A weekly summertime event celebrating the traditional land and history of Coast Salish people is back in full swing.
Hosted by Parks Canada, the Coast Salish Campfire series has returned to North Saanich.
Every Saturday until Aug.31, visitors to McDonald Campground can learn from Coast Salish knowledge holder MENEŦIYE Elliot and a Parks Canada Interpreter through the sharing of traditions, stories, songs and s’mores.
As dusk falls over the park, visitors will gather around a campfire (propane during fire ban season) to learn the incredible stories of the Coast Salish traditional territory. This year, those stories focus on the significance of clam gardens – beaches tended and harvested from by Coast Salish people for thousands of years throughout the Salish Sea.
“They are adapted areas of the coastline that have been transformed by a rock wall that’s at the lowest tide line,” explained Parks Canada restoration engagement coordinator Allison Stocks, the interpreter who discusses clam gardens and restoration efforts at the weekly campfire.
“[The campfires] are great because you get a sense of community,” Stocks said. “It’s in a beautiful location…but more than anything, I think people will get a sense of the history and culture of the area that they might not have known beforehand.”
Stocks advises coming a bit early to get a good spot around the campfire. She says visitors should bring a flashlight and “a sense of curiosity.”
Coast Salish Campfires are held every Saturday from July 6 to Aug. 31 from 7 to 8 p.m.
Parks Canada asks attendees to park at the adjacent Blue Heron Park and follow signs through the forest to the campground, meeting at the group campfire ring.