December, 2017:

15 Things I Learned on the 2017 Wild Salmon Caravan

by Alexandra Kropova

I had a great time on the Wild Salmon Caravan and was grateful to have been able to go along with the Still Moon Arts Society. I’m happy such an organization exists to allow me the opportunity!

As I heard from Dr. Joseph Darowski (The Protagonist Podcast,) we go through a hero’s journey every day, and I especially felt like I went through one during this trip.

1. My group and I talked of decolonizing our concept of time. Living in the city, it’s hard not to feel the constant urge to hurry, especially when abiding to transit schedules and hourly wages.

During the trip, I learned that we can all use practice at being patient. Our life was a lot slower while we visited different First Nations and Indigenous communities. I value time a lot and feel constantly pressed for it. This trip taught me to relax and live slower.

2. Something that stuck with me was that allies should do protest work so that Indigenous peoples can do their work such as restoring language or continuing tradition. Everyone has a role in reconciliation.

3. Reconciliation is defined differently for each person depending on their background.

4. As a woman, I have the right to reclaim ownership over my own body.

5. We were welcomed with such open arms. The generosity and open-mindedness of the communities were inspiring.

6. It touched me to see how emotional the salmon problem is because it’s so personally connected to people. They have food shortages. I live a privileged life with my fresh food within arm’s reach.

7 Every time I step into a museum, I’ll be watching to see if they use the past tense when referring to First Nations communities, as do many textbooks of BC curriculum. I learned far less than I should have about the history of native people in Canada in Social Studies class.

8. One Adams Lake Band member said allies should stand behind First Nations people to support them. Not to give them a voice, for they have voices, but to amplify their voices.

9. We have a responsibility to do our part to spread the word about social issues.

10. We spread the message about the importance of wild salmon brought through parading. Many local pedestrians watched us and even joined in. We spread the message – I’m confident that next year the group will be even bigger. I’m grateful the Wild Salmon Caravan exists.

11. There’s only so much reading you can do about a subject. To get invited to visit lands and learn first-hand from people on reservations is special and the ultimate way of getting informed.

12. Every community said they welcome the Rainbow Nation and that it will take people of all colors to achieve reconciliation. This makes me feel like I have an important role in representing myself at parades such as the ones the Wild Salmon Caravan holds.

This picture was taken at Adams Lake, where a short shower preceded a rainbow that connected the two sides.

13. I learned about the importance of elders and family, which I saw valued much more than in my culture. It’s important to help and listen to seniors – I recognize this a lot more now. Elders have valuable stories to tell.

14. During a ceremony, one Lower Nicola Indian Band member said she felt ancestors walking around. This moved me because it shows how connected to the land and ancestry the community is.

15. You have to take active steps to reinvigorate an animal population like wild salmon – not just conserve it. Indigenous communities have a right to fish.

 

Many thanks to the Wild Salmon Caravan of 2017 and the Still Moon Arts Society. What great groups!

 

For more photos: https://youtu.be/xqSdmcPV8U8