Jeunes Citoyens / Young Citizens

Liam Victoria, British Columbia

Fair address: South Vancouver Island Regional Heritage Fair

Project: Jimmy Chicken Island: From Partial Perspectives to Paddling Together

My project is about a First Nations man named Jimmy Chicken who lived on an Island in the Salish Sea of British Columbia over 120 years ago. By listening to a Songhees First Nations Elder, and doing Census research, I discovered his intergenerational legacy. Many students, local residents and tourists paddle to Jimmy Chicken Island every year. By becoming more aware of his story, and the impact his family had on history, it helps us move towards a more balanced cultural perspective and “paddle together towards reconciliation”.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

To find out that the son of a man so many had dismissed as a hermit living on an island was actually a First Nations Council Member over 120 years ago. Just by asking about one persons’ story revealed a whole horizon of understanding and awareness of our interconnectedness. We need to help communities overcome their intergenerational loss to tell these stories.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I learned how important it is to listen to Elders, and the role they have in our communities in Canada. History really matters! We need to listen to everyone’s stories with an open heart. Reconciliation is really about relationships. Part of adding more balance to relationships is allowing space to include other peoples’ perspectives. Sharing these perspectives allows more for understanding, compassion and respect between people, communities and cultures across Canada. Reconciliation involves all Canadians. We need everyone in the canoe.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Life would have been much more difficult over 100 years ago, yet even with so much modernization and progress so many of the challenges from that era we can still see now in communities in many other ways – such as the lost intergenerational relationships.

  • Jacques Sirois

    Great story. More of them, please. Cheers.
    02/07/2019 7:09:51 PM

  • Marion Cumming

    Liam's project is of outstanding significance andhelps fill a big gap in our understanding of regional Indigenous history. His deep research is balanced by compassion, in the spirit of Reconciliation.
    26/06/2019 1:54:33 AM

  • Karen Wallace-Prince

    Liam, your insight into the life of Jimmy Chicken living on a tiny island in the Salish Sea is well researched and full of compassion. You’re the winner in my eyes.
    18/06/2019 8:26:10 AM

  • Eric Anderson

    Great story! And great history- I’ve learnt a lot just by reading this. You have provided some really insightful background on this Liam- thank you!
    17/06/2019 7:15:07 PM

  • Taylore Einarsson

    Great work Liam! You’ve taught me history about my own province, as well as how important it is to listen and respect all people, regardless if we are from different cultures.
    13/06/2019 9:49:28 PM

  • Gregory Mason

    This is an important story. With your research you have given Jimmy Chicken new life, teaching us so much about respect between peoples and across generations.
    13/06/2019 9:13:31 PM

  • Louise

    Great work and leaned a lot. Congratulations
    13/06/2019 8:19:37 AM

  • Jill Pollard

    Liam, so interesting as we admire Jimmy Chicken Island every day and interesting to learn more of the history.
    12/06/2019 11:19:16 PM

  • Rosemary O'Connell

    Well done Liam! Didn't know the history of Jimmy Chicken Island and you've me some interesting facts.
    12/06/2019 9:02:30 PM

  • Gary

    Great Job Liam. The hard work you put in is helping everyone understand more about reconciliation and why its important we all try to do the same.
    12/06/2019 7:54:20 PM

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Project partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.
  • Canadian Heritage / Patrimoine Canadien
  • Government of Canada
  • HBC: Hudson's Bay Company
  • ecentricarts inc.