Coastal championships help make important cultural connections
While the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships revolve around the sport of rowing, they have also provided an opportunity for organizers to make some important cultural connections.
The competition is taking place on the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) First Nations. Children from the community will be drumming in the opening ceremony and opening address for the 2018 WRCC in October.
Denise Sam works at ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ Tribal School. The school has almost 300 students from four W̱SÁNEĆ communities, in elementary, middle and secondary school.
We asked Denise what it means to be part of the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships:
- How did you get involved with the 2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships?
I became involved when Marla (Marla Weston from the 2108 WRCC organizing committee) came into the school office.
She was looking for a space for a banquet and she was so warm and kind we began a conversation about her plans with the upcoming rowing event.
2. How is the school involved?
There is an immersion program here teaching the SENĆOŦEN language. The discussion began with opening ceremonies, and how the children could be included in drumming and welcoming the rowing event.
My involvement right now is making local contacts within the community, including logo development, identifying drummers, assisting with video promotion, identifying vendors, and liaising with elders and connections within the community. It’s important to make the connection with the First Peoples and their traditional territory of W̱SÁNEĆ.
My involvement during the event will be on the beach, maybe riding in the spectator boat and enjoy the event to the fullest, both now and during the event.
3. Why did you want to be part of this event?
Again, my hope is the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples to be recognized. Also, I was taught from a young age to participate and lend a helping hand.
4. What are you most looking forward to?
I like to meet new people from different cultures and appreciate having this opportunity. I am especially looking forward to being on the spectator boat and cheering for my favourite team.
Thanks for your help, Denise! It’s people like you who make events like these a success.
It takes a village to launch an event like 2018 WRCC.
Huge thank you to the Tsartlip First Nations paddlers, Victoria City Rowing Club, Roll.Focus. Productions and Tourism Victoria for helping make our promotional video a reality! #explorebc #coastalrowing
W̱SÁNEĆ means emerging people. It is from the flood story of the W̱SÁNEĆ people.
ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ is named after the mountain that saved the W̱SÁNEĆ people from the great flood.
Find out more about the legend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APQJnL74e5o
Here’s another way that the students at the school are involved in sharing their culture.
WATCH: Students at ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ Tribal School on the Saanich Peninsula want the traditional name added to signage at a provincial park. April Lawrence reports.
Find out more about the W̱SÁNEĆ SCHOOL BOARD and the HISTORY OF THE SENĆOŦEN LANGUAGE: