Keeping Culture Alive – The Cattle Point Songhees History Sign

I am doing a series on the cairns in Oak Bay that honour Songhees First Nation history and geography. I now know of two more, which I will blog about once I have a chance to make pictures. In the meantime, there is also a large sign at Cattle Point in Uplands Park about the Songhees use of land that is now largely encompassed within the municipality of Oak Bay, part of Greater Victoria. Today I feature this sign which is titled: Keeping Culture Alive, The Chekonein Family. It includes maps of Songhees geographical names and boundaries, historical photographs, and mentions history, archaeology, territory, seasonal round, subsistence activities, and traditional ecological knowledge.

From a photography viewpoint it is not a particularly interesting subject. And, it is covered by shiny plexiglass that has not been washed for months, or even years. In order to photograph the sign panels, I had to stand to one side to avoid reflections. That combined with the grime make for substandard images. But that is all part of the current context for this sign, and I really don’t want to take a bucket of soapy water and squeegee out there to clear the plexiglass, which would probably make the reflections worse. Excuses aside, I am lazy enough to not want to retype the text; nor is it my wish to encroach on copyright so I present all the information from this sign through these images, regardless of their quality.


I have prepared a pdf file that shows the entire sign with links to detailed photos that can be accessed by clicking on the image once you have loaded it.  To load the file, click here.  Click the back button (depending on your browser settings) to return to the overall image and select another part of the panel to read in more detail.

You can also see each image by clicking on any of the images in this post and then navigating through them. But, they are not in any order so this is probably less informative than reading them in their design order. You will find that there is additional information that supplements the necessarily limited cast-in-bronze text on the cairns I have been writing about.

Below is the acknowledgements section from the sign, which indicates a very respectable range of sources of information, including the Songhees First Nation and suggests that the sign was a collaborative effort between them and Oak Bay municipality and involved local archaeologists from the consulting and museum fields, as well as a university linguist. Remarkably and thankfully, the text of the sign does not read as if written by a committee.

I have updated the map that I prepared for the cairns to include information from this display. The first of my posts about Songhees markers contains a list with links for all the subsequent ones, including this post, and will link to future posts too.



4 thoughts on “Keeping Culture Alive – The Cattle Point Songhees History Sign

  1. Pingback: History of Cattle Point – Learning with Alyssa

  2. I love your work. I am doing an assignment at school on First Peoples’ places and I have chosen Sungayka. I am having a hard time finding information and am wondering if you have any suggestions. The Songhees website seems to be down.


    • Hi juniper rose – thanks for your comment.

      I am not sure what to suggest. Looks like the Songhees website is in the process of revision – as I recall when I wrote this post, their website had little historical information on it. You could try searching the wayback machine website for an archived copy of their website – you need to find the URL for each page and enter each page separately in the wayback machine search engine to find the pages, and then you can look at the different archived versions from different times. On my posts, if you right click on the links, it gives you an option to copy them – those you could then paste into a wayback machine search.
      Here is an example:

      You could also try searching on Lekwungen and Straits Salish and other names for or inclusive of the Songhees. You could also search for reports about this location using Loon Bay and Royal Victoria Yacht Club (sometimes used as a name for the archaeological site in this bay) – for instance the Royal BC Museum might have some information on their website because Grant Keddie in their Archaeology section has an interest in this bay. The trouble with searching these kinds of things is the spelling of words like Sungayka are often varied and unpredictable.

      If you are located in Victoria, you might also contact the Archaeology Branch of the BC Government to see if they are willing to show you information they have on the archaeological site form or any related reports, if any. They won’t want you putting detailed informaton on the web, but they might be willing to help for a school project.

      I hope one of these suggestions helps. Good luck!


  3. Pingback: Songhees History Cairn, Anderson Hill Park « burnt embers

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