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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sacred Headwaters - Skookum Wawa

As the oral statements at the so-called public hearings of the Joint Review Panel wrap up, we all need a little encouragement to overcome the depressing spectacle of locked doors and police officers surrounding this increasingly bizarre process. On Feb. 2, communities of the northwest will be gathering in Terrace to celebrate the withdrawal of Shell's plans to drill for coal bed methane in the Sacred Headwaters. Congratulations to all of those who worked so hard to pull this off - and thanks for all you're doing to help fight this next threat to the last wild salmon watersheds in BC.

When Ali Howard was swimming the length of the Skeena to draw attention to the threats Shell's plans presented, I wrote this poem to celebrate her achievement. Those of you from points inland might need a bit of background for the Chinook terms. I grew up on the south coast of BC where Chinook terms were commonplace: The ocean was the salt chuck; the wild rapids near Egmont on the Sechelt Peninsula  are called Skookum Chuck, which means powerful water. In 1975, Gary Geddes edited a collection of writing about the northwest, which he fittingly titled Skookum Wawa - powerful talk.

Skookum Wawa


Green meadows.
Spring grizzly grazing
in water welling through rooted sedges.
Waiting water
meanders until flatness finally falls,
falls in three directions.
Water becoming:
becoming Spatsizi, becoming Stikine, becoming Tahltan
becoming Nass, becoming Nisga’a
becoming Skeena, becoming Gitxsan, becoming Tsimshian,
the ancient submerged heart pumping
            life into this land.

Bright children leap laughing
to fall, to follow,
to trace in faith one great artery on its way
into the wide arms
of the salt chuck.
Chinook talk
their talk
skookum wawa.

Monday, January 21, 2013

4000 Reasons Not to Build the Northern Gateway Pipeline

4000 Reasons Not to Build the Northern Gateway Pipeline (via Desmogblog)

The Northern Gateway Pipeline Community Hearings are nearly complete, with two remaining sessions scheduled in Kelowna and Vancouver at the end of this month. Come February, the Joint Review Panel will move into the "Questioning Phase" of the final hearing, scheduled to end in May of this year.  The…

Friday, January 18, 2013

Salmon Chowder - Architect Theatre

Georgina, Jonathan, Anita, and Jennifer are inviting you to come and join us for an Information Session/Salmon Chowder Evening!

On Thursday, January 24, we will share some of the recorded interviews we conducted on our journey throughout Northern BC. We will share experiences from the trip, answer your questions, and serve you salmon chowder.

It's a free event!
But please RSVP to
by January 21.

Looking forward to having you there. If you can't make it to Vancouver, feel free to extend the invitation and send someone in your stead!

Thursday, January 24
5.00pm - 7.00pm
The Russian Hall
600 Campbell Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Join our Facebook Event Page.