Stories of Saanich

Speaker series seeks to share experiences and build community.

Nick Claxton talks about the ancient fishing techniques of the Straits Salish people at the inaugural “Stories of Saanich” speaker series.

Aiming to celebrate the rich diversity of stories and people on the Saanich Peninsula, the Saanich North and the Islands Green Party constituency has launched a new speaker series called “Stories of Saanich.”

“Many of our members attended Elizabeth May’s speakers series,” said Adam Olsen, the interim leader for the B.C. Green Party. “We got the idea to feature many of the amazing people on the Peninsula.”

The series kicked off in late November with a sold-out introduction to the ancient fishing techniques of the Straits Salish people by Nick Claxton, a PhD candidate in the department of curriculum and instruction at the University of Victoria, and from the Tsawout Band of the WSÁNEC Nation.

“At Nick’s event, there were a lot of people who didn’t know a lot of the First Nations history and they were really excited to hear those stories,” said Olsen.

Next Tuesday, storyteller John Elliot, an influential member of the Tsartlip First Nation in Saanich and a language and culture teacher, will be sharing the stories of the WSÁNEC, tales that help connect listeners to their natural environment and the world view of the WSÁNEC people.

Whether the speakers are artists, businesses, entrepreneurs or authors, the intent is to bring together people and their stories and build community.

“The theme is people and their stories. We have amazing resources just right next door to us,” said Olsen. “And not a lot of people even know that much about their neighbours.”

“I think that a lot of the time, there’s someone living right around the corner from us that has the solution to the problem that we’re facing.”

Though sponsored by the Green Party, Olsen stressed that the event is non-partisan.

“It’s about the people and the amazing resources that we have on the Saanich Peninsula, and we want to celebrate those people,” he said.

The events are hosted every two months at local restaurants or coffee shops throughout the region, and seem to be growing in popularity. February’s evening with John Elliot is sold out, but next up on April 21, poets Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier will be talking about their work and writing, and June 16 will feature Andrew Loveridge talking about Dionisio Alcala Galiano, the first ethnographer of the Northwest Coast.

Tickets go on sale for the events March 1 and May 1, respectively. Those interested can RSVP online for the opportunity to purchase tickets early.

For more information or to RSVP, visit adamolsen.ca/stories_of_saanich.