In Spring of 2020, Nick Claxton, Darcy Mathews, and Nick Stanger were successful in a 3-year $199K SSHRC Partnership Development Grant entitled: Indigenous Resurgence on the Salish Sea: A collaborative study of tribal and settler schools. This project is the lead research initiative in the Living Lab Network.

Over the past year, we have hired Indigenous research assistants from W̱SÁNEĆ and Songhees Nations, developed an advisory group through W̱SÁNEĆ School Board, and helped develop and support the new regional Eco-Stewardship Program and Reefnet Camp for local Indigenous youth, and liaised with Lummi Nation, and Western Washington University.

COVID-restrictions put a large damper on the scale of this project; however, the community enthusiasm and campus support have been so inspiring.

Project highlights to date include:

a. The hiring of two local Indigenous students

Desiree Jones and Lyndsey Joseph acted as research assistants and program staff for the camps this year. In addition, Mavis Underwood, a TSAWOUT elder, who is just starting her PhD in Anthropology, is a graduate research assistant with the SSHRC PDG grant.

b. Development of ethics procedures

For the Fall of 2021, we are working on ethics procedures for interviewing participants and leaders who led the Summer 2021 Land and Sea experiences including Darcy Mathew’s work on Tl’Ches (Chatham Islands), Living Lab youth and program staff in the Eco-Stewards Program, and the Reefnet Project.

c. New programming

We are also working on supporting the development of Land and Sea-based programming with the Redfish School of Change model in partnership with the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board (WSB) and the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Secondary School. This work will have participatory action research built into the learning process. Together with the support of the Living Lab Network and the TETACES Project this field school pilot compliments the development of built and program infrastructure on the land and waters for eco-cultural restoration and learning in the Salish Sea.

d. Continued partnerships

We are continuing to develop partnerships and collaboration with the Lummi Tribal School and the Samish Nation (in the U.S.) who also run youth field schools and programs.

e. New grant proposals

We have drafted a research proposal for a Partnership Grant from SSHRC amongst Coast Salish and universities in the Salish Sea.