The former Woodwynn Farm property now officially belongs to the Tsartlip First Nation. (Black Press Media file photo)

The former Woodwynn Farm property now officially belongs to the Tsartlip First Nation. (Black Press Media file photo)

Tsartlip First Nation takes possession of former Woodwynn Farm

Leadership of Nation now consulting membership for best future use

A local First Nation will consult its membership about best possible uses for the former Woodwynn Farm property after assuming possession of it on Dec. 16, following what has been described as “a historic agreement” with the provincial government.

Tsartlip First Nation Chief Don Tom said his nation is excited to acquire the 78-hectare property because it will help the nation expand its land base. The land, once used by the Tsartlip First Nation for hunting, farming and traditional practices, lies next to the nation’s only reserve. With more than 1,000 members, the community has run out of space to fulfill housing, recreational and cultural needs.

Tsartlip First Nation purchased the farm from BC Housing through a $7.77-million grant from the provincial government. BC Housing purchased the site in July 2018 and has leased it to a local farmer, who is actively farming the property. That lease has been extended to September 2021.

Tsartlip First Nation now owns the land as ordinary private property within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The transfer of the property also bears significance “with the history of colonization in the Saanich Peninsula, Tsartlip people lost much of our land base, our traditional communities,” said Tom in a release.

RELATED: Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

Joe Seward, Tsartlip councillor, also touched on this aspect. “It is very meaningful to our people to have this land returned to our Nation, physically and spiritually, land that was taken away. We want to reawaken the land, heal the land and bring the sacredness back.”

Paul Sam (Telaxten), Tsartlip councillor and elder, referenced the larger historical context in describing the area’s role in the Tsartlip people’s traditional hunting and fishing grounds. “My grandfather grew fruit and vegetables here,” he said. “But our people were outnumbered, outgunned and pushed onto small reserves. Sir James Douglas signed a treaty with our leadership at Pkols, Mount Douglas. But the treaty was not honoured, and our reserve got smaller and smaller.”

Canada’s system of residential schools caused further damage, he said, pointing to its effects on Indigenous children and local languages.

“I know the history and place names and culture of this territory we call Mawuec,” Sam said. “Recently, I graduated with my youngest son from the Indigenous Language Revitalization Program at the University of Victoria, where I also learned to read and write in my language. Now I have grandchildren who are also fluent from taking the immersion program at our tribal school. We are reclaiming our rightful history.”

New Democrat Murray Rankin, minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, said the transfer offers the Tsartlip people a huge opportunity for the future.

“It is a tremendous step forward to advance reconciliation between the provincial government and Tsartlip First Nation,” he said in the release. “We are committed to working collaboratively, government-to-government, to find creative and flexible ways to meet the needs of individual First Nations throughout B.C. as we work together to support communities and their members to flourish and prosper.”

Tsartlip First Nation has announced that it will hold a ceremony celebrating the return of Mawuec to the community with the provincial government once authorities say it is safe to do so against the backdrop of COVID-19.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

The WHL’s Victoria Royals will compete in a 24-game season starting March 26, <strong></strong>based out of a Kamloops and Kelowna B.C. division bubble (Kevin Light/Courtesy Victoria Royals)
‘Important to cherish every moment’: Victoria Royals not taking bubble season for granted

The Victoria WHL team’s coach and GM calls the season a ‘privilege,’ expects fierce rivalries

The Victoria Fire Department was able to contain a fire to one room after a bed placed directly against a heater ignited. (Black Press Media file photo)
Early morning Victoria balcony fire causes $20,000 in damages

Victoria Fire Department said nobody was injured in the fire on View Street

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Most Read