Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Hello all..
Just sharing some Pictures...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Feasting the Island - BCHLA

The BC Healthy Living Alliance along with Vancity is supporting this project along with many of the community members and leaders.
We have been funded by the BCHLA to develop a 'Knowledge Basket' or a tool kit to help share the stories, teachings and tips on how to bring communities together to share aroud foods. Setting the table and feasting has been apart of Aboriginal communites for hundreds of years. We are taking what the Elders asked us to do and bringing the youth and Communities together around food, land and culture.

The Knowledge Basket will include the digital story and the slideshow with over 400 pictures of local people enjoying food, sharing skills and knowledge and having fun. It will also have an event planning checklist, food bingo, draw prize questions, feast invitations, elder invitations and poster templates. We have been using these resources to help up island nations Feast for Change and had our first Feast last Wed in Snaw-naw-as. It was amazing. Pictures and summary to follow! What a community!

We will be putting all of our learnings on DVD so communities can access this. We will be gifting all the nations in BC with the DVD and selling the DVD to other communities across BC. Above picture is a draft cover of the Basket.
We hope to have it available soon and hope to be sharing it with all of BC at the 10th Annual BC Food Systems Conference in Chehalis this September.

Snaw-naw-as Feast - The Adventures of Hawk and Doug on Feasting for Change

The day started off beautifully. There was a great energy in the air as vegetables were being prepared and fires started at 8 am for the Feasting for Change day in Snaw-naw-as, Nanoose community on August 12, 2009. The community members, lead by Vanessa Bob (the Community Program Manager) and the Feasting for Change working group members had been planning for a couple of months to host a Feasting for Change event.

Two main organizers for the day were the Youth workers, Doug and Hawk. I spoke with them to see what their thoughts on the day were.

"Awesome" was the word Doug used to describe every part of the day! "It was so nice to have the families and friends together and having good times around our food". Hawk added "It was a day about culture. Everything we did was about our culture..."

I asked the guys what their favourite part of the day was...

Doug - "Eating the food, fish and crab and the raw oyster's too"
Hawk - "Eating the crab for sure. Only about 2 of my friends eat seafood.... but that day, all of them were eating seafood it was so great to see!"

The community members all got together to put together the pit cook. It was amazing! Both youth and elders had jobs in the line for putting together the pit. Those who were not directly in the "line-up" helped support by watching and helping wherever they could. It was beautiful to hear the voice of Della Rice Sylvester throughout the day with her beautiful songs of prayer and thanks.

After the Pit was covered, we had the opportunity to take part in a Nature Walk with a truly knowledgeable community member, Jim Cook. Hawk mentioned that "we haven't done a Nature Walk in a long time.... it was interesting and we learned some new skills". There was a beautiful exchange of knowledge between both elders and youth and knowledge keepers in the group about different plants and berries. "Awesome" was how Doug described it!

Then came the exciting event of the day the "Fear Factor"! The idea was to offer traditional foods, some raw, some cooked, including salmon, octopus, oysters and crab to those that signed up. The winner was the first to finish their plate with nothing left in their mouth, and they would win a Nintendo Wii! The sign up was incredible; 18 people! It was a very close match "Our own Youth Leader, Doug was the winner!" Hawk mentioned that the "participation was so good that day".

After the pit was uncovered by the help of many hands, we moved to the hall where a Feast was definitely awaiting! There were crabs and salmon - cooked a few different ways, beautiful vegetables from the pit, salads, Debbies famous fry bread, Blackberry sauce (this came from blackberries picked by Doug and Hawk and the little ones from the daycare), and corn. Hawk mentioned that "people don't really get together a lot anymore, as a community, but everyone was together that day".

There was such a sense of pride and community in within the smiles of those that were at that dinner. One of the effects of the day was summed up by Hawk : "It makes me want to have my own garden, growing your own food instead of buying it from a store. Like peas, I didn't think I liked peas because I only had the ones from the store, but I LOVE the ones from the garden!".

Feasting for Change Working Group Meetings

Everyone Welcome

On the First Monday of Every month the Feasting for Change group has a 2 hour meeting to share, discuss and explore what is happening the the communities around food. The meeting is held at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre from 2-4 on the First Mondays of each month. The summer months have caused us to be flexible as many stat holidays happen on those days.

We come together and talk about ideas, funding and opportunities. At our last meeting we talked about some exciting new ideas like celebrating the Gorge water way education centre with a feast and pit cook lead by Earl Claxton JR and his wonderful students Raven, Josh and Thomas. We also make teas from dried medinices and plants we collected from our trip to Quadra. It was wonderful.

We are having a special September meeting on the 14th from 1-4 at the VNFC and great supported and visionary Danella Parks from Vancity is coming to chat with us about Social Enterprise and how viewing community work from this lens can help support communities in a great way. Anyone welcome just let us know.
Each meeting, Carrie Pollard the HEAL worker and kitchen coordinator for the friendship centre makes us some healthy local goodies.
For more information about Carrie's HEAL - Healthy Eating, Active Living Program contact her at 230-384-3211.
For Feasting meetings 250-370-8258 and ask for Fiona

Quadra Island Retreat and Harvesting Event

On July 19th and July 20th some of the members of the Feasting for Change working group came together on a road trip to Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge on Quadra Island. http://www.capemudgeresort.bc.ca/. There were 10 of us. Some from the Scianew First Nation, Tsawout, Pauquachin and an Elder from the Tsartlip Nation.

Elder Anna Spahan has always been encouraging us to take a trip there to see how amazing the area is and help all of us to connect to nature. The Wai Kai First Nation was contacted to see if we could visit their territory and collect some medicines.

We arrived at around 3 pm and settled into our rooms to relax in the amazing view for a few hours. Some of us were wading in the ocean, others in the hot tub and more of us in the great swinging chair or chairs over looking the ocean.

We then had a delicious dinner highlighting many traditional foods. Ie cedar planked salmon, crab, bison steak, mixed fish stir fry and fry bread and berries for dessert.

We then walked around the lodge and Anna Spahan and John Bradley Williams led us in a plant walk. John and Leanne from the local Nation also joined us to share their wisdom and stories.

The next morning we woke and ate together and shared stories. We then gathered our things and went out to pick mullein, native blackberry, salmonberry, thimbleberry leaves and much more.

We are currently drying the tea and making small packages of tea for gifts at our feasts and to sell to help with the cost of food at events.

It was so wonderful to get away together and create memories and great friendships.

Camus Harvest with UVIC

For the week of July 13th-17th Kate Proctor a Uvic Masters Student invited some of us out to help harvest Camus.

Many of the working group members made it up to Duncan to be involved in this great experience.

Kate emailed us some of her knowledge: Camas bulbs were traditionally harvested by First Nations Peoples on Vancouver Island and other places throughout western North America in
great quantities for food. The Garry oak meadows, where camas grows, were actively managed to increase the productivity of camas and to maintain a landscape that supported other useful plants and animals. After the arrival of European settlers in North America, traditional
landscape management and harvesting of camas and other culturally important plants by First Nations communities has been greatly reduced and in many cases completely prevented.

This camas harvest was part of her graduate research at the University of Victoria. The intention of her research is to better understand how harvesting camas bulbs and burning post-harvest affects the camas and other plants in the Garry oak meadow communities of today. A portion of he camas bulbs harvested will be replanted on the preserve this fall, in efforts to expand camas populations. The rest of the camas will be cooked in a community pit-cook at the reserve date TBA. To find out more contact Kate at: Kate Proctor [kproctor@uvic.ca]
(250) 480-1119.

Pauquachin Days

On July 10th the Pauquachin First Nation came together for the 2nd Annual Pauquachin Days.

The Feasting for Change group help support and link the community to John Bradley Williams and Earl Claxton Jr fro Tsawout to help them to a Pit Cook. The day was a huge success.

Enjoy some of the pictures!

Snitcel Community Potluck

On Saturaday June 27th, in Snitcel a sacred place for the people of Saanich we gathered to celebrate. Snitcel is commonly known as Todd Inlet and is the place of the Blue Grouse. John Bradley Williams and Earl Claxton Jr have been working hard for many years to restore and preserve this part of thier traditional territory.
John Bradley asked to work with the Feasting for Change group to bring people out to this area to feast, learn and celebrate this wonderful place. He wanted this event to focus on food and the cultural food of all nationalities. People shared their salmon, local strawberries, german potatoes, homemade bread and jams, salads, eggs and many other favorite foods.
Over 60 people came and shared the day with us. We started the event with John Bradley guiding us in putting his first pit together. Many of the young people helped gather the fern and the salah for the pit. We packed root veggies, onions and fish into the pit. John Bradley then guided the group (20 people) on a nature walk.
Earl Claxton Jr shared with us his skills and knowledge around a salmon bbq. He showed us how to cut the fish, place it on the cooking sticks and how to bbq them slowly.
The day was full of stories, sharing and learning. HIWSKE