Monday, August 19, 2013

Tetla Tsetsuwatil Advisory Council Announced

The Following People Comprise the Tetla Tsetsuwatil Advisory Council  as of this date, Aug 19th 2013.

Bonnie Johnnie - Build Volunteer Coordinator, Steve Alphonse - Cultural Consultant, Protocol and Community Relations
Ellen Cenname - Volunteer Coordinator, Community Relations, Photographer
Charlene Seymour-Joe - Language Instruction/ Hul'qumi'num Translation
Charles Rice - Construction, Carpentry, Training
Meaghie Champion - Communications, Public Relations
Krista Raphaelle - Perma-Culture Advisor
Nathan Moss- Religious & Global Outreach, De-Colonization Expert
Charles Champion - Financial & Accounting Advisor - Secretary Treasurer

(The following are not on the advisory board but still have volunteered to help out where they can)

Liason to Cowichan Tribes - Darin George (member of Council)
Josh Walker Youth representative

If you have an interest in serving on the board please contact any advisory council member and let us know. The Advisory Council meets once a month in person, and once a week on-line. We also need people who are not on the advisory council to be part of the Family Selection Nutsamaat. This work will involve reviewing application from prospective partner families, interviewing families and working together to achieve consensus on the choosing the families that will enter into partnerships with the Tetla Tsetsuwatil in building their family home.

Steve Alphonse and Meaghie Champion are also planning to work with Speaker and Elder Kwulthustun  or Suhilton (Willie Seymour) to develop a constitution in Hul'qumi'num. This constitution will be comprised of the teachings of our ancestors (Snuwuwyl) and will be the principles under which this advisory board will work together according to the values and principles that are consistent with our traditional culture and teachings.


The TetlaTsetsuwatil is now giving out t-shirts to those who donate at least $23 in money or tetlas. We plan to use the funds raised to go towards the housebuilding/repair project. Chemainus elder Ed Seymour has asked for help in repairing his roof.

 The t-shirts display the same salmon image as appears on Tetla gift certificates. It also has the words "I accept tetla. I accept  Indigenous Sovereignty." If you want one of these t-shirts, please email with your name, contact info such as phone number and/or email and your mailing address. Also the amount you would like to donate. Please state a preference for payment options such as cash, cheque, tetlas, etc. Also, we would need to know what size t-shirt you would prefer. If you need us to mail the shirt to you, we'll probably need to be reimbursed for shipping costs, but if you can pick it up in Esquimalt, there's no shipping costs.

Here's the t-shirt design:

First Paid Advertiser

We were very happy at Tetla News when we got our 50th subscriber. We have a few more than that now -- 68 direct subscribers and 131 more who receive Tetla News via the LETS news articles system. But we have passed another milestone that may be even more important. Our first paid advertizer!

Ok.. Some people don't like ads. We understand... BUT how many people have ads that offer you something for tetlas instead of money? None. Until now. And about the misleading ads. We don't plan to run ads like that here. Obviously we don't need ad revenue to keep Tetla News going because we've been doing it without ad revenue so far. So we can turn down ads that are not entirely honest. And we always will.

So here's the ad:

PJ Music Studios
Music lessons for all ages.
100% may be paid with tetlas or green dollars.


We have some experience with the quality of the music lessons offered by PJ Music Studio. Pam Smirl, the owner of PJ Music Studios, is also one of the music teachers there. She taught Douglas Champion to play part of Beethoven's 9th Symphony on the piano at age 6. If you hear some of the more advanced students play, you can't help but be impressed. Pam has two locations and quite a few teachers. They provide instruction for a wide variety of different musical instruments. We've read that learning to play music somehow makes children learn math easier. Douglas eventually lost interest in piano lessons, but it may not be a coincidence that he is ahead of other students his age in math and actually likes math. Though he has not even started 2nd grade yet, he has figured out how to do some multiplication and how to add fractions.

Thank you Pam for doing such a good job. And thank you for being the very first advertiser on Tetla News. For anyone out there with anything to sell for tetlas or green dollars, consider advertising with us. Ads here can of course be paid for entirely with tetlas or green dollars. The price at this point is however much you want to give us. We'll wait until we have at least two or three advertisers before we insist on any particular price.

Repairs to Home of Chemainus Elder Ed Seymour

The TetlaTsetsuwatil and the Fuller Center for Housing have choosen to help Stzumainus Elder Ed Seymour by fundraising for and carrying out repairs to his house, especially his roof and bathroom floor. This is the first project in the new effort between the Tetla Tsetsuwatil and the Fuller Center for Housing. Other projects will include not only repairs, but also construction of new housing carried out by partner families, similar to how Habitat For Humanity works. The Fuller Center and Habitat for Humanity were both founded by Millard Fuller and do the same kind of work.

                                                                    Ed Seymour

Holes in ceiling of Ed Seymour's home...

Alliance with Fuller Center to Build Houses Makes National News

On August 10, 2013, the Tetla Tsetsuwatil signed a partnership covenant with the FullerCenter for Housing. The covenant document sets forth the underlying principles that will guide the two organizations as they work together to build and repair homes to alleviate the housing crisis on Indian Reserves. One of the principles is that neither the Fuller Center nor the Tetla Tsetsuwatil accepts any funding from any government.

Melissa Merrill signs the Covenant between Tetla and The Fuller Center

Meaghie Champion shakes Elder Ed Seymour's hand at the signing ceremony...

The Fuller Center and Habitat for Humanity were both founded by Millard Fuller and both build affordable housing for people who otherwise could not afford a home. The Fuller Center has constructed over 1,700 homes so far in 16 countries and Habitat for Humanity has built millions of homes all over the world. Yet this is the first time that either organization has been involved in constructing housing on an Indian Reserve in Canada.

The Fuller Center is a non-profit organization based in the town of Americus, Georgia in the United States. This is the first time they have been involved in any project north of the border.

The signing of the covenant was reported by the local newspaper, the Cowichan Valley Citizen. The story was then picked up by affiliated newspapers nationwide across Canada.

Here's a link to the website of the Fuller Center for Housing:

Here's a link to the Fuller Center's article on this:

Here's a link to the Cowichan Valley Citizen newspaper article:

Here's a link to the same article on

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Solar Power in the Big House

The Tetla Tsetsuwatil has begun exploring the feasibility of installing solar panels on the roof of the Clemclemaluts Thi Lelum (Clem Clem Big House) with the objective of generating enough electricity so that there will be no more bills from BC Hydro. Those working on the project will learn a bit about how to install solar panels. We've heard that a similar project for the Sooke big house was very successful. A meeting will take place on August 24 to share the project vision with Clem Clem peoples and discuss strategy for fundraising.

Notes for non-native allies: Clemclemaluts is a place and a tribe of people. Clemclemaluts is one of the Cowichan tribes. In the Hul'qumi'num language, "thi lelum" means "big house".  A thi lelum is a large building used for traditional ceremonies. In earlier times, these buildings were also used as residences, often housing more than one family. Today, most or maybe all Coast Salish communities have a big house for ceremonies in the Winter months. There is usually also an adjacent "cook house" containing a large kitchen and a single large room where a hundred or more people can share a meal or hold community meetings or other events.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Wolf Costume for Halloween

There is a little boy who until recently was always talking about dinosaurs. But for the past few months, he has found something much more interesting to him than that. The new fascinating creatures: wolves. So he wants to be a wolf for halloween. Since there are usually not wolf costumes for sale at halloween, his mother, Meaghie Champion is now seeking someone to teach her how to sew and help make a halloween costume for her seven year old son, Douglas. This would be in exchange for tetlas of course.

If anyone knows how to sew and wants to help, call 778-440-1102.

(Edit: Thanks to Sabina Chatterjee. See you on Friday [9/13/2013])