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Return to 13 Moons

 

CENHENEN - HUMPBACK SALMON RETURN TO EARTH (July)

The Humpback salmon return to the earth during this moon. The illustration is half salmon and half human. The darts show the tidal waters that are used to catch salmon. The child carrying the salmon represents the first salmon ceremony in honour of the salmon. Saanich People humble themselves to the salmon.

CONNECTIONS AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION

July derives its name from Julius Caesar, who was born during this month. This month is important in Spain (bull fights) and Japan (animal festivals). Actual jousting and other medieval-type activities take place for three days during the Japanese Horse festival.

This moon marks the arrival of the Humpback salmon.

WEATHER

This was the dry weather season, drier than the interior of Canada. Although it was a good season for drying Salmon (SDÁL), the grass and forest was parched and everyone guarded against starting grass and bush fires.

ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES

This was the season for Humpback salmon fishing. Fishing caused First Nations peoples to extend catchment areas to areas as far away as Tsawassen and Point Roberts where they maintained shore camps.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

The success of the salmon fishery caused those most fortunate to celebrate and share their success with others. This season was especially marked by large family, village and neighbouring village gatherings, including gatherings where traditional sports were held. This was a time to reaffirm family ties and history and hold other gatherings. These included STÁNEK (memorial potlatches), namings (giving of a name ceremonies), weddings and societal ceremonies (e.g. blessings).

Potlaches enabled the more fortunate to share and distribute goods with those less fortunate than themselves. To become wealthy was honourable and to share one's wealth with one's neighbours was a traditional expression of Saanich values.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • What sports events are held by first Nations People are similar or different to those found in other communities and countries?
  • What does being wealthy mean to you?
  • In what ways can an individual, community or country be wealthy?
  • Does wealth always have a connection with careers and money?
  • What is the difference between work and play?
  • Can they be synonomous?
  • What are the values of your family? How are values, beliefs and achievements celebrated?

 

 
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Lester B. Pearson College