Photographers Take on Ye'yumnuts Ancient Site

Sunday, June 06, 2021 - By: Jensa NG, Mack ‘23

On May 28th, 19 of Brentwood’s finest photographers, ranging from wide-eyed Grade 10s who had picked up a camera for the first time ever this September, to award-winning Grade 12s, hopped on a yellow school bus in the Crooks parking lot. We sailed along Highway #1 for 30 minutes out to Duncan and reached the  Somenos Garry Oak Protected Area and then ventured on foot to the Ye'yumnuts Ancient Site. There, we were met by Cowichan First Nations speaker, Mr Harold Joe, who illustrated the ancient site.

Mr Joe spoke about the inhabitants and history of the land, along with cultural aspects interlaced with First Nations politics.

Mr Joe was a phenomenally knowledgeable speaker who shared centuries of First Nations history with our class. He is a member of Cowichan Tribes, and his profession involves work as a cultural consultant, archeology assistant, resource management technician, and documentary filmmaker. Harold declared that “I do this in an effort to preserve and teach about the values and traditions of our ancestral Cowichan culture.” He also shared that he has been a grave digger since the age of 15.

Cowichan oral memory and archaeological research shows that Ye’yumnuts is a special spot for the Cowichan Tribes. It is regarded as a sacred ancestral place of the Cowichan people. Harold uncovered many personal and cultural stories which were passed down to him by his ancestors and elders.

Mr Fletcher organized this event for us to learn more about First Nations history, while exploring local flora and fauna, and giving us the opportunity to shoot on digital or film cameras. This was an unforgettable experience and I would highly recommend any local readers of the Brentwood blog to visit this historical site, take in the view, and read each and every ‘exhibit label’.

After we heard from Joe, we were left to roam free in the fields of wildflowers where there were plenty of beautiful, natural subjects to shoot. Simon G, Privett ‘23 brought his digital camera and “enjoyed relaxing, and photographing the alluring nature.”

Thank you again Mr Fletcher and Ms Bell-Etkins for providing us with this opportunity to learn more about the substantial history sitting in our backyard here at Brentwood.

Jensa NG, Mack ‘23

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