Salmon Ceremonies coming to GF June 22

By Contributor
June 15th, 2015

Tribes, First Nations call salmon home and hold community meetings while United States, Canada prepare to negotiate, modernize Columbia River Treaty






5:30 AM

Salmon Ceremony – Bridgeport, WA

Colville Fish Hatchery Administration Building


10 AM

Salmon Ceremony – Kettle Falls

near the Kettle Falls Bridge


7 PM

Community Meeting – Grand Forks, BC

Gem Theatre, 257 Market Ave


10 AM

Salmon Ceremony – Castlegar, BC

Millennium Park


7 PM

Community Meeting – Nelson, BC

Rod & Gun Club, 801 Railway St.


7 PM

Community Meeting – Nakusp, BC

Bonington Arts Centre, 6th Ave & 4th St NW


7 PM

Community Meeting – Revelstoke, BC

United Church, 314 McKenzie Ave

“The salmon, the waters, and our prayers have no borders.”

Contact –

Virgil Seymour  seymour.sinixt@hotmail.com  509.690-2357  (Sinixt Coordinator)

D.R. Michel  dr@ucut-nsn.org509.954-7631 (Upper Columbia United Tribes, Executive Director)

The salmon ceremonies will be held at Bridgeport on Friday, June 19 starting at 5:30 AM;  Kettle Falls on Monday, June 22, starting at 10 AM.; and then again on Tuesday, June 23, at Millennium Park in Castlegar, BC.   The entire ceremony lasts less than an hour, and is followed by a meal and traditional Indian giveaway.  Because this is a sacred ceremony, photography will be restricted during parts of the ceremony.

There will be evening informational sessions open to the community to give an update on salmon reintroduction efforts by the Upper Columbia United Tribes, a short video Treaty Talks documenting peoples’ connections to the Columbia River, and a question and answer session. There will be events at Grand Forks, BC on June 22, Nelson, BC on June 23, Nakusp, BC on June 24, and Revelstoke, BC on June 25. All are welcome to the events, especially those who care about the river.

Kettle Falls was an important salmon fishing site on the Columbia River, and a place of great sustenance for indigenous people:  Sinixt (Arrow Lakes) People, Okanagans, Flatheads, Spokanes, Kalispels, Coeur d’Alenes, Sanpoils, Wenatchis, Entiats, interior Salish-speaking people, and other indigenous peoples.  They called this sacred place around the falls “san-ate-koo” meaning “deep-sounding waters.”

Grand Coulee dam built by the United States with the approval of Canada blocked the return of salmon and permanently flooded Kettle Falls and with it the beloved and vital migratory runs of salmon. In June 1940, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people mourned the falls at a “Ceremony of Tears” organized by the Colville Confederated Tribes and attended by representatives of the Yakama, Spokane, Nez Perce, Flathead, Blackfeet, Coeur d’Alene, Tulalip, and Pend d’Oreille tribes.

This year the ancient ceremony takes on growing importance.  In May, the U.S. State Department announced that modernizing the Columbia River Treaty and adding Ecosystem Function as a primary treaty purpose is a priority for the United States.  Ecosystem Function opens the door to restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia region, and other waters in the Basin now blocked by dams.   Tribal people continue to pray for their place, their river, their fishery.

The Salmon Ceremonies are hosted by the Colville Confederated Tribes, Okanagan Nation Alliance, Upper Columbia United Tribes and the Inchelium Language and Culture Association.




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