Water Ceremony

At our May meeting, Salal + Cedar’s Mutual Aid and Solidarity Team decided to contribute funds to the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust’s Water Ceremony so that Elders from out of town could attend. Sacred Trust is an initiative of Tsleil-Waututh Nation focused on stopping the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMX), a project approved by the Canadian government without the consent of the Nation and this year Salal + Cedar paid our voluntary “land tax” to TWN Sacred Trust.

On June 25th I attended the ceremony which invited the public to connect and deepen their relationship with water in the face of TMX. Rueben George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and manager of the Sacred Trust Initiative, began the day with a welcome to the territory and gratitude to those that had made the day possible. Paddlers were then called to head out on the water in three 35-foot ocean-going canoes that paddled as close as possible to the Burnaby TMX Westridge Marine Terminal. Near the giant oil drums, they rafted the canoes together as the matriarchs voiced powerful words, songs, and prayers to their ancestors and creator and offered sacred earth to the waters.

Returning from the water a circle of 150 came together to join in the ceremony led by Elder Minnie (Grinder) Kenoras, Red Hummingbird Woman (Judy Wilson) and Sun Woman (JoAnne Buffalo), Xaliya (Ta7ah – Amy George), Ts’simtelot (Charlene Aleck) and Roxanne Charles. The women offered powerful and inspiring words to keep moving this work forward, and to never stop protecting the waters and all living beings. Young water carriers such as Kayah George were called to speak and lifted spirits by saying the orca are probably having a rally right now too.

The ceremony included witnesses from/representing the furthest participants south, east, north and west, two of whom I sat with at the feast and got to know a bit better. Jim Leyden, whom we supported with court costs and with presence at his Supreme Court appeal was there, blanketed, and spoke at the feast. Several members of Salal + Cedar attended and Ruth Ruth Walmsley was blanketed with thanks for her work with the Prayer Circle which gathers at the Watch House on Burnaby Mountain on the Second Saturday of each month.

By Adele Finney (Mutual Aid and Solidarity Team) with information from Sierra Club BC

stop TMX solidarity events

support land defenders
Ruth Walmsley of the Burnaby Mountain Prayer Circle has compiled this list of solidarity opportunities:
Thursday January 19, 6:30-10pmSecwepemc Sovereignty Fundraiser Concert Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Avenue, Vancouver, BC Secwepemc land defenders and their supporters have been convicted for protecting ancestral lands while holding ceremonies in October 2020. After over 20 days in court and inhumane and unjust treatment from the BC Court system, all 8 will be sentenced the week of Feb 21st 2023. The crown prosecutor is seeking a range of 1 – 6 months of jail time. The group includes: Hereditary Chief Saw ses, Secwepemc Matriarchs Miranda Dick and April Thomas, Nlaka’pamux land protector Billie Pierre and four settler supporters; Romilly Cavanaugh, Heather Lamoureux, Susan Bibbings and Laura Zadorozny. We will have a T-shirts for sale and food by donation. All funds will support fees for the sentencing lawyer and necessary food and travel funds for the sentencing process. Register to attend the fundraising event here:https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/secwepemc-sovereignty-fundraiser-tickets-510794268407
Please consider donating to their legal support efforts here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/protect-sqeqpetsin-stop-tmx-trial-support.

Tuesday January 24, 2023, 8:30 AMCourt Support – Stand with Will!BC Supreme Court, 800 Smithe St. Please join us at the BC Supreme Court to support courageous land defender Will George from Tsleil Waututh, at 8:30 am on Tues Jan 24. Will has to turn himself in to the court at 9 am at the 800 Smithe entrance, and his appeal will be heard in the BC Court of Appeal that day.  Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/3dMf1scii

Thursday January 26, 6:30-8pmHidden Costs of Canada’s Fossil Energy Expansion Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue SFU – 580 West Hastings Street – Vancouver The UN Secretary General is very clear and vocal about the threat to global health and well-being from climate change. Secretary Guterres is also clear that no new fossil energy infrastructure should be built. The Government of Canada, however, argues that we should be allowed to continue expanding our oil and gas emissions well past 2030 and justifies this position based upon the profits to be made. This panel will examine the hidden costs of major Canadian fossil energy projects using the Trans Mountain Expansion project as a case-study, with consideration of work planned and ongoing on Wet’suet’en territory in Northern BC. Join us for an informative dialogue on January 26. Free; Reserve a spot: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-hidden-costs-of-canadas-fossil-energy-expansion-tickets-490789323077

Friday January 27, 9am (rally), 10am (trial)“Dino” Court Support BC Supreme Court, 800 Smithe St. Come and support Emily & Lucy who are facing criminal contempt of court charges for blocking TMX pipeline construction (wearing T.Rex costumes) on unceded Coast Salish Territory in Burnaby and are each expected to be sentenced to three weeks in prison. Come support the T.Rex and sit in the gallery!

Tuesday February 21, 8:30amBC Supreme Court, 800 Smithe St. Eight Indigenous and settler land defenders, who took their case to trial and were convicted of criminal contempt last month for violating the TMX injunction in Secwepemc territory, will have their sentencing hearing on February 21 in Kamloops. Rallies in support of the land defenders will be held on Tuesday, February 21 at 8:30am in both Kamloops and Vancouver.
Please consider donating to their legal support efforts here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/protect-sqeqpetsin-stop-tmx-trial-support.

Resurrection Run Rampant

by Melanie Delva
This community is resurrection run rampant in the best possible way.
Throughout the last year and a half, Erin and I have been painfully honest about the many systems that failed us after the fire, and again after the floods – governments and charities and NGOs and ….Where the systems failed us, individuals and communities of radical generosity based in respectful relationships emerged and held us up. Salal and Cedar Watershed Discipleship Community – both as a community and the individuals who make it up is one of them. In fact, S+C were already showing us the ways they were willing to show up in real time – driving up from Vancouver to show solidarity with our Auntie Vivian who called us to shut down Hwy 1 in honour of the 215+. They stood with us – literally – in 39° Lytton heat. The community rallied around us after we lost everything in the Lytton fire. They started a fundraiser for us, managed all contact for us in the early days after when we were too traumatized to answer anyone.Months later, as we sat on the train bridge in Tl’kemtsin (Lytton) to prevent trains from interrupting a gathering in protest of climate injustice where elders and youth were speaking, members of Salal+Cedar were standing in the cold rain in downtown Vancouver holding signs in solidarity with #nlakapamuxstrong#lyttonstrong. When given the opportunity to speak at a major climate event, they raised up local Indigenous voices. Members of the community have bought us a solar panel, sent us gift cards, arranged donations (and that’s just us!)…and we are now learning how to be part of giving back. I support this community because I know what they are doing with what I give and it aligns with what Jesus said I am supposed to do..tend to the sick, feed the hungry, protect the vulnerable, seek justice for prisoners, protect the earth and all creatures. Friends and relatives (particularly those of privilege), I invite you to check out their work and support it. Feel free to reach out to me if you want more info. In solidarity! Melanie
Go here to support Salal + Cedar’s Mutual Aid and Solidarity Fund https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/help-salal-cedar-raise-7500-for-mutual-aid-and-sol/

Clear Cut Colonization–Not Trees Solidarity with Nuchatlaht First Nation

By Tracy Tobin
This past Saturday afternoon, while gathered in her backyard with Salal + Cedar in worship together, Sister Vikki motioned for me to come closer. I sat beside her and we chatted briefly. Her gregarious invitation for me to bring her “Clear Cut Colonization—Not Trees” painting to the Courthouse–– in support of the Nuchatlaht First Nation––was joyfully accepted. The artwork was carefully handed off and my mission for the following Monday determined.

 A slight chill in the air and blanketed in soft rain, more than one hundred faithful supporters gathered at the steps of B.C. Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver to champion Nuchatlaht’s rights and title to their traditional lands. Traditional Cedar bark woven hats and headbands, vibrantly painted Nuchatlaht solidarity posters, intricately painted drums, and hand painted signs were peppered through the crowd. ‘Every Child Matters,’ ‘Support,’ ‘Clear-Cut Colonization -Not Trees,’ and large ‘Nuchatlaht Land Back’ signs declared boldly the intentions of those who held them and those in attendance.

Joining in this act of witness I carried around my neck a prophetic proclamation painted by our very own Sister Vikki. A forest of barren trees and stumps boldly calling for resistance, the image is a stark one, evocative of loss and the suffering of creation. Instantly recognised, strangers approached me with astonished voices. “Ohhh,” ‘that’s Vikki’s painting!” “Can I take a picture?” Humbled and proud, connected and connecting, sharing in presenting Vikki’s gift was such an experience of blessing others, and being blessed myself.

I must confess that the plight of the Nuchatlaht First Nation was unfamiliar to me. After a Google indulged Internet deep-dive I learned a few things about these absolutely stunning lands and ancient peoples.

Approximately three hours west of Campbell River, and around 200 square kilometers in size, Nuchatlaht is a small community of about 150 members, with 20 living on reserve, remotely nestled off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Nuchatlaht ancestors have lived on Nootka Island and the surrounding coastline since the late 1700s. One of fourteen members of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in ongoing treaty processes with the Provincial Government.

The Tyee has a great

Adele and Tracy at the court support for Nuchatlaht

Ukraine Solidarity Statement

Salal + Cedar community and leadership condemn Russia’s military actions against Ukraine and express solidarity with Ukrainian peoples whose wish is to stand independent and build a more free society. We pray for the peoples of Ukraine.