We respectfully acknowledge that we are settlers on the stolen land of the Cheam, Seabird Island, Kwaw-kwaw-a-pilt, and Skwah First Nations. We are committed to building strong relationships with the First Nations of this area while working to decolonize ourselves and our relationship with the land.
We include this page on our website
To express our commitment to decolonization and our understanding of what that means, and to share the steps we've taken.
To share our journey of Indigenous education, decolonization and allyship with our Community Agriculture members, our larger network of friends, and with others who are interested in a similar journey.
The term decolonization is not widely understood in our mainstream culture, as it has many meanings and interpretations and encompasses a shift in aspects of both being and doing. If we remain rooted in colonial perspectives when we define decolonization, there is a danger of being drawn into performative activism with no commitment to personal change or meaningful systemic revolution.
As a first step in our own process of decolonization, we looked to the Indigenous leaders and voices to understand and be guided by their concept and practices of decolonization. In 2019, the core team at Abundance Community Farm were led by Pulxaneeks (Pul-ha-neeks), a member of our extended farm community, in a personal process of decolonization. Pulxaneeks is from the Eagle Clan of the Xanuksiala First Nation with Nuchanulth and Lummi Ancestry. She offers very powerful workshops through her business Heart to Heart - Indigenous Relationship Consultation. Our Community Agriculture (CA) members were invited in 2021 to register for this same workshop series and about 12 people participated.
A number of powerful teachings were received in these sessions, including the understanding that decolonization begins at a very personal level. It begins by grounding ourselves in an exploration of our own ancestry and by reconnecting with the land, culture and ancestors that shaped us over the generations. It asks us to examine what we have lost over time (in what ways have each of us been colonized?), and to feel this in our bodies, our hearts, and our minds. This approach to decolonization asks us to examine our privilege and the ways in which we have benefitted and continue to benefit from the structures of colonialism, and to examine how all of this manifests in our relationships and our community. We committed to educating ourselves about our own history and the history of the people of this land.
We continue to educate ourselves by learning more about both the history and current experience of our First Nations neighbours. Some of us have studied the Truth and Reconciliation Committee report to understand the recommended actions and how we may support these in our community. Some of us have engaged in further educational opportunities with a Kelowna based Indigenous organization called Kinshift that offers a series of truth and reconciliation workshops.
The founder of the farm, Amir Niroumand, was first exposed to Indigenous teachings at the International Indigenous Leadership Gathering (IILG) in Lillooet, BC in 2012. The event was hosted and organized by then Chief Darrel Bob of the Xaxli'p Community, part of the St'at'ime Nation (Lillooet, BC). The Xaxli’p Community graciously invited indigenous people from around the globe, as well as anyone who felt called to join, to gather for three days of ceremony, story telling, teaching, and feasting. The Lillooet Nation fed and hosted a few hundred folks from around the globe without asking for any financial contributions. The power of the gathering and its teachings affected Amir profoundly.
Later in 2016, when Amir started the Abundance Community Farm, he invited Darrel Bob to join the community to bless the land. Darrel Bob graciously accepted and attended the farm opening gathering during which a persimmon tree was planted collectively by the community. Chief Darrel Bob gave a powerful and touching speech. He called upon the community to step up and share their gifts with their community and take responsibility for their actions. It was a message that touched everyone and set the tone for what was to come later.
Over the years, our connection with Darrel Bob has evolved including him sharing more powerful teachings and sweat lodge ceremonies at the farm. He generously gifted the farm with the grandfather stones that heat the sweat lodge. His words and action have been a guiding beacon for how the Abundance Community Farm culture and community have evolved at the farm.
In 2021, we began reaching out to our nearby Indigenous neighbours with no agenda beyond inviting relationship and ultimately developing a greater understanding of how we may work towards meaningful reconciliation and connection. We have developed personal relationships with members of the Cheam and Seabird Island Nations. These relationships have led to exchanges of food, plant medicines, invitations to collaborate on healing work and a reserve focused garden project. We look forward to continuing to build and deepen our relationship with members of the Cheam and Seabird Island First Nations.
In 2021, one of our Community Agriculture members organized an event at Abundance Community Farm for Dr. Victoria English, a Blackfoot Elder, knowledge keeper and residential school survivor. We were honoured that Dr English came and shared with our community about health and spirituality from the First Nations Medicine Wheel teachings.
Our commitment to decolonization and indigenous allyship are core values of Abundance Community Farm. We are on a journey towards being in right relationship with our Indigenous neighbours, with the land, and with ourselves. This is a journey that will surely last our lifetimes and that, we hope, will continue to be a part of Abundance Community Farm in perpetuity.
Decolonization and Indigenous Allyship Resources
Learn more about the Cheam First Nation here, Seabird Island First Nation here, Skwah First Nation here, and Kwaw-kwaw-a-pilt First Nation here. To the best of our knowledge the land of Abundance Community Farm was stolen from these First Nations.
National Center for Truth and Reconciliation
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
Heart to Heart Indigenous Relations Consultation with Pulxaneeks
For an excellent education on the Indigenous history of this region, read the award-winning book A Stó:lō-Coast Salish Historical Atlas