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Whistle Buoy Now Contributes to the South Island Indigenous Reciprocity Trust

We acknowledge and respect the lək̓ʷəŋən speaking peoples on whose stolen traditional territory Whistle Buoy stands and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

We are indefinitely committed to a process of listening, learning, and engaging in how we can be allies to first nations peoples on whose stolen land we occupy, but have found these words can ring hollow when they are not supported by action. When discussing this issue of words not supported by action with a team member, we became informed of the South Island Indigenous Reciprocity Trust, a recently formed registered non-profit organization. 

The following is abridged information from

"Through Reciprocity Trusts, British Columbians can start saying thank you for over one hundred and fifty years of rent-free living by paying a little back each year. These annual payments will go directly to participating Indigenous Nations, who have control over where they accept payments from and what priorities they go towards.

Reciprocity is about making recognition of Indigenous land rights more meaningful...Reciprocity facilitates connection between home and business owners, renters and event planners with the Indigenous Nations whose lands we live, work, and play on…Creating a direct and ongoing Indigenous-owned revenue stream that is independent of federal or provincial governments, and increases over time as land values increase."

How it works

Reciprocity trusts operate on the 1% model. For a homeowner it would likely look like contributing 1% of your monthly property taxes. For a renter it might look like 1% of your rent. For us, we committed to providing 1% of net sales from packaged products. This includes all wholesale sales and direct to consumer packaged product sales; essentially all beer excluding in-house draught. The point is to make meaningful contributions within your means, so the agreement can be flexible as long as it is in the spirit of reciprocity and the payments are made within the fiscal year. 

The South Island Reciprocity Trust - established Spring 2023

The South Island Trust is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island extending from what is now known as Port Renfrew, around the WSANEC Peninsula, and across the Southern Gulf Islands. This area includes the traditional territories of the T’Sou-ke Nation, the Lək̓ʷəŋən speaking people of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, the WSÁNEĆ communities of W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip), SȾÁUTW̱ (Tsawout) and W̱SIḴEM (Tseycum), MÁLEXEȽ (Malahat) and BOḰEĆEN (Pauquachin) First Nations as well as the Sc'ianew (Beecher Bay) First Nation and Pacheedaht First Nation. The South Island Trust area is home to approximately 400,000 residents, with over 170,000 privately owned dwellings with an average value of approximately $760,800.

Where do the payments go?

Funds are annually delivered directly to the participating nations to contribute to a land, language or Nation-rebuilding priority of their choosing.

The Tsawout Nation will use the funds to support ongoing operating and maintenance costs associated with their new Bighouse. Tsartlip Nation will do the same. Sci’anew Nation will use the funds to support their youth to participate in the annual Youth Tribal Canoe Journey, hosted this year by the Puyallup Tribe in Washington State. Pacheedaht Nation will likely host a community feast to bring their members together to share a meal of locally harvested and traditionally prepared foods and engage in ceremony and cultural activities.

“What better purpose than to hold up all of our people at the longhouse. There's no better investment "

                                             ~ Chief Abraham Pelkey - Tsawout Nation

How much we contribute

Over 150 homes and businesses contributed a total of $60,173.88 to the South Island Indigenous Reciprocity Trust in 2023. After approved administration and operations cost (10% towards payment processing, website maintenance, honoraria for Trustees), $54,156.50 was disbursed to the beneficiaries from the Trust.

This spring the Trust’s executive director Sarah Reid spent a couple of days visiting each of the ten beneficiary Nations’ communities to deliver the first year of reciprocity. Each Nation received $5,415.65. 

Whistle Buoy has committed to contributing quarterly payments through 2024 and recently made its first contribution of $679.83 for Q1.

How you can get involved

The South Island Reciprocity Trust set an ambitious goal of increasing participation from 150 participating homes and businesses to 1000 this year and they are working towards launching a second Trust in the Vancouver area. They will need each of us to help get there. To find out more about how you can contribute visit


The information about the Reciprocity Trusts in this post was taken from

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