I am extremely grateful to be able to learn from, collaborate with and create with these inspiring and brilliant friends and peers.
Collaborator, Indigenous Food Systems and Indigenous Anti-Racism
In 2001 Jared graduated from culinary arts and spent the next few years working in restaurants across Vancouver Island. After almost 10 years gaining western culinary experience in niche restaurants like Rebar Modern Food, Spinnakers Brew Pub, and Cherry Point Bistro, Jared decided to move back home to Cowichan and blend his culinary experience with what he could remember of his traditional foods. Having spent his life working with elders, learning many of the traditional foods and medicines it was no surprise when Jared became the kitchen manager at the Cowichan Elder’s Building with Cowichan Tribes.
After more than decade of cooking for his elders Qwustenuxun now works as an indingenous foods educator and writer. Works with many different organizations as a traditional foods advisor. Most recently, Jared won a Canadian Online Publishing Award for best multicultural story, was nominated for the 2022 BC Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award, and helped FNHA complete their first smoked salmon project proving that salish smoked salmon is a safe and effective technique for food preservation. Qwustenuxun has also been a featured guest on APTN’s hit series Moosemeat and Marmalade, cooked indigenous foods on Flavours of the Westcoast television show, and has been featured on CBC radio many times for his efforts in first nation’s food sovereignty.
When he is not working on furthering salish food sovereignty Jared spends his time sailing and camping with his young sons; running the largest L.A.R.P. in western Canada, and above all making sure that his family comes first.
Co-Host and Creator Food Is Medicine Cooking Show
Rachel was born and raised in Prince Rupert, a small coastal town in Northern BC. She is of mixed ancestry; her mother is first-generation to these homelands, immigrating from Hong Kong in 1978; from her fathers’ side she is a member of La̱x Kw’alaams Band, a Ts’msyen Nation located 30km by boat from Prince Rupert. She now currently has the privilege of living and working on the unceded and ancestral homelands of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, colonially known as Tofino.
Blanket Exercise Co-Facilitator
Jon is Coast Salish from the Snuneymuxw First Nation on his Mothers side and English & Irish on his Fathers side. He has a focused background in First Nations Health, Health Informatics and Indigenous Governance. His desire to improve First Nations Health is evident in his personal accountabilities, diverse skill sets as well as his lived experiences. Jon is also a Father of one, with much of his time spent camping, fishing and exploring the beautiful outdoors.
Sonya is a cis-gendered white settler of Irish and Romanian, Bukovinian ancestry who arrived here uninvited in Coast Salish territory over 20 years ago settling here on the homelands of the Ləkʷəŋən Speaking Peoples of Songhees (Ləkʷəŋən) and Esquimalt (Xwepsum) Nations. She has spent the last several years coming to understand what that last sentence means and what it requires of me. Ultimately, She has come to see a generational disconnection from my own ancestral stories and knowledge as it relates to my unearned privilege tracing back to the Dominion Lands act of the 1860s that allotted Indigenous land to european immigrants (her ancestors) securing and occupying the land for the crown. That benefit, and the effects off the concurrent attempted genocide has been passed down through generations at sits with us now.
She has been a Registered Nurse for over 20 years and currently work in community supporting health and social services for people who are pregnant or early parenting, and who are experiencing problematic substance use. In addition to this important work, she built her capacity to support other white settlers along the necessarily personal and profound journey of disrupting white supremacy through experiential groups and 1:1 support. She is a solo-mom to two kiddos, love music, pottery and being in the wildness of the natural world.
More to come
Thank you to all my mentors and collaborators