Continued from Feb. 22…
After Kwatam Salhlam built our world, He, as according to plan, sent his children down from Heaven. These were Divine Creatures. We humans call them spelemulh.
In xenichen, known today as the head of Princess Louisa, Creator sent down four Spelemulh with the gift of fishing and these four Spelemulh were very skilled at fishing and they could make fish weirs and fish traps, a variety of different hooks and lines.
In tsunay, known today as Deserted Bay, the Creator sent down three Spelemulh brothers with the abilities to make weaponry and they also had the skills to defend and protect. They were our first warriors.
Further down, Creator sent down three Spelemulh women. They descended down into St. Vincent’s Bay, on the West side of Hotham Sound where there is a long pebble beach. These three beautiful sisters had the gift of fire. Fire embers would be harnessed in clam shells when the people travelled by canoe.
Kwatam Salhlam continued down to the mouth of Jervis Inlet. He sent his spirit children to Saltrey Bay. In Saltrey Bay, the Spelemulh had the fine gift of making strong yew wood paddles. Today when you go to Saltrey Bay via the ferry you can look to the right of the hillside as the ferry is docking and you will see along the hillside that it is dense with Yew wood trees.
Creator continued his work. He went right into Narrows Inlet with His spirit children. These Spelemulh had the gift of curing and smoking herring. These foods allowed our peoples to potlatch during the long winters.
In Sechelt Inlet, God had sent the Spelemulh to that area with the gift of carving and canoe making. The canoe was our people’s vehicle and the inlets our highways.
All of these Spelemulh, God’s children, came together and shared with one another their sacred gift. In sharing our gifts and skills with each other, we came to be the shíshalh people; a Nation today, that consists of four main clans, the wolf clan of xenichen (the Princess Louisa region), the grizzly bear clan of tsunay (the Deserted Bay region), the killer whale clan (of the Pender Harbour, Lang Bay down to Roberts Creek), and the frog clan (of the Egmont, Narrows, Salmon and Sechelt Inlet).
Together we are One Heart, One Mind, One Spirit.
Editor’s note: Candace’s column will run in Coast Reporter the second and fourth Friday of every month.