Eslhalha7kw`hiwus is a Squamish word shared with us by language keeper Rebecca Duncan, who received it from her late father. It describes how our lines are all connected: to each other, the land, the plants, and our ancestors; and it expresses the intention of our project to re-establish a respectful relationship of balance between a human community and its place through cultural sharing, art and study. We say Eslhalha7kw`hiwus as a way of saying thank you when we harvest at Trillium North, and it became the title of our eco-education project this past year.
And, what an incredible year we had with the grade 6/7 students from Lord Strathcona Elementary School. Our project wrapped up a few weeks ago, we were lucky to have Henry Charles come out and join us for our last session and this was what we said about the project, My Day with the Students from Strathcona Elementary was wonderful. Their knowledge of the plant life was amazing how well they understand the importance of natural habitat. The weaving of rope and other fibrous plants reminded myself of my youth in the 1960s the program they are running is probably one of the best I have seen of young students in their pride and knowledge of their studies of natural habitat.
Sincerely, Henry Charles Elder Musqueam First Nations
Henry was gifted a piece of rope made by one of the students and he wore it to Ottawa later that week, letting the politicians he met know it was made by a 12 year old girl learning how to work with the land in a respectful way-such an honour!
I took a moment and had a peak through a few of the sketchbooks left on the table during recess our last day and fell in love with this poem by Aaliyah
And also by this great drawing by Kiki that showed how we staked out areas for stewardship and woven circles in willow around the areas to be monitored
The students wrote parting notes to the park on hand made paper ( left over from our Kite Soil to Sky project) that we wove into the loom on site.
One of the heartwarming moments for me was having a student who struggled at various points finally have success with his weaving and say that his favourite part was learning that he liked to be outside and spending time in nature.
And our final day we had a pancake breakfast. Thanks to board member Karen Barnaby who came to flip cakes for us, while the Park Rangers came and joined in -and students taught them how to make rope!
If you want to see a thorough month by month project update of what was done, visit the monthly almanac postings here ( Hover on the Almanac title page and a drop down menu of the months will appear).
Rebecca Graham as lead witness to the project also created a wonderful final document for the project that outlines successes and challenges that can be found here.
Thanks to Melodie Flook and Jacki Mayo as project witnesses for all of their time on site with us, and to the students for their hard work and dedication.