The Southern Gulf Islands of Pender, Saturna, Mayne and Galiano (part of British Columbia, Canada) involve various communities and local governments.
Firstly, these islands are part of the traditional territory of the Coast Salish First Nations, including Tsawout, Tseycum, Tsartlip, Penelakut, Lyackson, Pauquachin and others, who lived here beginning 10,000 or more years ago. Some of their governments and people are now on the Saanich Peninsula of nearby Vancouver Island, and steps are being taken by other Gulf Islanders to reach out and co-operate in meaningful ways.
In our quest for greater sustainability and resilience, our island communities have much to learn from First Nations communities and culture who were here long before us, and we have much to share with them as well! Some initial Heartwood Folk School steps in this direction have been the traditional Basketry Classes with Tsawout Elders in February, 2015 and October, 2016 , and also the Coast Salish Knitting Classes with Tsartlip Teachers in March, 2014 and February, 2015 (see picture below).
As for more recent local governments, the Southern Gulf Islands first just had the Capital Regional District. Then an additional unique level of local government was created, with jurisdiction over land use planning and conservation. This is the Islands Trust, thanks to which we have key ecological protections.
We are so fortunate to live on such beautiful islands, with sensitive coastal environments, warm communities with unique island culture and activities, and an abundance of amazing parks and trails!
Image from Heartwood’s Knitting & Wool Learning Day with Coast Salish Teachers