Rewilding x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》

x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》 Community Pollinators Program Rewilding x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》

jaz whitford and Valeen Jules first had the opportunity to meet T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss through the invitation to participate in a welcoming for Vines Art Festival from Artistic Director Heather Lamoureux. Wyss, whitford and Jules furthered their bond by gathering together with many plant relatives at Harmony Garden - X̱wemelch'stn pen̓em̓áy in Wyss’ traditional territory shared with the Squamish Nation on the Capilano Reserve.

After nurturing the roots of their relationships, Wyss invited whitford and Jules to participate in a mentorship with her during her Fellowship at 221A to rewild a vacant lot located in Chinatown/the Downtown Eastside at 271 Union Street.

Wyss invited Kai Todd-Darrell, Anostin Todd-Darell, Brandon Brueckert, other Indigenous youth to participate and welcomed whitford and Jules to bring in community members they trusted, including Oliver Barnes. In a lateral learning setting Wyss dedicated her time to walk these young folks through her plans and the forthcoming construction strategies that she had developed during the research phase of her fellowship with 221A. Together these young folks learned how to carefully shape the mounds that would become garden beds and build the conditions for a healthy growing environment for these plants to situate themselves in an interconnected ecosystem.

In other words, they truly know the weight of the garden from carrying the soil in to care for the plants. Claire Kenney of the Mud Girls collective led a workshop series to build a functional cobb oven to demonstrate ways of building on the land that utilize local, natural and recycled materials. Unfortunately, mid-way through the mentorship Wyss incurred a disabling injury to her ankle that left her unable to use her body to tend to the garden beds. Thus she entrusted her cohort of eagerly motivated, young Indigenous and racialized plant workers to take on a greater responsibility in the labor of completing the garden's construction. This work together closed with a ceremony to welcome the plants to this site and to express gratitude for all those that assisted in bringing x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth《新生林》to fruition. After reconnecting with whitford in 2020 they were empowered to conceive of a cohort of peers that would steward the garden and tend to it’s newly fluctuating needs with the unpredictability of the climate catastrophe. It was at this time that whitford extended an invitation to Soloman Chiniquay who they had met on the filming of “The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open” (2019).