The Canoe Steaming

As most of you know Beau Wagner, following the teachings of his Stz’uminus mentor, has been carving a traditional dugout Salish working canoe on the grounds of the Elementary School. The canoe is now being prepared for Steaming. This is an event of great significance, a further transformation in the journey of a cedar tree from her life on the Davidson property to her life as a working canoe. It is likely that this is the first time a traditional canoe has been carved on the island for more than 150 years.

This is an invitation to our Gabriola community to attend the steaming event at the Commons on March 29th starting at 12:00. Lunch will be provided and the Ceremony will begin around 1:00 lasting until approximately 2:30 pm. Susulewh/Elders Bill White, Snuneymuxw and George Seymour, Stz’uminus as well as Singer and Drummer Patrick Aleck, Stz’uminus and Penelakut will be in attendance and leading the ceremony along with Beau.

We will be needing a few volunteers to help with the preparation of food for this event both on the day before and the day of. If you would be willing to volunteer for this, please let me know.

No registration is required for this event. Please forward this to any friends or neighbours you think may be interested. Also, if you are representing a Gabriola community organization please forward this to your email list.

Finally a huge thank you to all those who have donated to this worthwhile project. Donations are still being accepted at the Coastal Community Credit Union, “Healing Canoe Project”.

—Kate Reynolds, Community Coordinator, SFU/Snuneymuxw-Syath, Living HIstory and Culture Project


On March 15, a grey but calm morning, 30 islanders gathered to listen to Coast Salish teachings from master carver and knowledge keeper Beau Wagner, who is helping children carve a cedar canoe behind Gabriola Elementary. As Sarah K said, “I think the Healing Canoe project is a fantastic conversation starter. Once people are engaged and ask questions, one idea leads to another … Continuing to shut out FN ways and thoughts is not helpful toward reconciliation nor gaining knowledge.”

Beau was generous in his welcome and words. Ken G commented, “How powerful it is to see the forest through Beau’s observation that Coast Salish People see and know the trees and all beings in the forest as their ancestors. How beautiful and comforting it is to reflect on that … and to think of all those who came before us now standing as trees with their branches swaying in the wind.”

The presentation raised over $1000 for the Healing Canoe Project. GaLTT members will receive updates about the canoe steaming and launch.

Tags: , , , , Categories: UncategorizedPublished On: March 17, 2022

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