• Polluted Spirits
    With creeks and lakes crucial to spirit dancing initiations threatened by development and pollution, Sto:lo spiritual leaders speak out about dangers to sacred sites in the Fraser Valley.
  • Cross-border Fishing
    Will a Tsawwassen First Nation fisherman’s fight against a charge of illegal fishing erase the “illusionary line” between U.S./Canadian waters… or lead to his financial ruin?

  • Urban Sweats
    How water, ceremony and a sweat lodge in urban Vancouver helped an El Salvadoran refugee heal from a devastating war.

  • Lost Lake
    It’s now some of the most productive farmland in the Fraser Valley, but the Sumas First Nation is seeking compensation for what was lost when Sumas Lake was drained in the 1920s.

  • Canoe Family
    Why three generations of one Squamish Nation family are struggling to preserve the proud tradition of canoe-racing and canoe-carving.

  • Eco-Partners
    In the battle to protect Burrard Inlet from pollution and pipelines, the Tseil-Waututh Nation and environmental groups present a united front. But who sets the agenda?

 

Tsuk Ekanam – Water Stories

  • Jimmy snaps pictures of a sweat lodge at Tsleil-Waututh Jimmy snaps pictures of a sweat lodge at Tsleil-Waututh
  • Rachel talks with elder and spirit dancer Jeff Point at Tamihi Creek Rachel talks with elder and spirit dancer Jeff Point at Tamihi Creek
  • Stephanie speaking with elder and spirit dancer Jeff Point Stephanie speaking with elder and spirit dancer Jeff Point
  • Aurora on the Canoe with the Billy family Aurora on the Canoe with the Billy family
  • Meghan on the canoe with the Billy family and her audio recorder Meghan on the canoe with the Billy family and her audio recorder
  • Katelyn records wind sounds where Sumas Lake used to be Katelyn records wind sounds where Sumas Lake used to be
  • Emma talks with former Sumas chief Lester Ned near Abbotsford Emma talks with former Sumas chief Lester Ned near Abbotsford
  • Allison interviewing former chief of Tsleil-Waututh, Leonard George Allison interviewing former chief of Tsleil-Waututh, Leonard George
  • Joel interviews Tsawwassen First Nation member Steven Stark Joel interviews Tsawwassen First Nation member Steven Stark
  • Carlos interviews Tony Jacobs of Tsawwassen First Nation Carlos interviews Tony Jacobs of Tsawwassen First Nation
  • Julio Amaya explains the significance of drumming to Sebastian Julio Amaya explains the significance of drumming to Sebastian
  • Russell Wallace tells Umbreen about Nisga'a pole Wils Sayt Bakhwhlagat Russell Wallace tells Umbreen about Nisga'a pole Wils Sayt Bakhwhlagat
  • RIIC visits UBC Museum of Anthropology for inspiration and stories RIIC visits UBC Museum of Anthropology for inspiration and stories
  • Debra Martel explains house posts at First Nations House of Learning Debra Martel explains house posts at First Nations House of Learning
  • Band councillor Carleen Thomas on trip to Tsleil-Waututh band office Band councillor Carleen Thomas on trip to Tsleil-Waututh band office
  • Carleen Thomas and Andrew Van Eden present students with a gift Carleen Thomas and Andrew Van Eden present students with a gift
     

We’re surrounded by water in Vancouver, notably the magnificent Salish Sea and Fraser River. Still, it’s easy to take water in our beautiful city for granted.

Historically, water was sacred to the Coast Salish peoples who have called this place home since time out of mind. Rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and the ocean provided food and transportation. Water was honoured, as a life-giver and symbol of purity.

These days, it’s unsafe to drink tap water in many First Nations communities in Canada. Moreover, First Nations complain access to traditional food sources, such fish and shellfish, is increasingly limited by environmental damage.

The United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples brings water rights to the fore:

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Indigenous peoples in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland are raising awareness about water issues they face, and seeking contemporary solutions. We’re grateful to share with you their water stories – tsuk ekanam.

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