On September 30 PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ had an amazing group come down to do restoration at SṈIDȻEȽ.

Robert Clifford (Tsawout First Nation) invited his UVic Indigenous Law students out to participate in healing work on the W̱SÁNEĆ homelands in honour of Truth & Reconciliation Day.

We also had two wonderful youth join us as they had the day off school and brought such great energy into the group. Hope for the future!

Sarah Jim shared the story of SLEMEW̱ which is always especially beautiful on a rainy day, and talked about how ecosystem restoration is a “physical decolonization of the land”.

Decolonization is a complex concept that many people find challenging to implement in a meaningful way, as there are so many systemic barriers to overcome on our path. Restoring ecosystems is a concrete action that one can take and see an immediate benefit, and take one step forward on that long road.

Together we were able to clear a huge amount of invasive plants away from the young KÁȾEȽĆ (oceanspray), PEPKIYOS (snowberry) and DEḴEṈIȽĆ (thimbleberry) that are naturally regenerating in this little corner of the forest, as well as the XPÁ (cedar) we have planted here.

Many powerful & heartfelt reflections were shared by the wonderful participants at the end of the day. The trauma of residential schools is far from over, and indigenous community members are still living with that legacy every day. It is important that everyone shares the burden of this reality so real healing can take place.

The act of restoration deeply inspired us all as we worked together in community, pulling invasive species out from the roots, just as we need to address the core issues of systemic injustice in order to create the space needed for native ecosystems & communities to thrive.

HÍ,SW̱KE SII,ÁM 🌲🙏🏽💚

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Website – pepakenhautw.com

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