With Cindy and Curt aboard, Jupiter’s crew has an opportunity to visit the ancient settlement of ‘Mimkwamlis on Village Island. This is the home of the Mamalilikulla First Nation people.

We contact Andy, the Guardian Watchman Manager who welcomes us ashore to visit his ancestral village where we intuit a wrinkle in time.

The beloved book, Totem Poles and Tea, Hughina Harold’s immersive tale about her life here as a nurse and teacher in the 1930s, has drawn us to this place before but we were unable to go ashore as no one was onsite to grant permission.

‘Mimkwamlis translates to “Village with rocks and island out front,” and a truer description was never rendered.

Broad swathes of intertidal zone, exposed at low water, are rich habitat for clams, mussels and oysters and we soon note jets of water squirting up from the muddy sand identifying the presence of many bivalves.

Warned of a black bear in the vicinity, we follow freshly mown grass paths adorned with moist scat along the ways of the old settlement. Little remains of the village that was once home to over one thousand residents. The people have gone, but there remains a fealty to the land. The silence today is loud with bees cropping pollen from the wild spring blooms.

Spectacular views, quotidien for generations of inhabitants, define this sweep of the land, the pathless sea and the fecund lagoon.

We meet with Andy at the dock where he shares memories, poignant and ariose, about the closing days of the last vibrancy of this community. For now, he and his fellows maintain a presence and a guardianship holding lightly to what was, waiting for whatever form this place next takes.

Aboard Jupiter, swinging at her anchor in the little cove near the dock, the bear is sighted rolling boulders on the beach, looking for things that a bear might eat. Hours are spent watching his determined progress, generating the intake for later output on the paths of ‘Mimkwamlis.

The ancient law of Aweenak’ola means that
“I am one with the Land, the Sea, the Sky and the Supernatural Ones.”

Chief John Powell ~ Mamalilikulla First Nation

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