Culturally Modified Trees at SṈIDȻEȽ (Tod Inlet)

There are a number of culturally modified trees (CMTs) at SṈIDȻEȽ (Tod Inlet). Some of these trees have been stripped in recent years, and other strips are hundreds of years old. The healed bark and robust health of the remaining trees from these old harvests illustrates the inherent sustainability of this traditional practice. Earl Claxton Jr (Tsawout First Nation elder and knowledge keeper) describes how the existence of these ancient CMTs provided legal evidence that W̱SÁNEĆ peoples lived in this region for many thousands of year prior to European contact. CMTs are considered living archives and any tree modified before 1846 is not allowed to be logged under BC law. The location of some CMTs are kept only by First Nations community members, while others, such as these on prominent display at SṈIDȻEȽ, are able to be seen and recognized by any member of the public. 

An experienced harvester of cedar bark can strip a very long piece of bark along the main tree trunk provided there are no branches or burrows in the way. The strips of bark are used for hats, capes, headbands, baskets, clothes, and even decorations such as delicate cedar roses. 

For information on how to find both the old and new culturally modified trees at SṈIDȻEȽ, and more information about them, please contact SeaChange at seachange@shaw.ca.

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Canada