We were blessed with a sunny day to have this outdoor workshop to learn about the native plants and people of our community. A group of adults and children met at Richmond Nature Park East where our honourable guest leader, Megan Boettcher, first aknowledged we were on the unceded land of the Musqueams, she went on to talk about how native people survived in the past: they need food, shelter, air, water and community.

We all took a walk, during which we learned to identify some native plants such as Salal, Huckleberry and Oregan Grape, and try to identify trees such as hemlock and cedar. We learned hemlock twigs are the best to start a fire because the inside of the twig is very dry and snaps even after it’s dead. Megan brought with her several kits to build long houses, each group mixed with adults and children, built a long house with short and long planks, cordage loops and poles, and had to device a roof and door with materials found in the park.

We also learned to build cooking pit, how native people would wrap food in layers and cook it in the pit. Megan showed us the bow drill and thumb drill for fire building, she also showed us how to use plant fibres to make cordage, a very tedious process! Last but not least, we discussed how each group, representing a nation, could trade and help each other.

Overall, everyone enjoyed the workshop and learned so much about the local plants and native community and were amazed at their wisdom be it cooking food or building shelter without so many modern tools. Richmond should be very proud of herself for being one of the very successful cities that revived Salal in the community, which is a native plant rich in pectin that haven’t had much success reestablish itself elsewhere. I also included a couple of write ups from children who attended the workshop as well as the photo album link:

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