The only word that I have or that I could translate in our language, is that it’s going to become a medicine house.

Just before site preparation began for construction of a six-storey affordable housing building at 162 Main St., Wisdom Elder Shane Pointe of the Musqueam People hosted a Blessing Ceremony. Here he explains the context and purpose:

In the chant I’m asking our collective ancestors to be here, and I’m letting this area, this land know that it’s going to change into something else. The only word that I have or that I could translate in our language, is that it’s going to become a medicine house. A place for our relatives who are poor. So this is going to be a place for them. 

Also I’m asking the historical, way-back ancestors — there were five villages around this Inlet — so I’m letting them know that this is going to change and become like I said earlier, a medicine house.

I know that more than likely, the people who are going to live here are from around the world, but also our relatives from back east, that’s why I used the tobacco, and that’s not cigarette smoke, that’s tobacco.

When I put the medicine down—red ochre, salish and tobacco—I’m asking this land to protect and watch over what’s going to happen. It’s going to change, so I’m asking ancestors here to watch and protect, not only the ground, but the gentlemen, the ladies who are actually going to live here, to keep them safe, to keep their minds in a good place.

Wisdom Elder Shane Pointe used a rattle in his ceremony that he carved from a whale’s tooth.