Continuing Tradition: The 2024 Sinixt Canoe Journey and Salmon Prayer

By Contributor
June 13th, 2024

This week, the Sinixt Confederacy embarks for the 9th time on a momentous canoe journey down the Columbia River.

As part of their journey, the paddlers will make a stop in Nelson on June 16 and 17. The community is invited to participate in celebration and cultural exploration, with events planned both at the Chamber of Commerce building and the Capitol Theatre as well as artisan tables at Lakeside Park and a paddle on the West arm of Kootenay Lake.

The Canoe Journey is a powerful assertion of the belief that Indigenous peoples of the region are stewards of the river and the salmon—one of their first foods. This journey highlights the vital connection between their language, culture, and the natural environment.

Last year’s journey spanned 272 miles, from the Head Waters of the Columbia River at Revelstoke and Two Rivers, Washington, on the Spokane Indian Reservation, culminating at the Kettle Falls Fishery and traditional Salmon Ceremony site.

This event offers a transformative opportunity for the (Sinixt) Snayckstx/Arrow Lakes and Colville people (Snʕayckstx and Sxʷyʔiłp) to reconnect with their traditional territories and waterways.

The Salmon Ceremony, a traditional and spiritual practice, addresses the needs of both the people and the environment. This may be one of the most significant moments in history to amplify the Indigenous community’s voice regarding our shared responsibility to the land and waters.

The Nelson stop of the Canoe Journey offers community members the chance to paddle alongside the traditional dugout canoes, discover the secrets of nature in a medicinal plant workshop, and enjoy live performances by Sinixt Members.

The events open to the public kick off on the morning of June 16th with artisan tables set up in Lakeside Park by the Rotary Shelter and at 10 a.m. at The Nelson Innovation Centre (Chamber of Commerce building), there will be an Indigenous Plant Workshop led by Sinixt knowledgeable keeper Faith Zacherle and native plant specialist Rob Crandall.

The workshop is an introduction to hands-on plant fibre processing and traditional medicine-making during which participants will learn about traditional plant uses and their significance to the Sinixt people. This workshop is a unique opportunity to connect with Indigenous culture and deepen an understanding of local flora.

Registration for this free workshop is limited to 25 participants and available through the Capitol Theatre.

At 3 p.m. on the 16th at the Capitol Theatre, there will be a 2-hour presentation of a combination of short films, live poetry and music and in the evening at 7 p.m., singer/songwriter, Tony Louie will be on stage in concert.

Opening the evening performance are spoken-word artist, James Pakootas and theatre-maker, CarliAnn Forthun Bruner who form “The Scattered Roots Collective” which tells stories by weaving poetry, dance, film, and music at the intersection of Indigenous world views and contemporary art.

The two will present, ”Coming Home” – a multimedia stage production that explores what it means to be Indigenous by presenting stories of intergenerational trauma into new cycles of intergenerational healing.

The following morning on June 17th, the community is invited to join the Sinixt paddlers in non-motorized vessels as they set two dugout canoes and a sturgeon nose canoe into the West arm at 10 a.m.

The launch point is from Lakeside Park (or join the paddlers by launching at the end of the airfield close to the recycling depot as they pass by) with a paddle to view the pictographs, hold a ceremony and a paddle back to Lakeside Park.

This event holding celebration and cultural learning has received overwhelming community support as well as support from provincial and federal funders. To see the full list of supporters, register for the workshop, and reserve free tickets for the afternoon and evening events, please visit the Capitol Theatre’s website .

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: Community


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