This June 21st, we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada while reintroducing salmon fry back into the waters of the upper Columbia River, where they’ve been missing for over 80 years.
Members of the Syilx Okanagan, Secwépemc, and Ktunaxa Nations have been busy tagging thousands of sockeye salmon fry at the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ hatchery in Penticton, BC.
This week, the salmon fry have been jointly released by the three Nations at various locations in the upper Columbia River from Castlegar to Revelstoke.
The Bringing the Salmon Home initiative will be tracking the movements of these salmon over the years to come. The aim is to learn from the salmon what they need to survive in this system that has been so modified by dams.
At the same time, annual Indigenous ceremonies to call the salmon home continue to be held throughout the region. And this week’s release of tagged salmon fry follows on years of ceremonial releases in the upper Columbia River. The First Nations and US Tribes hold it as a sacred responsibility to bring the salmon home. They are clear that there can be no technical success without a strong cultural foundation.
This is generational work based on a long-term vision of environmental renewal and cultural flourishing.
Our new Bringing the Salmon Home documentary film offers a closer look at the perspectives and practices that guide our work. In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023, we invite you to watch this powerful film here. Please share this link with your family, friends and colleagues.
Lim̓ləm̓t / Kukstemc / Hu sukiⱡquknaⱡaʔni / Thank you,
~Bringing the Salmon Home: The Columbia River Reintroduction Initiative team