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The Legend of ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱

In the beginning it was the Saanich teaching to look after Mother Earth. All of the animals, the birds, the trees and the salmon, even the wind, were, and still are, people.

For many years the people remembered the words of the creator (XÁLS) and there was a long period of happiness and plentiful food. Then they began to forget those teachings.

The creator’s feelings were hurt that the people began to forget his good teachings, so the creator told the people that a great flood would come and said: “You prepare yourselves.”

The people prepared a cedar rope and gathered their food and all of their possessions. The tide waters began to rise. The people loaded all of their belongings into their canoes.

Some people did not heed XÁLS teachings. They were not prepared and were washed away. Their canoes were destroyed.

The water rose higher and higher. The people paddled to the highest mountatin nearby. The trees were still above the water. They tied themselves to an arbutus tree on top of the mountain.

Soon the tops of the trees were covered with water. They were afraid and prayed to survive the great flood. They asked XÁLS to take pity on them.

After many days, a crow came and landed on the bow of the canoe. He was carrying a stick and was talking to the people. The crow had brought the good news.

Suddenly a mountain began to emerge in the distance. One of the men said, “NI QENNET TTE WSÁNEC”, (translated means, “Look at what is emerging”), as he pointed to the mountain emerging in the distance.

Before they left the mountain, they gathered around the huge coil of cedar rope and gave thanks. They said from now on this mountain will be called LÁU,WELNEW (Place of refuge). They also said, “We will be called the WSÁNEC” (The emerging people).

XÁLS heard their prayers. XÁLS said he would not punish the people by flood again. The people who were saved are the ancestors of the Saanich Tribe today.

This is our heritage.

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