“Rivers are the arteries of our planet: they are lifelines in the truest sense.” Mark Angelo
We are blessed in Quw’utsun (Cowichan) Valley with many rivers, streams, creeks and tricklets (tiny creek). Our rivers are taking a bad hit this year with the effects of a long drought and climate change. Our salmon and all the other river plants and animals are suffering. We are fortunate that the Quw’utsun is one of the few rivers on the east coast of Vancouver Island to have a weir. This allows water to be held back and released to assist salmon outcomes. Other rivers such as the Koksilah, which do not have a weir and no lake to draw from are even worse off than Quw’utsun. What can we do? Educate ourselves and become engaged.
Millions of people around the world celebrate World Rivers Day on the last weekend of September. This event was started in 1980 in BC by Mark Angelo, river conservationist, and the BC Outdoor Recreation Council. From there Mark’s vision has encircled the globe. In 2017 and 2019 Cowichan Tribes and the Cowichan Stewardship Roundtable co-hosted Quw’utsun River Day. Cowichan Tribes is the largest band in BC and is active on many fronts doing river stewardship.
Cowichan Stewardship Roundtable was founded with Cowichan Tribes and conservation groups 19 years ago. It is a grass roots group promoting collaboration on solving watershed issues. Together they have teamed up to offer a fun day on Saturday, September 25, 10-2, meeting at 222 Cowichan Way for a short walk to the site.
The day will be opened with the talented Tzinquaw Dancers. John George, Cowichan elder, will be our MC for the day. Dr. Shannon Waters, our public health officer, member of Stz’uminus Nation and strong advocate for water will be sharing her thoughts. There will be many activities including Cowichan elders and knowledge keepers sharing skills used for millenia such as carving, cedar weaving and traditional medicine. Opportunities include learning about why a new weir is needed, meeting Raptor birds from NW Pacific Raptors, watching fishery biologists do a river seine and countless other activities.
Are you wondering what is the different language in this article? This is Hul’q’umi’num’, the first language of our valley. I am a beginner learner and I am blessed with my teacher Philomena Williams and Merle Seymour. I believe we should be using our local language as much as possible.
Contact me at cowichansteward shiproundtable and 250-701-1054 for details.
Genevieve Singleton, Nana, Mum and Wild about Nature, co-chair of Cowichan Stewardship Roundtable Contact her at twinflower4@gmail. co