Tsawout First Nation

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Reefnet

E-mail Print PDF

Thank you to Phil Vernon who generously allowed Tsawout First Nation to share his song " The Reefnet" on our website.

Used with permission - excerpt from the liner notes of the 2009 album "Kitale Road"

"The southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia where I live are part of the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ, or Saanich, First Nations. A description of their traditional fishery in the book Saltwater People by the late W̱SÁNEĆ elder Dave Elliot inspired me to write this song. I have been honoured by requests to sing it at numerous occasions for W̱SÁNEĆ elders and children at cultural events and at the ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ school."

Click the play button to hear the song.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

This song was used with the artist's permission. For more information about the album and where to purchase, please click the image below. Visit Phil Vernon's website at www.philvernon.com.

Song Lyrics:

from time beyond all memory
we've lived upon this shore
and taken from these waters
what we've needed
nothing more
we are saltwater people
at home upon the sea
and we catch the silver salmon
in the SXOLE
our reefnet fishery

in great canoes of cedar
into the summer dawn
we paddle to the SWÁLET
the family fishing ground
first return the sockeye
and ready we would be
with nets strung wide
across the tide
in the SXOLE
our reefnet fishery

now slacken off
the breast line
the tide is running fast
prepare to haul
the watchmen call
ŦEKI has come at last!
as ȽKENATEN
the anchor stone
holds strong
beneath the sea
we'll always hold
the knowledge
of our reefnet fishery

out between the islands
when the days are growing long
we go to set the anchor stone
where the current's deep and strong
we lash the stones together
line the points and drop them free
to set at sixty fathoms
for the SXOLE
our reefnet fishery

now slacken off
the breast line
the tide is running fast
prepare to haul
the watchmen call
ŦEKI has come at last!
as ȽKENATEN
the anchor stone
holds strong
beneath the sea
we'll always hold
the knowledge
of our reefnet fishery

when the tide is out the table's set
my father'd always say
but the sea is strangely silent
as i look out across the bay
we'll forever guard our treaty right
to fish as formerly
and we'll sustain
and someday regain
the SXOLE
our reefnet fishery