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Tsawout First Nation to hold special ceremony at seaweed farm off James Island

The Feb. 25 ceremony recognizes the First Nation’s jurisdiction and authority
An on-water ceremony Friday will see Tsawout First Nation recognize its right to issue a seaweed-growing license to Sidney’s Cascadia Seaweed under Marine Use Law. (Cascadia Seaweed/Submitted)

A ceremony will recognize the historical claims of a local First Nations.

Tsawout First Nation will hold a ceremony on Friday, Feb. 25 recognizing its right to issue a seaweed growing license to Sidney’s Cascadia Seaweed under a marine use law enacted in June 2021.

Marine Use Law itself premises on a series of court rulings concerning Indigenous self-government and usage rights, and more broadly on the Douglas Treaties signed in the 1850s.

Tsawout First Nation issued the license in October 2021 and in November 2021, Cascadia installed and seeded what it calls one of the largest farms to date with over 20 kilometres of production lines in the water.

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The farm, covering an area 165 metres by 330 metres, is located halfway up James Island just off its western shore facing the Saanich Peninsula.

Chrissy Chen, fisheries manager for Tsawout First Nation, said in a release that Tsawout chose Cascadia Seaweed because the company offered what she called the “greenest” of the green projects.

“We are Indigenous people,” said Chen. “We are here to conserve and protect the environment while we produce food and create opportunity for our people. Cascadia Seaweed is supporting all of these objectives.”

Cascadia Seaweed’s chair Bill Collins said the company’s work with the First Nation is true reconciliation in action.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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