Dr. Earl Claxton Sr.
Dr. Earl Claxton Sr. was born and raised in TSAWOUT. He was born on May 12, 1931, to Elsie (nee Pelkey) and Johnny Claxton, and was the eldest of six children.
Earl’s first language as a child was SENĆOŦEN , and he learned to speak English when he was 16 years old. Earl was one of the last fluent speakers in the SENĆOŦEN Language and was recognized for his work (curriculum development) through the University of Victoria in November 2006, with a Doctorate of Laws.
In the early 1980s Earl began his work with the LAU,WELNEW Tribal School on language curriculum as a Researcher/Curriculum Developer. His work on the SENĆOŦEN Language became valuable to the WSÁNEĆ and Lummi First Nations for its importance to having the language written.
Earl had much knowledge of the WSÁNEĆ place names. With the assistance of Earl’s Mother Elsie Claxton, and his first cousin Manson Pelkey, Earl was instrumental in the development of the Territorial Map, which uses WSÁNEĆ place names. This map was used at the trial for Saanichton Marina vs Claxton (1989).
John Elliott (the late Dave Elliott Sr.’s son) and Earl co-authored many books for the students at LAU,WELNEW, which include Moons, Tides, and The Reef Net, to name a few.
Earl worked on the language curriculum tirelessly until his illness in February 2007. Through language curriculum development, Earl completed his lifelong dream, to assist the late Dave Elliott Sr. and John Elliott, to ensure the continuation of the SENĆOŦEN Language for the WSÁNEĆ people.
There are many WSÁNEĆ Elders who have contributed to the conservation of the SENĆOŦEN Language, and many young apprentices that will aide to ensure the continuation of the language.
Nominator: Kendra Underwood