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, February 6, 2013

N. Carol Brown - an anniversary

Prince Rupert's N. Carol Brown writes:

it is almost a year since I attended the Joint Review Panel in Prince Rupert. Since that time I have helped edit The Salmon Recipes book, which is having great success, and I feel that I have contributed to the movement to keep the north and ocean Oil Pipeline and Tanker Free. I revisited a poem that I wrote then and thought I would send it on to you. At the time I was very angry with the government of Canada and felt nothing deserved upper case letters except the original native concept of village. My hope was that readers would understand the concept and that maybe the people on the panel would hear the hope too, and revisit the vision of a village for our whole country.

Written for Presentation at the Enbridge Joint Review Panel, February, 2012, Prince Rupert

(Kanata is an aboriginal word meaning village or settlement)

i stand before you to bear witness
that the best minds of four generations
will express their love for this northern land

in canada : Kanata is
from the beginning
all that is expressed, all that is uncovered
whether beautiful, barren, bestial or disordered
honours this land, its people, its exploration and discovery.

respect the past, pioneers of the future.
love the land, air and sea, the rivers in between.
this land is not a political party, a race, religion or corporation.
be not an opponent of this land and its living celebration.

i am one small voice in the wilderness/city
joined with others i become a herd,
a flock, a migration - one echoing symphony that travels,
savouring  mountaintop,  valley and ocean,
only pausing a lightning strike in time
to rest on the waterways of our future.
n. carol brown

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