Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks participated in this year’s Wild Salmon Caravan parade on Saturday, September 22, 2018.
This is an annual event organized by the Working Group for Indigenous Food Sovereignty in partnership with over 100 local organizations from Vancouver through Chase, B.C. It is also the kick off event for Sustenance Festival, a local community-based food, art, and culture festival.
The Wild Salmon Caravan festivities began in downtown Vancouver, or what is known as Xwenelmexw on unceded Coast Salish territories.
The Wild Salmon Caravan Parade
Hundreds of people gathered in the streets to celebrate the beauty and resilience of wild salmon as an Indigenous food source, and a significant cultural and ecological keystone species.
Chants of “Wild Salmon Forever!” were accompanied by colourful costumes, mermaid tails, mythical sea creatures, parade floats, bike floats, banners, and artful decor with an homage to wild salmon.
Led by traditional drummers and elders, and followed by the brass Carnival Band, it was a sight and sound to behold as the parade moved throughout the downtown core — from 700 block of Granville between Georgia and Robson, across Granville street, down Davie street, and concluding at David Lam Park.
Sacred Ceremony at David Lam Park
This year’s parade was followed by a sacred ceremony beside the water at David Lam Park. Following Indigenous protocol, hundreds witnessed the ceremony led by Indigenous elders and matriarchs who welcomed the salmon home.
Wild Salmon Feast
The celebrations continued at Roundhouse Community Centre with a wild salmon feast and performances nourishing bellies, hearts, spirits, and minds.
The Wild Salmon Caravan journey continues
After this kick off celebration in Vancouver, the Wild Salmon Caravan continued along the Fraser River to follow the migratory route of the wild salmon.
Wild Salmon Caravan made stops along the Fraser River for community celebrations in Chilliwack (Shxwhá:y Village, hosted by Stó:lō community members), Bridge River near Lillooet (Xwísten, hosted by St’at’ic people), Meritt (Nlaka’pamux, hosted by the Lower Nicola Indian Band), Adams Lake (“‘Indian Checkpoint”), and finally, Chase (Secwépemc territory, hosted by Neskonlith).
This is the fourth year of Wild Salmon Caravan and the fourth “dominant” year of the salmon run.
“The four-year life cycle and migration of wild Sockeye Salmon provides a powerful metaphor for social and ecological resiliency in Indigenous fishing communities which have some of the most sustainable strategies anywhere,” says community organizer Dawn Morrison. “Wild salmon need us now more than ever to celebrate and honour their amazing generosity as a keystone species and to show the world how important they are to our Indigenous land and food systems.”
For more information about future Wild Salmon Caravan events and activities, please follow updates on the Wild Salmon Caravan Facebook page.
See more photos from last year’s Wild Salmon Caravan 2017.