Learn more about the Marine Guardians and the work they’re doing to help save the KELL̵OLEMEĆEN. Click play to view the short video, or read the transcript below.
Interviewer: Can you tell us a bit about who you are and where you’re from?
My name is Patrick Elliot, and I’m from Tsartlip First Nation, and my mom’s side is from Lheidli T’enneh First nation. Yeah, I’ve been here my whole life.
Hi, my name is Maxwell Pelkey. My traditional name is Lemlomelek. I come from Tsawout First Nation. I also carry a second name from Alberta, from the Blackfoot Tribe where I am from on my mom’s dad’s side, and that name is Mosuneechie.
Hello, my name’s Mathias Sampson. I come from the Tsartlip Nation on my dad’s side, and on my mother’s side, I come from the Cowessess Nation of Saskatchewan. Was raised here my whole life, born in Alberta, moved back and forth, but now here I am.
Interviewer: What are your roles at the Marine Guardians?
Our role is to, for me, it’s to restore the relationship between the, the whales, the KELL̵OLEMEĆEN and the Saanich people, and also working with like-minded allies to help the whales thrive and protect them from negative impacts of the industry.
My role is Marine Guardian, and we are gonna be monitoring and doing research on the southern resident killer whales. Right now we’re in the process of doing drone training. Me and Mathias have our SVOP, a small vessel operator proficiency ticket and our radio operator ticket, so we can drive the boat, that’s up to 60 tons or 12 passengers.
So my role for the future here will be a Marine Guardian. We will help monitor the killer whales, southern residents, or the transients. Help monitoring, uh, whale boat companies, big cargo ships, other boaters, just help monitoring, make sure they’re not getting too close, destroying the ecosystem and ruining the opportunity for the killer whales to fish or hunt.
Interviewer: What kind of impact do you hope to have?
In my role, mostly protecting the whales from impacts of industry. We’ve been doing a lot of Zoom meetings lately with DFO and the government of Canada. Yeah, I feel like my main goal is ensuring they have an adequate food supply. And as you may know, the king salmon, they’re slowly declining in population, so my main goal is to bring that back so we can have the relationship between the Saanich people and the whales.
The role I hope to achieve is that we can restore the KELL̵OLEMEĆEN to how they were, help restore the numbers eventually. I also want to help restore their food supply, help restore the areas that they travel within because that should be like the most protected area if they’re put on the endangered species list. I also wanna work towards hopefully restoring the bond that us as First Nations people had with the KELL̵OLEMEĆEN at one point. I want to just all around, do my best, to do what’s best for the whales.
My goal in this program is to reinsure that we have the KELL̵OLEMEĆEN around in the future, to ensure that my kids and their kids can see these beautiful creatures, what they can do, what they do, and how unique they are. And a big goal in this program is, you know, to make sure our waters are safe and sure that people are doing the right things and not polluting our waters. It’s very concerning out there, so my big impact is to hopefully pass on the generations and generations of experience, knowledge, and doing my best to ensure that our people have that connection in the long run.
Interviewer: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Right now, us three and David, we’re trying really hard, are really pushing for DFO and Transport Canada for them to hold themselves accountable for the decisions that they’re making and like the ways they’re going about things,
You know, David’s played a big part in this. He’s really gotten this program running. He’s been busting his pride off, he’s been doing a really good job. He’s a really good person at heart, and we see that. It’s gonna be a fun run for sure.