Lkwungen-English audio box unveiled on Charlie’s Trail

June 25, 2018
Lisa Weighton
Sue Johnson, Royal Roads donor, turns the hand-powered audio box crank.

Charlie’s Trail, the serene meandering path along Colwood Creek, provides an opportunity to observe plant communities from old-growth Douglas firs to tiny mosses on the forest floor. Now, there’s a new way to learn about the trees and plants on the trail while helping preserve the language first spoken on this land.

A hand-powered audio box was unveiled on the trail near the intersection of University Drive and College Drive at Royal Roads Thursday as National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations got underway.

With the turn of a crank, trail-goers can hear pre-recorded tracks in both Lkwungen and English to learn about some of the plants once used for medicine, shelter and tools.

The audio box was made possible thanks to the generosity of long-time Royal Roads donor Sue Johnson.

The eight tracks were recorded by Esquimalt Chief Edward Thomas (Seenupin) and Elder Elmer Seniemten George of the Songhees Nation. George is the last fluent speaker of the Lkwungen language.

“Charlie’s Trail is peaceful, it’s calm and it makes you think about where you are, and what this place means” said Royal Roads President and Vice-Chancellor Allan Cahoon. “This is a special place in which we can learn from the environment. Thanks to Sue, Elmer and Ed, now we have an opportunity to know even more about that.”

The trail, located on the traditional lands of the Xwesepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) ancestors and families, was restored in 2006 thanks to the generosity of Johnson and her husband, Charlie. The trail was renamed in his honour in 2007.

To learn more about contributing to scholarships or projects like Charlie’s Trail, contact Amy Hinrichs, Acting Advancement Manager at 250-391-2529.