WEXES Moon – “Frog”

The Goal

We wish to provide knowledge and increase awareness of the WSANEC traditional learnings of the 13 Moon Calendar in order to encourage inspiration, hope and solidarity between all people who reside in the unique ecosystem along the shores of the Salish Sea - the traditional lands of the Coast Salish First Nation.

From the Wasanec 13 moon calendar.

When the frogs come to life again, when they come out of hibernation, you would hear them croaking. That is the reason the first moon of spring is called “WEXES” of “frog”. The people had been home all winter and had not travelled throughout December and January. WEXES was the month that the herring came, sometimes in the middle of this moon season. They were the only fish that came automatically so the people took good advantage of them. The people knew exactly when the herring would arrive, they could tell by the tides. They knew what time of year it was because of their great knowledge of the tides. This would last for about five weeks.

The old people would tell that the first small herring to arrive were scouts that looked the ground over. The people didn’t take them because the quality of the scouts was not as good as the ones that arrived later. After two or three evenings of scouts arriving, the real spawners would come in and stay until the spawning cycle was over. The people would take enough for their own needs and no more, just enough, that’s all.

Cedar and balsam branches would be put out for the herring to spawn on and would then be hung up to dry and be preserved for winter use. The people also harvested the spring salmon that came along to feed on the herring. Ducks were also plentiful, so many they darkened the sky. The people would use duck nets spread on the water to catch them and never shoot them. The ducks would dive down to catch herring and when they came up, they would catch their heads in the nets. That’s how the people captured ducks. They were cut and spread open to dry along with the herring eggs. The feathers that were plucked were used for padding and bedding and also for ceremonial purposes.

That was the busy season of WEXES.

From ‘the book ‘The Saanich Years’.

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.

To find a copy of The Saanich Year, contact the WSANEC Leadership Council, or the WSANEC school board. The VNFC Bruce Parisian Library in Victoria also holds a copy available for borrowing.

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