Feature Story                                                     Wednesday June 13, 2016

 

The Ones

Salmon Caravan makes historic trek across BC

Terri Wilkinson, Chilliwack

 

The Caravan marches down Main St. in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

 

ust starting to get my feet back on the ground after experiencing 4 days in "spirit" of the Wild Salmon Caravan. After listening, at times to the beautiful sound of the Halq'emelem and St'at'imc languages, I learnt there is no word in our English vocabulary that adequately describe the feelings generated throughout this amazing journey.

 

My hands and heart go up to the First Peoples in Nxwisten (Bridge River), St'at'imc territory, Nlaka'pamux Nation (Lytton) and in Sto:Lo territory to the people of Chawathil (Hope), Cheam (Chilliwack), Coqualeetza Longhouse, Matsqui (Mission) for the welcome, the hospitality, the love, the unending gracious sharing of your traditional foods, your teachings, your patience and your heartfelt connection to Mother Earth and love for Wild Salmon.

 

Thank you for allowing me to visit your communities and for the blessings and honour of witnessing and participating in your ancient ceremonies and traditional teachings. I learnt so much from your precious elders and your beautiful children (the future Warriors of Mother Earth), reminding me that there is so much more to learn, understand and appreciate.

 

Baby drummer.

 

To Mike Arnouse (Secwepemc elder), I could listen to your stories every day all day long; thank you for sharing your wisdom, your grace, your energy and your infectious laughter and sense of humour. What an honour to be in your presence!

Thank you to all the new friends I met along the way. I appreciate all the passion, the enthusiasm and the energy that you brought with you and will continue to use in passionate defence of Wild Salmon. As I heard along the journey, "we are the ones we've been waiting for."

To all my other family and friends, who have not yet experienced "earth schooling" from the caretakers of the Earth, I would urge you to dispel and reject any stereotypically biased opinions or judgements pertaining to our First Peoples, seize the opportunity to learn the truth about our history directly from those who lived it, extend a hand in friendship and humility and an ear to listen.

 

Contemplate the knowledge and the wisdom of this beautiful culture that has survived many atrocities and injustices, but still embrace us with open arms and welcome us as family. Open your hearts and consider and appreciate how you can best stand in solidarity with the caretakers of our planet as we work "together" to heal ourselves and our beautiful Mother Earth. It's not too late if we all walk the path together!

 

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