Spirit of the River

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This is a 16 minute summary of the all day Spirit of the River Event sponsored by our Eco-Justice Team in which a Native American fisher, tribal representative and member of the Nez Perce tribe speak about the importance of the river and salmon to our future.  Not only do they seek to preserve a way of life that has been a part of their culture for thousands of years but protecting our natural resources means preserving the future for all generations of all people.  It is a spiritual quest to preserve the healing qualities of the waters.
If you would like to watch the full set of videos recorded at the event, follow the links below.  

Part 1    – A fascinating account of a young Native American fisher, Speak Thunder, who has cut out the middle man in the fish market so he can provide for his family. He believes there is something healing about the river. We have been given dominion over the waters and fish so that we can take care of them. In answer to those that say that Native Americans are taking all of the fish out of the river he says that they take only a limited amount from the platforms along the river where only a few of the salmon will come, enough to simply provide and not make millions, despite the millions that are put into the river to preserve and protect a way of life, a life that they have been living for thousands of years. Hear his description of what it is like to platform fish on the Columbia River.

Part 2  –  Kat Brigham representative of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation speaks about the treaties with the United States government and the states to help preserve a way of life providing the first foods for Native Americans. She also talks about the forming of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission so that they could develop their own plans for preserving, protecting Salmon and helping them thrive. Part of their philosophy includes refraining from fishing for long periods so that they can protect the salmon for future generations. Not only do they protect salmon but they also protect water, big game, roots and berries for all peoples. Much of this has been accomplished through treaties, court cases and cooperation with other agencies and peoples.

Part 3  – Sam Davis from the Nez Perce tribe talks about his experiences fishing on the river over the years. He also explains some of what it means to him and his family who see being on the river and fishing it’s waters as a spiritual experience. At the end of his presentation Kat Brigham also explains some of the techniques and issues surrounding the Native American fishing experience.

Part 4  – Peter Cornelison- Protecting the Columbia Gorge. Peter represents Friends of the Columbia Gorge. It his presentation he talks a little bit about the history of the Gorge, the history of the Native American tribes in the area and some of the issues that the Friends of the Columbia Gorge have worked on over the years in their efforts to protect the area.