Clothing hangs from a tree in Duncan in memory of missing and murdered people on May 5, 2021. Photo by Jacqueline Ronson/The Discourse
Cowichan Valley

Cowichan This Week: Remembering

Jacqueline Ronson May 6, 2021

Hi, I’m Jacqueline Ronson, The Discourse’s lead reporter for the Cowichan region. Welcome to Cowichan This Week! In this edition, you’ll find essential COVID-19 info, the latest local news and events, highlights from The Discourse’s in-depth reporting and more. Thanks for checking it out, and please consider signing up to get this information in your inbox every Thursday.


Remembering missing and murdered Indigenous people

May 5 was the national day of awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous people. Despite the pandemic, people in the Cowichan region marked it in their own ways. Drummers, dancers and community members gathered in ceremony in Duncan, with symbolic red dresses and blue shirts fluttering in the breeze. Students in Ladysmith led a small ceremony

Urban Valley Tees has launched Bring Our Sisters Home, a clothing line designed by Cowichan artist Stuart Pagaduan, with some proceeds towards a bursary for an Indigenous student at Cowichan Secondary School.

Representatives from Cowichan Missing & Murdered Women, Men and Children handed out red dresses at Station Street Park in Duncan, to be hung in remembrance. They’ll be there again this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Highlights from The Discourse

Food For Thought

Reporters for The Discourse gathered last week to take community questions on our recent Food For Thought series. Thanks to all who listened and contributed to the conversation! Video of the event is on Facebook.

Meet six Indigenous youth on Vancouver Island honoured for excellence in sports

Kristine Williams, 19, a member of Cowichan Tribes, is a straight-A student who was previously named athlete of the year at Duncan Christian School, where she was also the first Indigenous valedictorian. She and other Indigenous youth on Vancouver Island have been honoured for achievements in sport, Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty reports.

o.k. industries highlands mine quarry protest

In the Highlands, a community fights for agency

In this article, the second in a series, reporter Shalu Mehta goes deep on a fight over development in the Highlands that turns out to be about more than just one gravel quarry.

In conversation with IndigiNews

IndigiNews managing editor Emilee Gilpin and Okanagan-based reporter Kelsie Kilawna led a conversation on mental health, journalism and the work of carrying and sharing stories in Indigenous communities. This team continually pushes me to tell stories with more care, more thought and more respect, and I’m so grateful to get to learn from them. Watch the video here.

Essential COVID-19 updates

  • As of today B.C. is sending invitations to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments for those age 50 and older. People ages 16 and older who are pregnant can call 1-833-838-2323 to book a vaccination appointment now. 
  • All adults in the province are encouraged to register for vaccination online or by calling 1-833-838-2323, if they haven’t already. This includes those who received a first dose before the registration system opened in early April and those who received a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine through a pharmacy.
  • B.C. expects to receive more than a million vaccine doses in May and is on track to give a dose to every adult that wants one before the end of June, the Canadian Press reports. The influx of vaccines may speed up the timelines for those waiting for a second dose to less than four months between shots. 
  • Health Canada has approved the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 years of age and older, CTV News reports.

More news and announcements

  • Representatives from Island Health presented to North Cowichan council on May 5 on plans for the wellness and recovery centre to open this fall on York Rd. The facility will include a relocation of the current overdose prevention site and an array of additional services for people with mental health and substance use disorders. Council heard that there will be online community conversations on May 19 and 20 about the facility, as well as a community advisory group to guide it in an ongoing way. More information is available on Island Health’s website. Shayne Williams, executive director of Lookout Housing and Health Society, which will manage the facility, said that in his experience from other communities there is typically decreased crime and increased perception of safety in surrounding neighbourhoods when facilities like this open. Video of the meeting will be available on the North Cowichan website. The presentation and discussion begins about 15 minutes into the meeting. 
  • The Cowichan Valley Regional District has launched a new emergency notification system. Here’s the link to download the app to your phone, tablet or computer. 
  • Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor has introduced legislation to Parliament calling for the creation of a national soil health strategy to increase food security and fight climate change, according to a news release.
  • Canadian youth are appealing a federal court’s dismissal of their claim that inaction on climate change infringes on their constitutional rights, the Globe and Mail reports. Sierra Robinson, a resident of the Cowichan Valley, is one of the youth leading the action.
  • The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce announced winners of its Black Tie Awards in a live-streamed ceremony on May 4. Check out the list of winners and the tribute video for Pudge Bawa, lifetime achievement honouree. 
  • Activists at Fairy Creek are appealing a court injunction that demands the end to their old growth logging blockades, CBC News reports
  • Whitewater paddlers hope that the planned new weir at Cowichan Lake might include recreational play features, the Lake Cowichan Gazette reports
  • The Cowichan Housing Association is looking for funding to bring more emergency shelter sleeping cabins to the region, CHEK News reports
  • The federal government will conduct an emergency review of new rules preventing the sale of prawns frozen at sea, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports. Cowichan Bay fisherman Guy Johnstone has led opposition to the new rules. 
  • Want to know how to pronounce the new downtown Duncan street signs in Hul’qumi’num? Students at local schools are here to help. This document contains QR codes you can scan to hear the sounds of the words.

Community events

  • Saturday, May 8: 🕯️ Cowichan Missing and Murdered Women, Men and Children is marking the National Day of Awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous people. Two people will be in Station Street Park in Duncan from 10 a.m. to noon to hand out red dresses to community members who wish to participate. The dresses may be hung near the train station, along Craig Street or along the highway. 
  • Saturday, May 8: 🌎 Youth ages 13 through 26 on Vancouver Island are invited to a Youth Climate Forum to contribute to a climate change and resiliency plan for the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities region. Here’s the link to register.
  • Wednesday, May 12: 🤝 Join Movin’ On Up, a virtual community conversation on poverty reduction in Lake Cowichan. 
  • Wednesday, May 19: 🎨 Youth 20/20 Can Cowichan is hosting a rock painting night over Zoom. Email the team to get involved.
  • Through Saturday, May 22: 🖼️ The Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show will take place both in the gallery and online this year, with awards and a virtual opening on May 1. Visit the website for more information. 
  • Sunday, May 23: 🍲 BC Marine Trails Network is hosting Coastal Cuisine, an online presentation by Cowichan chef Jared Qwustenuxun Williams. 
  • Various dates: 🎶 The Lila Music Centre is offering a number of virtual sessions to explore song, poetry, ceremony and nature, including a Mother’s Day song workshop and a six-week course. Visit the website for more information and to register. 
  • Various dates: 🍿 Drive-in Movies in the Park continue this month at the Cowichan Exhibition with screenings of Wonder Woman and Raya and the Last Dragon.
  • Online now: 🌲 The Cowichan Public Art Gallery has launched an online exhibit, Forest: Breath of Life, featuring artwork from students ages 10 through 19. 

What did I miss? Let me know what events are coming up near you by sending me an email


In your words

“Thank you for all that you do to bring high quality journalism to our community!” commented Ashley Daniel Foot on The Discourse’s Facebook page. 

Thanks, Ashley! The Discourse is made possible because of the support of this community. Thanks for being part of it.