Indigenous leaders hold ceremony for Fraser River salmon as Trans Mountain prepares to drill – Penticton Western News
Indigenous chiefs and elders held a ceremony to pray for the safety of the salmon, ecosystems and cultural heritage of the Fraser River on May 29.
According to Coast Protectors, a group hosted by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), federal crown corporation Trans Mountain plans to drill a 1.2-meter-diameter borehole to place a pipeline under the Fraser River at the Port Mann Bridge. The pipeline would emerge from the north side of the bridge at Colony Farm, a regional park in Metro Vancouver.
Kukpi7 (Chief) Judy Wilson, one of the matriarchs who organized the ceremony and a member of the UBCIC executive board, said any leak or spill at any time from the pipeline would be devastating to the wild salmon, whose populations are already stressed at the edge. .
“Wild salmon are also the life of our nations and the foundation of the coastal ecosystem,” Wilson said. “… Canada is playing on the Fraser River to extract a few more dollars from the tar sands.”
Mark Point, Chief of the Skowkale First Nation, one of the communities of the Stó: lō Nation, said the Stó: lō are “the people of the river”. He said the Fraser River and the life it sustains are at the heart of Stó: lō culture. Point said the May 29 ceremony was part of a sacred responsibility to defend land and water.
“Threats to the health of the river and to our fishing grounds are threats to the well-being of our people.” Point said.