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CENTEKI - THE SOCKEYE MOON (June)

This moon is the same colour as the pale grey sockeye salmon. The sockeye returns during this moon. The Salish art design represents the tide running swiftly through the reef net which is tied to the two canoes (SXELSCET).

CONNECTIONS AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION

There are two western legends to how this moon was named. First, is that it derives its name from the Roman goddess of woman and marriage (Juno) and second, that the name is derived from Juniores, the name for the lower branch of the Roman senate and/or connected with the Roman consulate, Junius Brutus. It is interesting to note that June is in mnay cultures, the wedding month, and there are festivals of flowers around the world.

The Saanich Peoples history says that the people were once very poor. However, the Salmon people took pity on them and saved them by showing them how to fish and honour the salmon. At the beginning of the CENTEKI moon, a special salmon ceremony was performed before the net anchors were dropped at the ancestors hereditary family locations. The special ceremony started when the medicine man (SNAEM) paddled to the furthest point east and called on ancient relatives (the salmon) to let themselves be caught to feed the WSANEC people. His songs and prayers mentioned all of the family reef net locations that the salmon would pass through. Fishing continued throughout the four salmon months.

WEATHER

Warm summer breezes and dry weather were most evident during the CENTEKI season. The WEWELES (Swansen's Thrush) - the ripener of the summer berries, arrived. His song put colour into the berries. The DILEK (wild strawberries) and ELI,LE (salmon berries) began to ripen.

ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES

Trading catches from the salmon runs began. As the Saanich Peoples were the first to catch salmon in the Straits because other tribes were waiting for river runs, they were able to catch a higher quality of bright salmon, thus giving them a full month of trading advantage.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

The Saanich People paid homage to the salmon with a very special song and ceremony to honour the salmon and show respect to its new generation. After the first sockeye salmon (known as the S,HIWEK leader) was caught, all fishing would cease and the ceremony of prayer and feast would begin. As part of the salmon ceremony, children would walk with a limp to show humbleness and to look pitiful in the eyes of the honoured salmon. They would also carry the hook nose salmon as one would carry a baby. Only the children would eat this salmon. Later, the adults could then feast on the Sockeye.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Japan also honours its children with a special day. Why would cultures honour children?
  • What other age group is honoured during the Saanich moons?
  • Can you create your own ceremony to celebrate something in your life?

 

 
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Lester B. Pearson College