As part of our mandate, the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council regularly features W̱SÁNEĆ community members who work to enhance recognition and respect for W̱SÁNEĆ culture.

Beangka is a WSÁNEĆ traditional knowledge holder dedicated to sharing the cultural knowledge that has been passed down to her.

Beangka Elliott is passionate about community work, social justice, Indigenous food systems, land stewardship, consent-based practices, and collective decision making. Her work is grounded in her cultural values and decolonial learning.

The daughter of master carver Charles Elliott (Tsartlip First Nation) and Myrna Crossley (Songhees and Esquimalt Nations), Beangka grew up in Tsartlip, immersed in WSÁNEĆ family, culture, and traditions

Beangka has a diverse education and career background, dedicating her time to sharing traditional knowledge of Indigenous foods and medicines through workshop-based learning. For the last ten years, she’s been conducting outdoor education and culture classes, connecting family, friends and community.

We caught up with Beangka on a Friday afternoon, just as she was about to run some errands. Recently, in the wake of COVID-19, she’s been facilitating on-line lessons on indigenous plants, language, art and culture. We asked her about these courses:

“I’ve been working with Heather Hastings, Tsartlip’s Community Health Nurse, to create a series of culture classes available online. We had two language classes, with the goal of being able to introduce yourself and the second one, of being able to say small phrases”

The series also contained a course on plant medicine with PEPAKIYE / Ashley Cooper and two introductory courses on Coast Salish art taught by Bear Horn / Doug LaFortune and Charles Elliott. 

Check out Beangka’s past presentations on Stinging Nettle or Pit Cooking (below) and the programming she develops as the Administrative Coordinator at Xpey’ Wellness.

On top of all this, Beangka is an Indigenous youth leader and spokesperson, spearheading such initiatives as Project Reclaim: a youth-led initiative that pairs younger generations with elders to lead discussions around topics such as gender, consent, sexuality and even the safe use of party drugs.

Beangka is regularly asked to speak at and facilitate workshops and public lectures that inspire both Indigenous people and settlers to develop an understanding of the ongoing impacts of colonization. She strives for a shared vision of health and wellness in Indigenous communities.

Beangka Elliott was one of the post-film panelists at The Guardians screening.  Photo: Island Pollinator Initiative

Beangka credits her elders for all she’s learned, including: Merna Crosley, Elise Krohn, Lee Joseph, Kristin and James Miskelly, John Elliott, Earl Claxton, Jr. She encourages anyone who would like information about her upcoming workshops and events to email her at beangkaelliott@gmail.com or to watch the Tsartlip Health Facebook Page and Xpey’ Health Facebook Page for announcements.

Upcoming program details are below:

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“I’ve been working with Heather Hastings, Tsartlip’s Community Health Nurse, to create a series of culture classes available online. We had two language classes, with the goal of being able to introduce yourself and the second one, of being able to say small phrases”