Elsie Paul, Sliammon Elder 1931 - present
Elsie’s Great Grandfather was ‘Captain’ Timothy who spent several years as a guide on a survey ship around the islands of Georgia Strait.
At this time it was not known that Vancouver Island was indeed an island until Captain Timothy guided the exploration ships through the islands of Georgia Strait and to the northern tip of Vancouver Island.
It is thought that it was during the performance of this work that Toma Timothy was given the name Captain Timothy.
When it came time for Captain Timothy to marry, his whereabouts were hunted down and he was taken to Cape Mudge to meet the girl his parents had arranged for him to marry.
Instead Captain Timothy expressed his interest in marrying her sister whose name was Ka`a xstales.
Elsie Timothy was born at Sliammon to Gilbert Francis and Lily Timothy. A few years earlier, a young girl (Elsie’s cousin) had died after her parents had been summoned from Sliammon to Sechelt to retrieve the sick girl. Elsie was named in her memory.
Elsie’s parents who already had 2 children and were about to relocate to Port Alberni were ill equipped to raise another child and so it came to be that Elsie’s Grandparents Jim and Molly Timothy, also of Sliammon, raised her.
Elsie had 10 siblings, William, Elizabeth, Irene, Rita, Mabel, Barney, Nancy, Doris, Doreen, Gilbert.
For the most part, Elsie kept out of the reaches of the residential school system. Her Grandfather towed their float house in and out of the coastal inlets-always one step ahead of the school officials.
Elsie was therefore subjected to only two years of residential school. She also attended school for two months each year when the family returned to Sliammon for the winter.
At the age of 16, Elsie was working in the fish plant at Redonda when suddenly the whole building shook. It was the great earthquake of June 23, 1946.
In 1948 Elsie Timothy married William Paul who transferred himself and his mother to Sliammon from Church House.
Married 27 years until William’s death in 1977, the Paul’s had 9 children. Glen, Sharon, Jane, Jeannie, Walter, Ann, Cathy, Marlane, and Clifford
While the children were growing up, Elsie did various jobs from shucking oysters to housekeeping at the hospital.
In the 1950’s the day school at Sliammon began to deteriorate. Instead of sending her children to the new Assumption School Elsie opted to send her children to James Thomson Elementary School in Wildwood. From there the children went to Brooks Junior High School then on to Max Cameron Senior High School.
“I pushed my children to get an education,” she said, “and they have done well.”
Elsie did not ignore her own education. She continued to upgrade as an adult and achieved a grade 10 level.
In 1972 she was hired by Sliammon to run the administration of Social Development. She spent weekends at U.B.C. earning the credits for a certificate in Social Work.
When Judge Shirley Giroday conducted the swearing in ceremony on the appointment of Elsie Paul as Justice of the Peace, she said: “Elsie was our first choice for the appointment and we were very pleased she accepted.”- “Justice of the Peace Court Appointment Cheered” PR Town Crier, September 18, 1989.
2008 is the 20th anniversary of the TsowTunLeLum (means “Helping House” in the Nanoose language). Elsie has served as a board member since this Healing Program began in Nanaimo.
For the past four years Elsie has been involved in Inter-tribal Health Programs on Quadra Island, as a Elder/Support Person for the participants.
Frequently called upon to open events and ceremonies in both the Sliammon and the wider community, Elsie has given the Welcome and Opening Prayer for the Kathaumixw Choral festivals for several years.