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guide about people booklet Hul'q'umi'num'


Great Blue Heron

Lindsey Wilson, Knowledge Holder, Hwlitsum First Nation
49.068143, -123.153311

This is my sacred place

Lindsey Wilson in conversation with Amy-Claire Huestis and Bruce Granville Miller

Video Transcript 1 / Canoe Pass, June 2022

Amy-Claire: Where is the cannery housing?

Lindsey: So the big cannery was there, so over here - I'll get you pictures as well cause I got pictures of like my Grandpa on the dock, Granny and Grandpa in front of the cannery. But they were right up there, right?

Amy-Claire: They were up here in the trees?

Lindsey: Up there. Yep, right along there, there was cannery houses just along the other side and then these pilings here was where the big cannery was on. OK? The big cannery. Like the big shed and then there was like a big flat dock here where they had bluestone tanks on it. Bluestone tanks were the big tanks where we washed our nets in. And then right here there was boatways, so you could haul your boats up, right? and then work on ‘em. And actually when I was a kid living here, I was about 3 or something, or 4, and I actually fell between the boatways and I landed in the mud and Jerris's dad came down and rescued me. I jokingly telling Jerris, yeah, pretty lucky it was low water ‘cause I landed in the mud [laughs]. But we have a very very strong connection to here, and with all due respect to everybody, our Tsawwassen cousins included, this is Wilson territory, for lack of a better term. Right? This is where it was.

Bruce Miller: You and Jerris are mud brothers.

Lindsey: There you go. Right? We used to run up and down the river with our pellet guns shooting helldivers,1 trapping muskrat, hunting ducks and of course fishing. And all the brothers, the older brothers like grandpa and Uncle Frank we all had our places where we anchored before the opening across there. Grandpa was in a wheelchair so we'd wheel him down, he'd sat in his steering wheel. And Uncle Rock was a young strapping young buck around 20. I was around 12. We all fished together. Granny. Yep. So this is what they call Brunswick Point now. We didn't call it Brunswick Point we just called it the Brunswick. This is Canoe Pass. When I went to the Aboriginal Leadership development course our teacher Kirsten Mikkelsen, she's from UVIC and there was a part of the course and they wanted us to submit our sacred place and now as I reflect on it, this is our, this is my sacred place. Not only Canoe Pass, but like right here. And I've had such a connection. My cousin Danny, Terry's son, I was tied up to that piling, just tied up there, and the tide was flooding in like it is now and he says, yeah I seen Lindsey tied up to the piling with a big tear in his eye. Because this is where all the stories were shared with us, Grandpa's stories, right?

1 Also known as grebes.

Video Transcript 2 / Canoe Pass, June 2022

Lindsey: So, we reverted to was our summer camp right? and then we stayed, right?. This is where we stayed. Fishing for sockeye. it was all dispersed, all from the residential schools, the bombing and then the residential schools, right? And then like I said it was law that natives could not fish and make money to provide for their families so we had to say we weren't Indians.

Amy-Claire: You said you weren't Indians?

Lindsey: We weren't Indians. So we could fish and provide for our families.

Bruce MIller: They passed a law saying the Indians of Vancouver Island could not come down on the Fraser to fish but the irony was they weren't recognized so they could continue. So in some respects they were able to continue traditional activities longer than the Cowichan.

Amy-Claire: The wisest decision and the way to earn a living was to not have status as an Indigenous person.

Lindsey: Yeah if you were a Native, you weren't allowed to fish and sell your product. That was the law. The late Ernie Rice told us the same thing happened over in Malahat. You couldn't work at the mill in Saanich Inlet to provide so you had to say you weren't Native.