A Way of Life

Culture and traditions are the roots of the Pauquachin community, with community members practicing their culture in many different ways. Involvement in cultural activities and abilities in traditional skills are a source of pride for many residents. More importantly, cultural ties bring a sense of balance, healing, and happiness. Pauquachin recognizes that it is critical to pass on these cultural traditions to younger generations. Stories are the traditional way of teaching, and they are orally passed on from elders to youth.


Stories contain lessons, histories, and teachings for all aspects of life. Significant themes in stories include respecting the land, sea and animals. Creatures from nature such as the raven, crow, whale, and eagle are believed to have special powers. Different Nations may have variations of stories to fit a specific situation or to teach a child a particular lesson.


The Saanich people hold a deep relationship with the land and the forest is especially significant as a spiritual place. The Saanich Nation, including Pauquachin, shares the sacred mountain of ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱, which translates to “place of refuge”. This sacred mountain, which is otherwise known as Mount Newton, has held cultural significance for 10,000 years (Weiss, 2008).

ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ is understood as the place where people go to feel connected to the Great Spirit .


The Longhouse plays an important role in the Pauquachin community, as a place for people to participate in cultural ceremonies. In 1885, the colonial government banned these ceremonies, but the official suppression ended in 1951 (Manzella, 2010). The Saanich people began participating in the cultural ceremonies immediately, and a re-awakening followed. Although there is currently no Longhouse on Pauquachin lands, community members are able to participate through Longhouses at nearby Nations. Being active in the ceremonial dancing, singing, drumming, and sacred rituals during the Longhouse season from October to May remains a very significant part of the Pauquachin community.