Coast Salish Speaker Program at Lopez Center

  • Tue Mar 26th, 2019 11:08am
  • Life

Submitted by the Lopez Island Library

The Lopez Island Library is pleased to announce the date for the first speaker in the 2019 Coast Salish Speaker Series program. On Thursday, March 28, at 6 p.m. at the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts, Saanich activist, storyteller and musician, Paul “Che oke ten” Wagner. will present a multidisciplinary performance, taking audience members on a musical journey into the ancient times of the first peoples of this land.

Che oke ten is a member of the Wsaanich (Saanich) Tribe of southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He is an award-winning performer who shares traditional songs and stories of the Coast Salish peoples. He enjoys sharing the warmth, humor and wisdom of these beautiful stories (or “teachings,” in the tradition of this land) in an engaging and interactive way. He interweaves his story-telling performances with “spirit-gifted” melodies on the Native American flute along with traditional tribal drum songs. When possible, he loves to round things out with a jovial Coast Salish dance or two. Che oke ten’s debut Native flute CD “Journey of the Spirit” has been honored with the Best Native American Album of 2009 by Just Plain Folks Music Organization. Che oke ten has shared the stage and collaborated with many prominent artists such as the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Eyvind Kang, Gina Sala, Bill Frisell, Andre Feriante, and Kitaro. His CDs are widely used by practitioners of meditation, massage and tai chi. Nature is where his music comes from — the deep silence and spirit that lives in the ancient waters and forests of the Salish Sea. Che oke ten’s music has this same breath and soul inside each note and each silence, allowing us to better understand and realize the ancient Coast Salish belief that we are a part of the nature which Spirit placed on the lands and waters. We are helped to remember that we have come to this place, Mother Earth, to heal and to bring reciprocal relationships with all things around us. Letting this ancient wisdom enter the intelligence of our hearts will place us inside of the circle of life, to create long-lasting innate harmony and peace around and within us. In addition to his performing and recording work, Che oke ten makes frame drums and Native American flutes. He teaches workshops on drum making and flute playing. He also makes Coast Salish form wood carvings, and is a videographer and photographer.

The 2019 Coast Salish Speaker Series is an educational program series focusing on connecting the current residents of and visitors to the San Juan Islands with the Native history of this region. It is a collaborative endeavor amongst the Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Islands’ public libraries and the San Juan Islands National Monument. After his performance at the Lopez Center, Che oke ten will travel to Orcas and San Juan islands to present at their respective public libraries. The series will include three more Coast Salish speakers throughout the spring and summer months of 2019. The Speaker Series is a project funded largely by the San Juan County Lodging Tax grant. For any questions about the series, please contact Malia Sanford at