Resilience of the People: A Visual History of the Traditional Territory of the Lekwungen/Songhees People

July 27, 2017

The District of Oak Bay in partnership with the Songhees Nation and The Robert Bateman Centre presents:


In 1916 an English visitor by the name of Alice Lisle spent a year in Oak Bay staying with friends at the Oak Bay Boat House. During her visit she took photographs of Songhees village sites on Discovery and Chatham Islands and of First Nation entrepreneurs and residents around the harbour of Victoria. Descendants of Alice Lisle preserved the original photograph albums and in 2015 shared the images with the Chief and Council of the Songhees Nation.

In 2016, the Songhees Nation and Robert Bateman Centre worked together to incorporate these rare photographs in an exhibit called Resilience of the People: A Visual History of the Traditional Territory of the Lekwungen/Songhees People. Originally launched at the Bateman Centre, this exciting exhibit is now on display at the Oak Bay Municipal Hall, August 1 to 31st, 2017.

The exhibit covers a visual history of what is now Greater Victoria, the Songhees First Nation’s traditional territory. Visitors will discover the complexities of the lands around them, and witness how the Songhees’ resilient relationship to the conditions of their ancestral lands has changed, including how their relationship has developed up to the present day.

"We are honoured to host this important exhibit in Oak Bay" says Mayor Nils Jensen.

The project is also an important testament to the changing relationship between the original and new settlers of this area. "We are proud to partner with the Songhees Nation and the District of Oak Bay on this important exhibit" says Peter Ord, Managing Director of the Robert Bateman Centre. "Especially now that governments and community leaders are working towards reconciliation with respect to First Nation communities".

The exhibit contains engaging maps and historical and contemporary photographs of the Songhees people. "They [the elders] held onto so much, with all the roadblocks they faced, and kept passing the culture along, being so resilient. That’s a word, resilience, for our community – for First Nations" says Songhees elected councillor Karen Tunkara Dick.

This exhibit is open from August 1 to August 31, 2017 at the Oak Bay Municipal Hall, Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. The exhibit will also be open during the Oak Bay Night Market on Wednesday, August 9th 4-8pm and on Saturday, August 19th 10am-4pm to celebrate Oak Bay’s Arts & Culture Week.

Media Contacts:

Caroline Duncan – Archivist, District of Oak Bay
Tel: 250-598-3311
Helen Koning – Chief Administrative Officer, District of Oak Bay
Tel: 250-598-3311
Mark F. Salter – Tourism and Marketing Manager, Songhees Nation
Tel: (250) 818-4038
Peter Ord – Managing Director, Robert Bateman Centre
Tel: Office (250) 940.3626 ext 305 Cell (250) 216-7157