I went camping again!!
This time I traveled with a friend, driving first Eastwards to the area around Kamloops and then all the way up north to Prince Rupert.
I joined the Wild Salmon Caravan for a few days, an event intended to build coalitions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples who are working to protect, conserve and restore wild salmon currently endangered by industry in the Fraser Basin and Salish Seas corridor. I spent two wonderful days participating in ceremonies and listening to elders’ stories against the magical backdrop that is Mount Robson. We cooked a large feast on the second day that included moose sausages, the most delicious pickled plum sauce I know I will ever have, and of course, salmon.
I was in constant peace, enveloped in the crisp air, the constant hum of the river accompanied by the banging of the drums, the medicinal smoke from the burning sage. At night though, I definitely lost some of that peace: we were in black bear country. My friend and I slept inside his car for two nights as comfortably as we could, and thankfully we weren’t woken up by a hungry black bear growling outside my window.
Houston & Prince Rupert
The Caravan and I went our separate ways bright and early on the third day. My friend and I drove back towards the West, passing through Houston (BC) to get another friend, and then drove up north to Prince Rupert.
As we drove north the roads became deserted, the wind chillier. The mountains were covered in plump coniferous trees that only broke open for large bodies of deep blue water that were always still. It was beautiful.
We stayed in a cabin for a week, surrounded by water and living under a sky that did not begin to darken until midnight. It truly is a magical place.
Unfortunately, huge oil industries like LNG are threatening this area (and what is known as most of BC) with their pipeline and oil refinery proposals. This goes beyond an environmentalist concern for trees since the majority of the land in question is unceded territory that belongs to Aboriginal peoples who nonetheless find themselves fighting billion dollar proposal projects off of their lands that are illegally sanctioned by the “BC government.”
Aboriginal communities are fighting for the protection of the salmon that has fed their communities for generations, which would be completely wiped out if LNG projects went into effect. And perhaps more importantly, they’re defending their territory from colonialist projects that not only threaten their existence as people but undermine their sovereignty, culture, language, and process of healing after genocide.
P.S We saw a bunch of caribou and either four black bears or two Sasquatches and two black bears. My friend denies it but we saw two tall black figures crossing the highway in what appeared to be two legs, not four…