SXANEL, or the "the bullhead", holds the time in April and May in the W̱SÁNEĆ 13 Moon calendar: SḴÁU ȽTE.
SḴÁU ȽTE, represents the natural laws of the W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) people. The calendar depicts the four seasons, the W̱SÁNEĆ 13 Moons and the culturally important plants, food, medicines, animals and marine life to illustrate the flow of activities that occurred when W̱SÁNEĆ people lived a traditional life linked to nature.
The sun is shining and winter storms have passed. The swallows and hummingbirds have arrived and the people have begun to eat the first tender green shoots that have started to grow.
In the book, The Saanich Year, Earle Claxton, Sr. and John Elliott tell the story of SḴÁU ȽTE, the 13 moons, and how they illustrate traditional First Nations respect for the land and the interconnectedness of all living things.
From the book:
In the time of the SXANEL moon the people are anxious to get out to their other homes, located in what is now the State of Washington. All of these islands, San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Stewart Island, are Saanich Islands.
The storms have passed, the sun is shining and the daylight tides have arrived.
During this time, the Saanich Peoples dig clams in the daytime instead of at night. They gather foods from the water, clams, oysters, cockels, mussels. Harvesting of fish doesn't alway require a boat. When the tide is out the elder women take their baskets and go to where the boulders and reefs are to probe for bullheads. They dig to insert their baskets and then go to another one until their baskets are full of bullheads.
When a little group of stars disappear beyond the horizon, that is when the bullheads arrive. They disappear in winter and come back in the spring when the group of stars pass over the horizon. That's where the moon, SXANEL, gets its name.
At this time, the men go out to hunt deer or elk and sometimes porpoises. Green shoots that begin to grow are eaten, including salmonberry, blackberry, thimbleberry and black caps. The young people especially need these young greens after a long winter without. They are delicious and each shoot has a different taste.
To find a copy of The Saanich Year, contact the WSANEC Leadership Council, https://wsanec.com/, or the WSANEC school board, https://wsanecschoolboard.ca/. The VNFC Bruce Parisian Library in Victoria also holds a copy available for borrowing.