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

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Current

Such an apt  name for the CBC  radio show doing a piece on the Northern Gateway project just as the hearings are opening. After listening to the reasoned analysis, here's what I wrote to the show:

It was good to hear Gerald Amos this morning on your pipeline piece; at least one voice from BC's northwest. I was raised on the south coast and moved to Smithers, just downstream of the proposed pipeline route, over thirty years ago. It is finally dawning on me that part of the disconnect in the conversations about this project comes from a phenomenon that Mr. Harper, the Alberta and international oil industry, and many Canadians don't understand.


Except for that beleaguered pocket of extraction in BC's northeast, all of BC is connected by the salmon-bearing arteries of the Fraser, the Stikine, the Skeena, the Nass and all the smaller rivers running to the Pacific. Even the poor Columbia. Salmon feed us, our wolves, our bears and our forests all along the lengths of our rivers. They inhabit and enrich the rivers and surrounding ecosystems from beginning to end. We don't need "foreign" money to organize ourselves to fight this absurd project. We've been doing fighting this fight for decades in the northwest - and we'll keep doing it, no matter what comes out of the so-called hearings.

Holding up this project is not what we're about, Mr. Harper. Stopping it is our goal. And if anyone is being inconvenienced by this process, it's the people who live here and know there are other ways to live than by exporting jobs and endangering our rivers and coast. We all have better things to do, but right now, we don't have anything more important.

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