Tuesday June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. Essential reconciliation and decolonization centres Indigenous voices and leadership in ecosystem stewardship, community building, and beyond.
Bringing the Salmon Home: The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative is led by three Indigenous Nations: the Syilx Okanagan, Secwépemc and Ktunaxa, working with the governments of BC and Canada through collaborative and consensus-based processes. Our efforts to restore wild salmon stocks in the upper Columbia River advance First Nations voices and values for the benefit of all.
We are already seeing how the salmon are telling us what they need to make their way home. A small number of young sockeye salmon contributed from the Syilx Okanagan Nation hatchery, released as fry in ceremonies in upper Columbia River watersheds, have reportedly made their way downstream through the massive Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams. Chinook salmon released by the Upper Columbia United Tribes above Grand Coulee have made their way upstream into Canadian waters, as well. These are profound developments after 80+ years without salmon in the upper third of the Columbia River. These are some initial results of decades of committed Indigenous-led efforts in this region. This is generational work.
Our recent online Bringing the Salmon Home Festival highlighted practices and perspectives of Salmon Peoples all along the Columbia River, who’ve lived in balance and respect with salmon since time immemorial. We invite you to mark this Indigenous Peoples Day by hearing from diverse Indigenous youth, elders, leaders, storytellers and artists, as they share what bringing the salmon home means to them. All six Festival events are available to watch again here.
Lim̓ləm̓t / Kukstemc / Hu sukiⱡquknaⱡaʔni / Thank you
~Bringing the Salmon Home: the Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction team