Great Reads: Climate Action Challenges for British Columbia’s Indigenous People

After publicizing their presence for years, an estimated 900,000 chinook salmon returned to Cowichan River in British Columbia. Thousands of people rejoiced at the return, showing up at the Salmon Town Block party. These…

Great Reads: Climate Action Challenges for British Columbia’s Indigenous People

After publicizing their presence for years, an estimated 900,000 chinook salmon returned to Cowichan River in British Columbia. Thousands of people rejoiced at the return, showing up at the Salmon Town Block party. These were just the anglers, but there were also tons of kids swimming in the river in celebration.

Farther downstream, an overwhelming number of families poured into the river. Weaving through the thousands of people, we spotted a Native elder with a young girl in her arms. “Welcome to Beaver Inn, a place where we meet,” she said, laughing. “We serve salmon.” Then she showed us their cooking skills and their good humor.

Earlier this year, Governor John Horgan decided to withdraw federal approval for a $7.7-billion oil pipeline designed to bring 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen per day from the Alberta oil sands to an export terminal on the West Coast. The move cut Canada’s oil production by 500,000 barrels per day. The reversal of that pipeline is considered a controversial and controversial move. But in early May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would support Horgan’s decision. It was the second major move in less than a year to take measures aimed at countering climate change.

The overwhelming consensus of climate change has not gone unnoticed by British Columbia’s Indigenous community, who feel that they are barely getting a seat at the table. For 25 years, a signature protest kicked off in 2009 by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Raging Grannies turned in a million signatures on a petition asking for international recognition of Indigenous customary law. Indigenous communities across B.C. made similar efforts.

When it comes to reconciliation, reconciliation is not built by leaders coming to individual settlements or accepting government handouts; it happens when communities and cultures can meet and remember each other. It is a faith.

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