Wild Salmon Caravan
For thousands of years, wild salmon have been an important Indigenous food and cultural and ecological keystone species that feeds the entire Pacific and Inland Temperate Rainforests. For the third year in a row, in honour of the species, a group of First Nations groups from the Salish Coast hosted the 2016 Wild Salmon Caravan—to raise awareness of the importance of the species and to highlight its demise to the rest of Canada.
From June 6 – 11 in 2016 a colourful band of chiefs, community members, biologists, artists, musicians, environmental activists, and supporters marched together to celebrate the sacred fish. The Cheam First Nation hosted the Wild Salmon Caravan travellers before the journey, which began at the headwaters of the Fraser River near Prince George and travelled south to Vancouver.
Desiree Wallace, a resident of Fort Langley B.C. and self-proclaimed environmental activist said, “We need these creatures. We need to listen to them and honour them, and that is why the Wild Salmon Caravan is so important to me.”
Some of the individuals representing the Cheam, Shxwha:y and Skwah First Nations were there to send a more pointed message to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans: let First Nations People manage their own fishery.
Paul Wagner, “I was told they offer themselves to us for a reason [...] The salmon people give themselves to us because of a long lasting relationship—a deep, deep respect that has been given to us the through ceremony and our understandings as human beings. These guidelines that the spirit gave First Peoples is about how to create harmony in this world.”
As narrated in the video: “Salmon and water connect us all. If the salmon go, we go.”
More than 100 people participated.
To get a bird’s eye view of the Sockeye Salmon’s own journey, see the Salute to the Sockeye video from Global Dive Media below. The term Sockeye represents the aboriginal name, suk-kegh (sθə́qəy̓) in Halkomelem, from the language of the indigenous people along the lower reaches of the Fraser River.