Simpcw First Nation held what might be its final Salmon Run on Saturday, Sept. 7, according to band council member Tina Donald.
“Our Salmon Run served two purposes,” Donald said. “One was to protest CNR’s wanting to twin track from Jasper to Vancouver, which would have impacted our salmon spawning ground in the North Thompson and Fraser rivers; the other was a title and rights issue, being out on the land and claiming our traditional territory.”
The first group on Saturday started with a smudge ceremony by the Fraser River at Tete Jaune Cache at 6 a.m., she reported. Tom Eustache, Skylar Camile Eustache, Cory McGregor and Donald rode for 100 km.
They met with the second group just south of Thunder River. Members of the second group were Nathan, Marie, Pat and Robert Matthew.
On Sunday Arnold Baptiste and his family, along with Ian Cameron, started in Clearwater at 8 a.m. and rode to Louis Creek.
Sunday afternoon the participants had a lunch followed by a Powerpoint presentation of pictures of the salmon run history (including a picture of Times editor Keith McNeill running in one of the early Salmon Runs). It was enjoyed by all as they shared some good Salmon Run memories.
The Salmon Run began in 1989. For the first three years it was a running relay from Tete Jaune Cache to Louis Creek, while in following years the participants cycled.
“I have the feather that was used the first 20 years; then we got a new feather for last five years,” Donald said.
Upcoming events for Simpcw First Nation include the salmon interpretative program at Raft River Elementary School on Sept. 18, 19 and 20, and the 18th annual Coho Day at Dunn Creek Hatchery on Oct. 29.