New Coquitlam hatchery significant step toward reconciliation.

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New Coquitlam hatchery significant step toward reconciliation.

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by pmnationtalk on November 13, 2022111 Views

Credit: tricitiestv

On November 10th kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation held a a special cultural blessing and ground-breaking ceremony for a new Sockeye Hatchery that will be built nearby the Coquitlam Dam in the heart of the Nation’s traditional, ancestral and unceded territory known as the skʷƛ̓əma:ɬ x̌acaʔ (Coquitlam Lake) Watershed.

The kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Sockeye Hatchery is a crucial next step in the Nation’s long-term goal of restoring the run of Coquitlam Sockeye that once flourished in the Nation’s territory, and that sustained their people for thousands of years for food and culture, before the Coquitlam Dam opened in 1913 and virtually eliminated the salmon that flourished there..

The Kwikwetlem Nation, along with their elders, past and present, as well as countless allies, have worked tirelessly to restore this run of sockeye back to our ancestral lands and waters for decades. “Today, we acknowledge a new beginning, by ways of UNDRIP Articles and Reconciliation, with our partners during this ceremony held for the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Sockeye Hatchery that we hope will give us a better chance of bringing the sockeye back home,” said kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Chief Ed Hall.

“The construction of the Coquitlam Dam is one of the most significant colonial harms done to kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation and our People as it took away the salmon from our rivers and food away from our cupboards,” said kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Councillor George Chaffee. “We have been fighting to restore our Indigenous rights to fish in our territory ever since former Chief Johnnie Williams wrote to the federal government back in 1899 urging them not to dam the Coquitlam River. The destiny of kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation is tied to the future of this fish whose name we proudly carry. Just like the fish, we didn’t die, and we are proud to be back as stewards and guardians of our territory with the new kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Sockeye Hatchery.”

The kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Sockeye Hatchery is being led by kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation in partnership with BC Hydro, Metro Vancouver and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation is responsible for operating the hatchery once completed, which is expected to be by early 2023. The kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Sockeye Hatchery will also highlight the Nation’s culture and history through cultural design elements as well as interpretive display areas around the hatchery.

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