For over 80 years salmon have been blocked by dams from returning to the upper Columbia River in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. The Columbia River was once the source of the greatest salmon runs in the world. Bringing the Salmon Home: The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative, the Indigenous-led project of the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa and Secwépemc Nations, in partnership with Canada and BC, is exploring innovative ways to bring the salmon back.
Learn more about this vital work through the Bringing the Salmon Home Festival May 10-16, 2021 happening onlineat ColumbiaRiverSalmon.ca. The free online events include keynote presentations, salmon cooking classes, and sessions on food sovereignty and food security, Indigenous knowledge and western science, storytelling, and discussions with artists, musicians and poets.
Be first in line to register for the free festival events. See the full program at ColumbiaRiverSalmon.ca.
Chief Keith Crow of the Syilx Okanagan Nation says, “The Syilx Okanagan Nation have a long-standing and successful record of salmon reintroduction in the Okanagan system of the Columbia watershed, with upwards of 500,000 sockeye now returning annually. We know, from decades of experience, that we do have the technology, and also that partnerships and collaboration are central to salmon restoration. The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative will take the same dedication to collaborative work, now with the other two Nations, to bring salmon back to the upper Columbia River region. We know reintroducing the salmon can be done, despite the many challenges.”
Kukpi7 Wayne Christian of the Secwepemc Nation says, “This Initiative is about providing both salmon and hope for our common future. As Indigenous Nations we know that this work is feasible. And it is our sacred responsibility. We’re excited to be co-hosting this Bringing the Salmon Home Festival as part of engaging community members in this important work.”
Sandra Luke, Chair of the Lands and Resources Sector Council of the Ktunaxa Nation Council, says,
“Bringing the salmon home will require innovative and creative solutions from both technical experts and traditional knowledge holders from the three Nations. It is vital we work together with all governments to ensure we can find a way to bring salmon back to our homelands. The Bringing the Salmon Home Festival and The Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative are tremendous opportunities to showcase the importance of salmon to the Ktunaxa Nation, as well as to work collaboratively to achieve the goal of bringing the salmon back.”
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard says, “The Government of Canada knows the critical importance of Pacific salmon to BC’s culture and economy and that is why together with our Indigenous partners we are committed to restoring this iconic species. I want to thank the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa and Secwépemc Nations for their hard work putting on this event to spread awareness and celebrate our Pacific Salmon. We will continue to collaborate in exploring solutions to the complex challenges of salmon reintroduction in the upper Columbia.”
“This historic partnership between all five governments is an important collaboration in exploring for ways to bring the salmon back to the upper Columbia River,” says Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Our government considers it essential to work with the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa and Secwépemc Nations on this Indigenous-led project with a shared objective of a healthy Columbia River habitat.”