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, June 20, 2012

Steelhead on their upstream journey in Canyon Creek

Francois Depey sent this story and photo - thanks Francois.

Saturday,  June 16, 2012

I like waterfalls!  So, I check them around, once in a while.

We went to the lower fall at Canyon Creek, a tributary of the Bulkley River.

The water drop is located only 9 Km as crow flies, from the mouth of Canyon Creek (at the Bulkley River), a bit of a longer distance “as water flows” or “fish swims”…

What a pleasant surprise to see those fish jumping to make their way upstream.  Since I am not a fish expert nor a fisher at all, I was spoiled to be there with a fish specialist who could right away identify those fish as steelheads.

I learnt that steelheads spend one winter in the Bulkley before heading up to smaller tributaries when the water level is right for them to swim up.  It is a matter of timing.  They don’t have to fight the strong current of the Bulkley in springtime.  The fact that they spend the winter months in the river means that if an oil spill would occur at that time or in early spring, they would be a prime target.

Unlike salmon, steelhead do the round trip from their spawning grounds to the ocean up to four times (or maybe more!?) in their lifetime.  That is an exciting nomadic life, I guess.

Watching them fighting their way to their spawning ground in Canyon Creek is not a sight I would be prepared to sacrifice for all the oil/tar sand in the world!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Masset Hearings and 4000 Reasons

The Terrace and Prince Rupert presentations have wrapped up and, this afternoon and tomorrow, the JRP is in Masset. Also tomorrow, we'll be gathering in Smithers for the 4000 Reasons Festival sponsored by the Driftwood Foundation to celebrate those who are speaking in defence of our communities.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading a history of Burns Lake by Pat Turkki published in 1973 - an amazing collection of people's stories. At the end, she quotes Herman Hesse:

For every man is not only himself, he is also the unique, particular. always significant and remarkable point where the phenomena of the world intersect once and for all and never again. That is why every man's story is important, eternal and sacred.

This is very much the spirit in which we put together the festival - to honour each person's story.

If you come in the afternoon (to the rotunda at Smithers Secondary  School), you'll also hear musicians and local poets reading their own work and work from The Enpipe Line: 70,000+ kms of poetry written in resistance to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. Admission to the afternoon is by donation; there's a $15 salmon BBQ at 5 pm and a gala concert in the evening (see link above for details). Price: $25.