict. The remains of these buildings can be seen throughout the forests of SṈIDȻEȽ today.
PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ works in collaboration with the Tsartlip Lands Committee, BC Parks, W̱SÁNEĆ knowledge keepers and local restoration specialists to guide the restoration of this site.
Amazing volunteers from the local community, schools and organizations as well as students from ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱ Tribal School, all participate in restoring this special place. Many of the beautiful plants at the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ nursery find their homes at SṈIDȻEȽ.
The SṈIDȻEȽ Resiliency Project accepts volunteers! We are happy to host community & student groups willing to do some restoration work as part of their education; instructors are welcome to contact Judith Lyn Arney to plan a program that will fit with your course.
SṈIDȻEȽ is a sacred place; our restoration work here is a deep honouring of the land. We follow the natural processes of these forest ecosystems and this wisdom of W̱SÁNEĆ elders and knowledge keepers in our decision making, taking the time to connect to the landscape and uncover the layers of stories the land holds.
Directions to SṈIDȻEȽ -
By car: Park at the Wallace Drive gate and walk 10-15 min down the trail
By bus: Take #75 or #81 to the bus stop at the end of Benvenuto Ave (outside Butchart Gardens) and walk 5 min down the trail from the Benvenuto Ave gate