Our Culture

The Way of Our People

We are from the Lekwungen Nation, often called the Songhees, though it was others who gave that name to us.

For time immemorial we have been the first peoples of what is now known as the southern part of Vancouver Island. We have always had a strong oral history, but recognize the newer generations rely increasingly on the written word. The pages that follow are from us to you. The Lekwungen worldview inspires and shapes our approach to everyday life such that it impacts every facet of our lives.

There is a fine balance in that the Lekwungen ways define our worldview – but are also defined by our worldview. Our approach to naming, witnessing, cedar bark collection, creative endeavours and everything else that makes up a life are deeply informed by our values. That all-encompassing approach serves, importantly, to reinforce those same values.

You cannot break an innate worldview.

I’m proud to be Songhees. I am proud of our community’s strength, integrity and vision. We are the keepers of the spirit of our ancestors, and of the generations to come. We have been here since time immemorial, and we will continue to thrive.

We are building a strong community. With projects such as this website, the Songhees Wellness Centre and future initiatives, we’re building on our cultural foundations while creating support structures for our people. The realization of the Songhees Wellness Centre is a dream our community has held for many years that is finally coming true. The Centre is a place to gather, work and dream.

I feel honoured to be guided by my elders and the people who came before me – people such as my late Uncle, Chief Robert Sam, and the late Norman George. They began the movement towards self-determination, and I’m honoured to witness their work being carried on today.

In the words of my uncle, Chief Robert Sam, “We’re laying the foundation for the future social, cultural and economic well-being of our people.”

~ Chief Ron Sam

The Songhees Council is a dedicated group of individuals who stand together to represent the Songhees people. They are responsible for creating the opportunities we see happening. They are honourable company, and I’m proud to stand alongside them and all the hardworking staff who serve our people. All the progress we’re now witnessing is a result of community members believing in themselves, and working together to keep our culture strong and reach our full potential.

All our initiatives are an investment in our children. We want to create opportunities for our young people but, more importantly, foster a sense of pride and self-confidence in them – that they come from a strong community that loves and supports them. We are creating a living example, one that says dreams can come true. It’s an example that will teach our next generations to continue to dream, and to strive for successful, healthy and happy lives.

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©2017 All rights reserved Songhees First Nation

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