To Fish as Formerly: A Resurgent Journey back to the Saanich Reef Net Fishery




Claxton, Nicholas Xemtoltw

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According to W̱SÁNEĆ oral history, the W̱SÁNEĆ people have lived on their territorial homelands back to the time of creation. The W̱SÁNEĆ way of life has been passed on to each succeeding generation through an educational way, centered in large part on the W̱SÁNEĆ Reef Net Fishery. This fishing practice formed the backbone of W̱SÁNEĆ culture and society. Despite being protected by the Douglas Treaty of 1852, over the next 163 years of colonization, the knowledge, ceremony, practice, and educational way of the SX̱OLE (Reef Net) was nearly lost. Using a framework for Indigenous Resurgence, this dissertātiō or path focuses on the revitalization and restoration of the SX̱OLE. This resurgent path described herein tells the story of how the “researcher” pulled together the disappearing knowledge of the SX̱OLE, reinvigorated cross border cooperation between the W̱SÁNEĆ and their Xwelemi relatives, and how after being named ȻWENÁLYEN, or the Reef Net Captain through ceremony was able to coordinate the community based creation and fishing of the first SX̱OLE on Canadian waters in 100 years. This resurgent path is just the beginning of a long and endless journey forward by looking backward, where the W̱SÁNEĆ people can be a proud people of the SX̱OLE once again.



Indigenous, Fisheries, Reef net, Douglas Treaty, Resurgence