Register NOW for Tapestry’s Changemakers in Action: Climate Across the Curriculum conference at Belmont Secondary on Friday, February 16, 2024. 

This conference is for K-12 Teachers and Community Educators. It will be held from 8:30 to 3 PM on Friday,, February 16

Living Lab staff and network partners are excited to be presenting two workshops at this exciting event:  

  1. Land-Based Learning
  2. Decolonizing Curriculum

Registration info is located here:

This event is proudly hosted by SSEEPSA – the Salish Sea Environmental Educator Professional Specialists Association. 


Featured Photo (Core Production Team @ ĆELÁṈEN TŦE ṮEṮÁĆES Premiere at First People’s House)

On December 11th, the Living Lab community embraced a heartwarming and inspiring public film launch and presentation night, connecting 90-100 attendees at the First Peoples House, Ceremonial Hall at UVIC. 

ĆELÁṈEN TŦE ṮEṮÁĆES, translating to “Birthright/heritage of/to/for our relatives of the deep” in SENĆOŦEN, refers to the islands in the Salish Sea in the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ and Coast Salish territory. The film features S,ḴŦAḴ (Mayne) and S,DÁYES (Pender) Islands. The film’s co-directors are SXEDTELISIYE (Renee Sampson) & Tye Swallow from the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board and WSANEC elders. Videographer Alex Harris is from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.



The videos were produced by the ṮEṮÁĆES Revitalization Project, co-led by the Southern Gulf Island Community Resource Centre (CRC) and the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board (WSB) with core funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC. Other funding and in-kind support were provided by several community partners, including the W̱SB, W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council, PEPAKEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the Living Lab Network and UVic, the South Pender Historical Society and the Capital Regional District.

The land sovereignty video, in particular, draws upon traditional knowledge and SENĆOŦEN language to help settlers understand that W̱SÁNEĆ people belong to the land and have for time immemorial. The video clearly explains why colonial notions of land ownership do not apply to W̱SÁNEĆ’s relationship with ṮEṮÁĆES.

The evening began with the animated ŦEŦÁĆES Origin story produced by PENAC Underwood, followed by ĆELÁṈEN TŦE ŦEŦÁĆES, a feature video focused on the W̱SÁNEĆ worldview, history and their relationship with their traditional territory focused on ṮELEṮÁĆES (Gulf Islands). 

Respected W̱SÁNEĆ community members, including Elders SELILYEA (Belinda Claxton) and J’SINCTUN (John Elliott) and film animator/artist PENAC Underwood, shared reflections and critical messages, offering visions for the future.

Mavis Underwood

Mavis Underwood

Mavis Underwood, a W̱SÁNEĆ community member and LLab Advisor, discussed her recent Ph.D. research project in ȾIX̱EṈ/ȾEL¸IȽĆ-Cordova Bay, emphasizing the necessity of community-driven archaeology and land-based programs for true decolonization based on justice and healing.

Featured academic knowledge holders from the film included Robert (YELḰATŦE) Clifford, a WSANEC community member and Law Professor at UBC, and Darcy Mathews, EStudies Professor at UVic, who was also present at the premiere. 

The WSANEC School Board recognizes the films’ impact and is committed to making the videos publicly available in the New Year, extending understanding and awareness to a broader audience.

Living Lab would like to thank the event partners for their support in bringing this event to life and everyone who participated in making the evening a success. Thank you!


Living Lab at Concordia

Crossposted from The University of Concordia. 

Indigenous youth, students and researchers gather for an empowering 5-day Concordia summer institute.

‘We are coming together to share our cultures, be visible and make some noise’
June 21, 2023

Youth from more than 10 Indigenous nations recently came together on Concordia’s Sir George Williams Campus as well as on the land in Kahnawá:ke for a unique summer institute.

The summer institute, called Pathways of Indigenous Youth, provided participants with an inspiring week of dialogue, learning, sharing of cultural knowledge, craft-making and collaboration focused on empowering the next generation.


Desiree Jones

Reflections by W̱SÁNEĆ  –  Lummi Nation Member 
Desiree Jones

Breaking colonial boundaries and creating space to be back out on our traditional homelands is an approach to foster healing and reconciliation into existence; through this we can also reconnect with our relatives who reside across those border boundaries, as well as reconnecting and becoming familiar with the land that our ancestors often resided on and held knowledge of. Recently I had the opportunity to go to W̱ȾȺ,EMEṈ with the W̱SÁNEĆ Secondary School, Living Lab, White Swan Environmental, as well as Western Washington University. By bringing our W̱SÁNEĆ and Lummi communities together we were able to share songs, stories, and language, all of which are a direct connection to our ĆELAṈEN — our past, our identities, and our ancestors.

These aspects alone play a vital role within the healing and mending of these connections that we hold as First Nations. Through this experience I was able to create many connections not only with our SĆÁLEĆE, but also with the land and my history as a W̱SÁNEĆ woman, and continuing to create opportunities such as this for the youth and future generations is a testimony to our resilience which can dismantle the barriers that were placed upon us by colonialism. W̱ȾȺ,EMEṈ will not only hold a place in my heart, but also the youth who will be the future generations to keep carrying on our traditions of getting out to our ṮEṮÁĆES.”


ByDesiree Jones, W̱SÁNEĆ and Lummi Nation. W̱SÁNEĆ School Board Senior Language Apprentice and Living Lab – WSB staff  liaison

Community Celebration on Monday, April 17, 2023

Living Lab celebrated its Community Celebration on Monday, April 17, 2023, with around 50 network partners attending the First People’s House at the University of Victoria. The event marked the first in-person gathering since February 2020, where attendees were welcomed with tea, snacks, and an opening speech by Butch Dick, an Indigenous Elder and education leader from the Songhees Nation. He spoke about returning to outdoor and land-marine-based learning and creating positive community and climate action-accredited programs rooted in awareness and respect for Indigenous stewardship, knowledge, laws, and sovereignty. 


Other speakers and visual presentations shared updates and priorities, including Living Lab’s commitment to supporting front-line land-based learning practices in regional communities and schools, collaboration with ṮEṮÁĆES/The Salish Sea, and a new community-led research and policy program to support community supports and system changes. In addition, the Living Lab’s umbrella regional partners from PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱, W̱SÁNEĆ School Board and SD # 61 Indigenous Education shared their visions and upcoming projects.

Click on the Report for a more detailed list of speakers, pictures, and update on our partner’s programs.

Thank you to all of our supporters and funders.