WLC Open House A Great Success

Earlier this summer, the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council (WLC) opened it’s doors to W̱SÁNEĆ community members for an opportunity to meet the team and learn more about the work that happens at the WLC.

Shown above the WLC team. From the back left row: Gord Elliott, Laurie Whitehead, Shauna Johnson, Marla Sampson, Joni Olsen, Dave Paul, David (SUMÉ,t) Dick, Maxwell Pelkey, Justin Fritz, Eric Pelkey, Hannah Morris, Patrick Elliott, Mathias William-Sampson

On Wednesday, June 8th, 2022, the WLC hosted an Open House serving light refreshments, door prizes and space to meet the fast growing team that shared details on the various projects they’re working on.

In the first in person, organization-wide event since COVID, each team member shared colourful posterboards and multimedia presentations, outlining the community driven projects the WLC works on on behalf of the W̱SÁNEĆ communities.  

Each team member is working on one or more files put forward by the leadership of Tsartlip, Tsawout and Tseycum on issues that affect all three communities. Broadly speaking, each file involves advocating for W̱SÁNEĆ SḴÁLS (laws) and rights and preserving cultural heritage, especially where there is provincial and municipal governmental activity within W̱SÁNEĆ territory. 

Justin Fritz, Policy / Negotiations Manager and Joni Olsen, Policy / Negotiations Analyst, gave a presentation on their work with the Victoria International Airport and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Read the report here

Shown above: Eric Pelkey, Community Engagement Coordinator, shares a posterboard of his many initiatives and recent work in the community.

Laurie Whitehead, Referrals Manager, presented on the progress being made with the W̱SÁNEĆ Referrals Office including the creation of policies on how the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations will work together and consultation with Elder W̱SÁNEĆ Cultural Monitors on policies to monitor excavation and development projects in W̱SÁNEĆ territory. Read the report here

Shown above: Youth Knowledge Weaver, Hannah Morris, presents a posterboard of her work supporting W̱SÁNEĆ youth to access to their traditional land and practices, in partnership with Parks Canada.

Meanwhile in an adjacent office, right next door to the WLC head office, the QENTOL, YEN / W̱SÁNEĆ Marine Guardians Program team members shared details on their work to monitor and protect endangered KELL̵OLEMEĆEN / killer whales in keeping with the traditions of W̱SÁNEĆ in the Salish Sea. View the brochure here

Gord Elliott, Director of Operations, shared a posterboard and answered questions about the WLC organizational structure as well as staff roles.

Additionally, the Marine and Land Use Planning work done by Shauna Johnson was also on display; sharing the aggregate of community voices collected over many months of community engagement sessions. 

Finally, a newsletter summarizing the WLC’s current and future projects was available for attendees to take home after the event. Click here to view the newsletter. People will also be receiving paper copies of this newsletter soon. The WLC is looking forward to future opportunities to continue to share their work with the community.