One of the other future teachers in our cohort Shaylin sent me a link to a Native Plant workshop put on by the Campus Community Garden here at Uvic. The event featured elder Earl Claxton Jr. and PEPAḴIYE Ashley Cooper from PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Native Plants & Garden Program located at the ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ Tribal School in Brentwood Bay. ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ has 279 registered students from the 4 W̱SÁNEĆ communities, TSARTLIP. PAUQUACHIN, TSEYCUM and TSAWOUT. The garden program teaches W̱SÁNEĆ kids and youth about traditional food skills which includes traditional food ecosystems as well as vegetable gardening.
It was Earl Claxton Jr’s father Earl Claxton that wrote The Saanich Year (the book used I in my post on The 13 Moons of the Saanich Year ) and grandmother Elsie Claxton who collaborated with Nancy Turner on the book Saanich Ethnobotany which has been my guide for my inquiry into the native plants of the Saanich Peninsula.
Education Coordinator PEPAḴIYE Ashley Cooper (TSARTLIP First Nation) is a graduate of the W̱,SENĆOŦEN,IST and Indigenous Language Revitalization Program (UVic). Ashley has worked to infuse SENĆOŦEN into the Native Plants and Garden program, she has also developed curriculum for the program. Her online educational resources foster the interconnections between language and land and can be found here or you can email her at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on resources for your classroom.
Earl and PEPAḴIYE brought four plants with them from the greenhouses at PEPAKEN HAUTW . Ashley told us a bit about the plants, using their
SENĆOŦEN names and Earl told W̱SÁNEĆ legends and stories about his life on the Peninsula.
Below is a picture of each plant along with its common name. In my next post I will dive a little deeper into the traditional knowledge around each plant with the help of my Saanich Ethnobotany book.
Ashley also brought some Stinging Nettle seeds and Thimble berry cuttings. After the talk we were all invited to plant the cuttings and seeds with pots and dirt provided by the Campus Community Garden.
A set of Plant Knowledge Cards have recently been published through Strong Nations. The 72 card set highlights 65 edible and medicinal plants that can be found on southern Vancouver Island. The cards describe the traditional uses and harvesting details of each plant and features 3 Indigenous languages. These cards would make a great classroom resource and can be purchased at strongnations.com .
The Uvic Campus Community Garden (CCG) provides services like the Giving Garden program that delivers fresh vegetables to Uvic students at no cost, they also put on regular free skill building workshops, like the Native Plant workshop I attended throughout the year. Some of you may have heard about the UVSS referendum coming up on March 6th to 8th. CCG needs you to vote in the upcoming referendum to increase the amount of funding they receive so they can continue to provide services to the the Uvic community.