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Tenth Kits could have been Tenth Sen̓áḵw. But what’s in a name?

Since time immemorial – an expression meaning since ‘ancient beyond memory or record’ – Indigenous peoples have lived, worked, and played on the land where Tenth Kits meets – they called it Sen̓áḵw. The Skwxwú7mesh (pronounced Squ-HO-o-meesh), or “the Squamish People,” made their home here; they took great care to steward the land and the sea, and it provided for their needs. However, as settlers arrived, they too wanted to make their home here. It wasn’t long before Squamish families were forced onto a small plot of land – the settlers called it Kitsilano – and then, when that land was coveted too, families were packed onto a barge and shipped out of the way, to the North Shore. By Canada’s own legal framework, land belongs to Indigenous people until Treaties (covenantal agreements of peace and friendship) are made, but this didn’t happen for the Squamish people, and still hasn’t for most of BC. And so, we are Tenth Kits – not Tenth Sen̓áḵw.

How do we live and worship on this land, knowing this history? Do we dare – or care – to see the other great wrongs done to Indigenous peoples, past and present? Can we dream of what peace and friendship could look like in the future? What steps might we take today?    

Read about the Squamish Nation’s history in Kitsilano in CBC’s article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/little-known-history-of-squamish-nation-land-in-vancouver-1.5104584

About Rainbow Choi: Rainbow works with the Musqueam First Nation and is grateful to live and play on the traditional, unceded mountains, seas, and shores of the Coast Salish peoples. She has been part of Tenth Church since 2012. She worships with the Evening Service and loves journeying with the church to seek justice.