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Indigenous fisher peoples in Canada are busy mobilizing knowledge and networks to celebrate the spirit of wild salmon and revitalize the inter-tribal networks where the strength of Indigenous fisheries governance can be realized more fully. The Wild Salmon Caravan is led by the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty and is entering into its 5th year of public arts-based engagement through a series of events that calls on the Rainbow Coalitions “People of all Colors”, to come together to address the systemic injustices that are killing wild salmon, our most important Indigenous food and cultural and ecological keystone species.  

Following the theme of Rainbow Warriors, this year’s caravan will feature over 20 BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) artists. Each artist will be featured on the Wild Salmon Caravan website and facebook page from September 15 to October 4th. 

WSC Sept 19 Event

 On September 19th, the caravan will lead a ceremonial procession with Indigenous fisher peoples and knowledge holders, as well as artists who are calling for a just transition out of an unjust system of fisheries research, policy, planning and governance that has led to the decline of the wild salmon and their habitat since the time of colonization. The procession and program will begin at False Creek near Science World. Following strict COVID-19 safe protocols the caravan will proceed to Tent City at Strathcona Park where the WGIFS holds an artist’s residency. On Sunday September 20, the WSC will host a panel discussion with 4 well known Indigenous thought leaders, Marilyn Baptiste (Tsilhqot’in), Darrell Bob (St’at’imc), Eli Enns (Nuu chah nulth), and Peter Oewies from an Indigenous fishing village in Doringbai South Africa. 

 As we enter 2020, wild salmon and Indigenous Peoples who rely upon them for sustenance are facing a complex, tangled web of existential crises defined by the climate crisis, capitalism and colonial rule. The Indigenous lens is ever more critical to understanding the interwoven strategies needed to dismantle the destructive paradigms, structures and processes of colonial policy, planning and governance that have led to the demise of wild salmon, and look to Indigenous fisher peoples for leadership to reconceptualize a framework for coastal and inland fisheries and regenerative life-giving economy.  

As Stó:lõ Elder and President of the Wild Salmon Defender’s Alliance, Eddie Gardner says “if wild salmon goes, we go. Both Eddie and Dawn Morrison, Founder/Curator of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, have been quoted as saying: “It is our sacred responsibility to return to our original instructions as Indigenous Peoples to uphold our responsibility to our sacred trusts of land, water, plants and animals that have provided us with our food for thousands of years”. 

“In a similar spirit as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela who organized for a post-apartheid South Africa; and the African American Black - led Rainbow Coalitions of the 1960’s, we call on all people to stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples on the front lines of stopping widespread destruction to wild salmon and their habitat in our forests, fields and waterways. We urge you to ‘swim with us’ and join the diverse and powerful alliances forming to save wild salmon - aligned with the principles of Indigenous Food Sovereignty and social justice” stated Morrison”.

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We’ve come to a fork in the road. We need to decide if we are an ‘oil country’ or a ‘country of nature?’ Do we want the previous status quo, with its now-obvious holes in our health and social well-being nets, and its trajectory towards climate catastrophe? Or do we want to “build back better” in ways that fight climate change, inequality & injustice?


We talk about  building a healthier, fairer, greener province based on a clean economy. We want to support strong climate and clean energy policies needed to build a resilient economy. We know the projects generated from a clean energy framework can put people to work in safe, healthy, well-paid jobs. We understand that a green recovery is a  just recovery and we don’t want anyone to be left behind. 


The Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force is scheduled to release its findings from the 6 week public consultation process this month. The report aims to provide recommendations on how the $1.5 billion fund set aside for recovery spending will be deployed.  A member of the task force,  The BC Federation of Labour, submitted, “We must make up for lost time in addressing the climate crisis, with an accelerated and inclusive path to a green economy. The global collapse of oil prices is only the latest drastic swing in the fossil fuel economy — and one more sign that a sustainable future must rely on a swift transition to cleaner, renewable sources of energy.” They continue by saying, “We must look beyond economic indicators to human outcomes — our goal entails nothing less than the end of poverty, homelessness and other inequities. And it goes deeper: a meaningful connection to the communities they live and work in and with — even in times of crisis, with no exceptions.” Reading submissions like those of the BC Federation makes it sound hopeful that the BC Economic  Recovery Plan will support a Green New Deal. 

At the same time, however, we continue to invest in fossil fuel projects. The Trans Mountain Pipeline, owned by the Canadian Government, continues to be built despite knowing there is no longer a market in Asia or in the US to sell the gas; that we publicly committed  to climate action in the Paris Agreement; we have a flawed consultation process with Indigenous communities; a  failure to consider the risks posed by increased tanker traffic; ongoing protests and other concerns.  We know that the BC Recovery Plan Task Force is represented in favour of heavy industrial business and is  lobbying to have their projects be financially supported through the Plan.  

The Report
is scheduled to be released this month.  Let’s see how well the  recommendations reflect the importance of workplace safety, strong public services, and our collective responsibility to take care of each other. We have the chance to address those gaps, and to do much more. We can build back better than before.

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We are in the same storm, not the same boat.

As we are in Phase 2 restarting, we ask ourselves: What do we want our community to look like? What did we learn from our time of self-isolation? What will be our economy?

At CCEC, we support a just recovery for all. We agree that now is the time to move forward with innovative, progressive recovery and rebuilding plans with a strong focus on social spending. Now is the time to invest in rebuilding our communities and cities based on care and compassion.

We cannot go back to the way things were. We are seeing the results of chronic underinvestment and inaction in the face of the ongoing, pre-existing crises of colonialism, human rights abuses, social inequity, ecological degradation, and climate change. We see that the people most impacted by the inequities are those living in poverty, women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), racialized, newcomer and LGBTQ2S+ communities, people with disabilities, and seniors. We are seeing that the situation is forcing governments and civil society to face the inadequacies and inequities of our systems. There is no going back as “normal” caused our current situation and problems.

The recently formed Just Recovery Canada, an informal alliance of more than 150 civil society groups, have released “Six Principles for a Just Recovery.” The principles ask that all recovery plans being created by governments and civil society:

  1. put people’s health and wellbeing first;
  2. strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people;
  3. prioritize the needs of workers and communities;
  4. build resilience to prevent future crises;
  5. build solidarity and equity across communities, generations and borders; and
  6. uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous people.

The principles aim to capture the immense amount of care work happening throughout Canadian civil society right now and present a vision of a Just Recovery that leaves no one behind.

 

Now is the time to get involved and fight for a Just Recovery. We need to be on the path toward an equitable and sustainable future. 

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“This is not a return to normal … we’re going to a new normal," said Premier John Horgan.


But what does “a new normal”  look like for you? 


Dogwood BC says, “It marks the beginning of our next big test. Will we seize this opportunity to rebuild a more resilient province — or rush back to business as usual?” They ask you to help shape this essential public conversation by sending a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or through their webpage.


Dogwood BC also says that in BC, “normal” was failing to meet our climate targets. “Normal” was Indigenous and rural communities with no economic opportunities. “Normal” was housing, homelessness and addiction crises in our cities. “Normal” was a wildly inequitable distribution of wealth and power in our province. Let’s not go back to “normal”. 

The province has set aside $1.5 billion to get our economy back on its feet again as we transition out of the pandemic. ‘There’s a huge opportunity for very important economic growth and economic benefits to be invested in greening our economy, in energy efficiency,’ says interim Green Leader Adam Olsen.

But, the Premier’s task force in charge includes big business and unions, but not green groups.

Our members say:  

Advocating for a "hard hat" or "shovel ready" recovery is grabbing the wrong end of the stick. We  need to see retraining and placement programs at an unprecedented scale, with gender equity outcomes far beyond anything anyone's achieved in any economic recovery I've heard about.

The recovery plan MUST include:

  • clean energy development - lots of new jobs there!

  • fossil fuel use reduction

  • remove subsidies to fossil fuels - stop investment in dying industries

  • develop local power grids like solar roofs and wind power (there are bird friendly windmills already developed)

  • invest in green transportation like public transit and safe bikeways

BC Transit needs to establish a province-wide public bus company that uses as much electric power as possible.  Many communities in BC cannot be reached by bus…forcing people to drive their cars, if they have them, are agile enough and can afford to drive.

This is a once-in-a-generation chance to invest these precious public dollars into projects that build the kind of B.C. we all want to live in.  We need to be louder. Spark a conversation in your community about what our province should look like as the economy powers up again.  

Get involved. We need a Green New Deal, a CleanBC and a Way Forward. 

Like and follow groups including DogwoodBC, Wilderness Committee, and  STAND.earth


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