Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The last of the untamed: Wedzin Kwa and the Wet’suwet’en fight to save her


Canada aboriginal indigenous ancestral lands land defenders RCMP resource extraction Coastal GasLink sovereignty lawlessness violence intimidation armed invasion

A pure and sacred river lies at the heart of opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Winding through mountainous wilderness in the heart of Wet’suwet’en territories is a glistening, sacred river. The Wet’suwet’en call it Wedzin Kwa — “the blue and green river” — and cherish it for its purity and healing powers.

This river system has been revered by the Wet’suwet’en since time immemorial. Ancient village sites around and along the Wedzin Kwa attest to the rich history and long connections the Wet’suwet’en have to this waterway. For millennia the clans of the Wet’suwet’en have depended on the river and the sustenance it provides — in particular, the different species of salmon that traverse this inland channel and its tributaries to spawn through most of the year.

“There’s one area you’ll walk through and you can feel the spirit from the water. You can feel it for probably just a second and then it’s gone. It’s just letting you know that it’s sacred.”

Elder Betty Joseph, 67, from the Lik’silyu Clan, is known as one of the greatest living fisherwomen among the Wet’suwet’en. She grew up helping her grandparents harvest salmon in the summer months along the Moricetown Canyon, but it wasn’t until she turned 21 that she discovered she had a gift.

“My boyfriend went down with my kids to go fishing at five o’clock in the morning,” she recounts from her two-storey home on the Witset First Nation on a frigid January afternoon.

“They never came back so I went down to bring them some lunch. I was laughing at my boyfriend because he hadn’t caught anything. So I put a hook into the water and started pulling and I caught something pulling on the line. He was mad because he never caught one.” She chuckles, her wrinkled eyes gleaming with delight.  (more...)

The last of the untamed: Wedzin Kwa and the Wet’suwet’en fight to save her


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