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.
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 reconciliation.
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 were led by Pulxaneeks (Pul-ha-neeks), a member of our extended community, to engage 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. Members of our Community Agriculture (CA) program were invited in 2021 to register for this same workshop series and about 12 people participated.
A number of powerful messages 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 - 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 we been colonized? To feel this in our bodies, our hearts and our minds. It asks us to examine our privilege and the ways in which we benefit from the structures of colonialism. 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 neigbours. 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 Steps We Are Taking
To learn to be better allies we began by reaching out to our Indigenous neighbours with no agenda of our own beyond inviting relationship and ultimately developing a greater understanding of how we may work together towards meaningful reconciliation. Core team members have developed personal relationships with members of the Cheam and Seabird Island Nations. These have led to exchanges of food and plant medicines and invitations to collaborate on healing work and a reserve focused garden project.
In the years 2017 to 2019 Abundance hosted a number of opportunities for community members to join with Darrell Bob of the Xaxli'p Community, part of the St'at'ime Nation (Lilooet, BC) for powerful teachings and a sweat lodge ceremony. Darrell Bob has been a friend of the farm since its inception. He gifted the community with the grandfather stones that heat the sweat lodge and offered a ceremony and welcoming at our first farm warming event in August of 2016.
In 2021 a CA member organized an event to host Dr. Victoria English, a Blackfoot Elder, knowledge keeper and residential school survivor. Dr English shared a session with our community about health and spirituality from the First Nations Medicine Wheel teachings.
In 2021 we also hosted a grief ritual to provide a space for people to find expression and support for their feelings as the news of children’s graves discovered at residential schools came to light.
How You Can Engage