Restoring Tl'chés: an ethnoecological restoration study in Chatham Islands, British Columbia, Canada.




Gomes, Thiago C.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Chatham Islands are part of a small archipelago, Tl’chés, off the City of Victoria, southeastern Vancouver Island (British Columbia, Canada), in the Salish Sea, territory of the Songhees First Nation. Chatham and adjacent islands comprise nationally endangered Garry oak ecosystems, supporting a wide diversity of habitats for plant and wildlife communities. Chatham Islands are childhood home of Songhees elder Joan Morris [Sellemah], raised by grandparents and great-grandparents. Tl’chés has been uninhabited and untended for over 50 years now, entering in a process of rapid environmental change and degradation after Songhees residents left to live in the main Songhees Reserve in late 1950s. Sellemah longs to see the traditional gardens and orchards she remembers at Tl’chés restored, as well as her people’s relationship with their environment, for healthier and more sustainable ways of life. This thesis honours Sellemah’s vision by exploring best approaches for intervention in heavily degraded cultural landscapes in order to promote ecological and cultural integrity and long-term sustainability for people and ecosystems in Tl’chés, combining conventional ecological approaches with traditional ecological knowledge and wisdom (TEKW), cultural and participatory investigations, in the context of ethnoecological restoration. Ultimately, this research aims to provide assistance in the restoration of ecological and cultural features in Chatham Islands and within the Songhees First Nation, revitalizing traditional ecological knowledge on the landscape and reversing trends of biodiversity and cultural losses.



ethnoecological restoration, traditional ecological knowledge and wisdom (TEKW), Garry oak ecosystems, Songhees First Nation