Touring the First Nations monuments got 10,000 times easier Monday night.
Dec. 15 was the official launch of the new brochure (of which 10,000 were printed) A Guide to the First Nations Monuments of Oak Bay.
It includes eight cairns and two other displays in the district stretching from Cadboro Bay, or Sungayka, to Harling Point, or Sahsima. Each of the monuments offer insight into L’kwungen people and land use.
“Tonight we celebrate the completion of this guide,” said Mayor Nils Jensen on Monday.
The eight heritage monuments are cairns featuring bronzed First Nations cedar plaques created by master carver Charles Elliot honouring the Coast Salish history and heritage in Oak Bay. The monuments depict what happened on our shores many years ago, and include illustrations such as a seal, buck, otters, salmon and loon. Many of the cairn sites also feature native plant gardens. The other sites are Oak Bay municipal hall, where all eight plaques are painted full colour and framed with a plaque outlining where the eight cairns can be found. The final site is the L’kwungen history panel at Cattle Point featuring posts by Songhees carver Butch Dick.
The brochure was created to help residents and visitors see each of the sites easily and features a technological advance – a QR code.
“With an app you’ll be able to go to each monument and it’ll be called up on your smart phone with more information,” Jensen said.
Jensen also thanked and introduced Marion Cumming, a member of the Oak Bay Heritage Society, who was instrumental in the years of work it took to create both the monumental trail and seeing the final guide come to fruition.
“We thank her for her passion and dedication and hard work,” Jensen said.
Cumming came with a gift, offered by Songhees chief Ron Sam who couldn’t attend the event, the Songhees book.
The Songhees is a commemorative book dedicated to the opening of the Songhees Wellness Centre that examines who the Songhees were, who they are and where they are going.
“That Songhees book is great,” Cummings said in a passioned and short speech. “I read and reread it. It just has so much wisdom and understanding in it… we’re all on just such a learning curve.”
The guide will be available at the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations as well as local schools.