In confronting the climate crisis, perhaps the most important question we can ask is “Where do we begin?”

The thirty-two foot collaborative mural Through Watcher’s Eyes designed by tSouke member kQwat’st’not (Charlene George) helps to answer this question by inviting learners into a new way of seeing and relating to the natural world.

Through a nine-month collaborative process, this mural was painted at Spencer Middle School on the territory of the Lekwungen speaking peoples (Songhees and Esquimalt Nations). Through Watcher’s Eyes shares a complex and deep story seen through the eyes of Coast Salish SNA’WY’ALTH (practice and teaching) with the Wild Man and the Wild Woman. It invites voices and views that are noticeably absent in our present-day society, particularly when it comes to how we see nature and our place in it.

Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes – Between the Worlds is an online interactive learning tool that tells the story of the land where the mural lives. Built using the Prezi platform with support from Sierra Club BC, this tool is a publicly shareable, culturally rich Indigenous learning tool to support community learners of all ages and backgrounds to see through another’s eyes.

kQwat’st’not (Charlene George) is an artist and facilitator of intercultural voices bridging Indigenous resiliency.

Seeing Through Watchers' Eyes

How to use this learning tool

When accessing the tool, you’ll find a canoe. The canoe is called ‘To Begin The Journey’ and we suggest you start here. Clicking the canoe, you’ll find information on how to use the Prezi platform and three suggested viewing/learning styles. Linear View allows you to view all the slides simply by using the forward and back cursor keys. Indigenous View suggests starting at the centre and working your way outward to the ocean on each side. Intuitive Learning View encourages you to click on whatever part of the mural image interests you and finding your way through the journey from there.

In developing the tool, Coast Salish protocol was followed, permission was sought, and Indigenous English was used to aid learners in seeing how thinking is different even if English is used. The Senćoŧen, Hul’q’umi’num, Klallam, tSouke, Lekwungen and Nuu-chah-nulth languages are also used to tell the story. It is designed to bridge cultures by creating common ground through sharing images, stories, audio clips and videos, leading to common understanding.

Have fun and learn on the territory

This learning resource offers a fun activity for families to get outside and connect with nature together. Exploring the digital tool will reveal five special points hidden throughout, which correspond with five real-life sites on the territory depicted in the mural. Like a treasure hunt, you can locate geocaches hidden on the land at these sites that offer you a way to connect deeper in learning offline about the living beings we share the territory with. Learn how geocaching works and download the free app.

When you find the geocache, take a selfie and share it on social media with the hashtags you found in package. When you’ve visited the geocaches at all five places, email your photos as proof to seeingthruwatcherseyes@gmail.com. You’ll get a special prize for finding all five!

Use this tool as a curriculum resource

Seeing Through Watchers’ Eyes is a valuable learning resource for all learners, with an initial focus on Big Ideas for middle school grades in BC school districts, aligning with BC curriculum learning outcomes. Future hopes might include a book, printed images, further adaptation for immersion programs, and use with all levels and layers of learners.

Seeing Through Watchers' Eyes

Seeing Through Watchers' Eyes

Collaborators and acknowledgements

To all our past, present, and future relations, Hych’ka//HISWKE (thank you) – specifically to the Lekwungen speaking peoples (Songhees and Esquimalt Nations) on whose territory the mural was breathed into life, and now calls home. We would also like to acknowledge all the Nations and community voices that have helped make this work so rich and full of life.

Collaborators on this project include artist and facilitator Charlene George (tSouke), Lizzie Thorne and Kati-Raven George-Jim, Coast Salish community members including Elder Mary Ann Thomas (Esquimalt), Language Revitalist Tiffany Joseph (Sḵx̱wu7mesh & W̱SÁNEĆ), Sierra Club BC, School District 62, Royal Roads University, BC curriculum guide Kathleen Meiklejohn and many community members.

Your feedback on this resource is welcomed. Please send your reflections to: seeingthruwatcherseyes@gmail.com.