Indigenous Salmon Defenders

letter to the editor from Cheryl Thomas, Clearwater - Indigenous Salmon Defenders

To the editor;

I am passing along this information from the Indigenous Salmon Defenders. I am a member of the Indigenous Food Systems Network of BC, and appreciate that the salmon are far more important to the future of food and life in Canada than most people realize.

“At the same time communities in every single province across Canada are preparing to respond to the latest report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Indigenous peoples and friends from across B.C. are preparing to take to the streets in protest in one of Canada’s most food insecure communities. As the most over-represented cultural group in the poverty stricken neighbourhoods of the downtown eastside of Vancouver, Indigenous peoples are “Idle No More” in upholding our responsibility to care for the wild salmon.

“Wild salmon are the most important culturally adapted food for all of the 27 nations of Indigenous peoples in B.C., and are a highly symbolic icon for people across all cultures and communities around the province.

“They have given themselves freely over thousands of years, to provide nourishment for our bodies, minds and souls, and they play a keystone role in sustaining the diverse ecosystems and landscapes across beautiful B.C.

“The cesspools of viruses and parasites that have been traced back to the Norwegian fish farms off the coast of B.C. are inflicting disease and suffering on the wild salmon who are beginning their spring time journey home to their spawning grounds in the inland rivers, lakes and streams. Eddie Gardner, a member of the Sto’lo (People of the River), expresses dire concern over the politics and destruction that is killing wild salmon. “Currently, the provincial government is the slum landlord and Norwegian owned open net cage salmon farms are unruly, destructive tenants. With the spring election, this needs to be a major issue. With the Harper government abdicating its responsibilities through Bill C-38 and 45, we now must ask each provincial party seeking power whether it will champion the survival of Fraser River sockeye and revoke open net feedlot leases”.

“Continued access to adequate amounts of wild salmon is a key strategy to addressing the high levels of food insecurity and epidemic proportions of diabetes and other food related illnesses in Indigenous communities. Indigenous salmon defenders are calling for immediate action that would bring balance to the politics and greed that is inflicting disease and suffering on the wild salmon, and derail the impending ecological disaster that would follow the extinction of this keystone species.

“The Indigenous voices are rising to call the wild salmon home to their spawning grounds in strength, resiliency and abundance. We invite everyone to march beside us to send a message loud and clear to the government – STOP FISH FARMS IN COASTAL B.C. from inflicting pain, suffering and sickness on our most highly nutritious and culturally adapted food!”


Cheryl Thomas

Clearwater, B.C.




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