Kwantlen to Kwikwitlem

I’ve not been making any posts up until now for two reasons: I have been in the relatively wild areas of the BC coast and therefore out of touch with the hallowed Wi-Fi; second reason is more complex and personal – maybe that tale will come to light one day.

The mission of the journey is to spread awareness of the beauty of the BC coast to make people aware of how much can be lost should a pipeline and the proposed tanker traffic be allowed to go ahead.

Our journey is important in a number of ways: the environment is being neglected and we are helping to make people aware; the first nations people are represented on the trip by Brandon, who is a very important member of the crew (in my opinion the most important because he represents the first nation people whose voice is gaining strength in Canada and becoming the major voice); and, not least, it is a personal spiritual journey for me and others in the crew.

Well, up to now it has been just another time in just another suburb of a major city. However, today’s events end up being moving and energizing. We were given a sincere and special blessing and send off by the Kwantlen people (The major sponsors of the Spirit of the Coast journey). Not to mention the fabulous buffet breakfast that we (and all the invited guests) were given. After breakfast the crew members present were all blanketed and blessed, then everyone else was invited to line up and say a personal word or two of blessing or thanks to the crew for the journey we were about to begin. There were over a hundred people and, at first, I realized what it must feel like to be royalty: to have lots of people lining up to shake your hand. But we were given more than a royal send off – I felt so much personal encouragement from the majority of the guests, and so much support for the essence of the trip itself.

After the blessing we were treated to a parallel blessing of the canoe itself – a living entity that we had to look after and who would look after us in turn. The Blessing was given by the chief of the Kwantlen people and involved sweeping of cedar branches and other rituals.

We then took the canoe to the launch area and set off for a short paddle across the river to the jetty where the public were gathered to hear elders speak about the trip and its importance. Then, after formalities, embarked on our first leg of the journey – to the Kwikwetlem Nation (http://www.kwikwetlem.com/) for a salmon barbecue. Don had managed to get a seat in a helicopter to film our departure from the air – Don, you nearly blew my hat off.
(Kwikwetlem in Halq’emeylem language means: “Red Fish Up The River”). See also the Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halkomelem.

Suitably fed, the others returned to Pitt Meadows to sleep it off while I volunteered to stay next to the canoe in my tent to keep her company.

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One Response to Kwantlen to Kwikwitlem

  1. Anette Andersen says:

    Hi Kye – i was just thinking of you when a Fisherman to Eagle email landed in my inbox. This is the first one – well, that explains why I haven’t had had any emails this time around until this one. Wonderful to get some news. And you write so movingly…I just had another look at your blog entry. 1st June – and today it’s 11th August. Hmm – not exactly an Olympian record :-) Stunning photograph at the top of your blog, I expect you took it!? I suppose that by now you will be in Alaska? Or more likely back again and perhaps well into your next trip? Did you have a close encounter with polar bears in Alaska by the way? Looking forward to hearing your stories when you’re back – and do take as many notes as you’re able to about your experiences, thoughts, feelings, etc. Love, Anette

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