Say the Names...

Al Purdy wrote a wonderful poem called "Say the names say the names" which celebrates the names of Canadian rivers - Tulameen, Kleena Kleene, Similkameen, Nahanni, Kluane and on and on in a celebratory song.

Enbridge is planning to build a dual pipeline that will carry bitumen and condensate across hundreds of waterways between Edmonton and Kitimat. Some of these waterways are rivers like the Parsnip (or what's left of it), the Nechako, the Morice and others are smaller creeks whose names are often known only to the folks who live along their banks or who fish in their shadows or who bend to wash or drink as they cross paths.

I want to collect the names of these rivers and creeks, to collect your stories, your poems, your songs so we can collectively give voice to the land living under the line Enbridge plans to draw.

People have also sent me copies of their presentations to the community oral presentations. If you'd like to add your voice, email me ( your stories and I'll post them for you. The copyright remains with you.

All the best.
Sheila Peters

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Resistance Art

The latest news about the ship breaking up off the coast of New Zealand and spilling hundreds of tonnes of oil near Tauranga is heartbreaking - people in The Bay of Plenty are heading out to clean up the mess with sand pails and rubber gloves. I remember as a kid, sitting on the veranda as my mother struggled to remove tar from my hands and feet - butter was the chosen remedy but it wasn't very effective. It seemed to take forever, the time lengthened, no doubt, by her irritation. How was I to know the newly-laid asphalt was still sticky? Lucky for both of us, we didn't have to lick each other clean because the toxins would likely have made us very sick.

Meanwhile, in Smithers, geomorphologist Jim Schwab has just released a report assessing the likelihood of pipelines breaking apart in landslides as the unstable landscape of the northwest shifts in winter freezes and thaws, rainstorms, avalanches and the kind of slippages that are a part of day to day life on uneven ground.

So, none of us are alone in our concerns; each of us chooses our way to respond to those concerns. Check out the article I wrote for the latest issue of Northword - "Resistance Art: A Special Beauty." It celebrates all of you who use your creativity to resist...

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