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SḴWÁLWEN Botanicals Joins the Week to End TMX!

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Sḵwálwen (skwall – win) is an Indigenous business creating small batch botanical skin care products. Honouring traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge, they incorporate wild harvested plants and organic, high quality ingredients. Their wild plant ingredients are harvested in a sustainable and respectful way and each product has a Squamish name to honour the place where this plant knowledge comes from.

Founder, Leigh Joseph says, “My ancestral name is Styawat and I am from the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) First Nation. As an ethnobotanist, researcher and community activist, my aim is to contribute to cultural knowledge renewal in connection to Indigenous plant foods and medicines. Wherever possible I draw on teachings learned from family and community members that are connected to Indigenous plants and the land.”

Creating any Sḵwálwen product begins with time spent on the land — forests, estuaries, or subalpine meadows  — to harvest plant foods and medicines. Using Squamish cultural teachings, Leigh approaches the natural world gently and respectfully, harvesting with techniques that are ethical and sustainable. (Learn more about this stage here.)

Once the plants are harvested it’s time to process them. This usually includes scraping bark, cleaning, hanging to dry, infusing in oil and more. After processing, it’s time to create! Leigh loves this part — developing each recipe, pairing particular plants based on their healing properties with the highest quality oils, clays and plant butters. (Her five-year-old daughter calls these her “potions”.) Leigh makes every product herself and bottles and labels them by hand. 

Each handmade batch of Sḵwálwen products is made with care and intention, bringing you luxurious skincare products free from harsh chemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic colors and parabens. 

We are so excited that Leigh is joining The Week to End TMX, part of the Pull Together campaign for First Nations legal challenges against Trans Mountain. Pull Together is supporting three First Nations: Squamish, Coldwater, and Tsleil-Waututh as they pursue legal action in the courts to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project. We need to ramp up funds to support their legal costs as they will be in court this December 2019. The Week to End Trans Mountain is November 27th through December 3rd!

Leigh shares with us why she joined the Week to End TMX:

‘I am very happy to be involved with the week to end TMX. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to support meaningful work like this through my business. One of the central philosophies behind Skwálwen Botanicals is to learn from how our Sḵwx̱wú7mesh ancestors built reciprocal relationships with the land and let this inform how we develop sustainable relationships with our plant ancestors today and into the future. In order to have a future where we can nourish ourselves from the land we must act now in a way that doesn’t simply consider our current comforts but considers the wellbeing of our future generations. What legacy do we want to be a part of? What can we do without in order to walk more softly on this earth? I am in opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and I want my voice to be heard and supporting this week of action is one way to do this.’

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