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Mar 13 2010

E-mails from Bill Chu

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Written on March 11th 2010

Good news! The Siska band have purchased two grass-fed beef cattle, had them butchered and distributed to families in their community. Chief Fred Sampson sent a thank you for the 147 cans of salmon, which I am passing on to you. We are relieved that the Siska band with young children, grandparents, brothers and sisters are not going hungry today. In our own small way, we helped with an immediate food crisis and judging by the comments under our Georgia Straight Article, many people are concerned and support our efforts.

Bill Chu wrote:
The Nicola Tribal Council has eight native bands. Most bands further away from the Fraser are worse off in getting salmon since the fishery might be opened for just two days, and those further away might not hear about it until too late. There is no doubt that the suffering caused by the sockeye closure is widespread. However, the worst impacted areas are those further north e.g. the Chilcotin bands.

This food crisis is not over because BC salmon are in trouble. My daughter looked into setting up a trust fund in case I wanted to raise donations to purchase salmon for each Siska family.

Bill Chu wrote:
How can anyone raise enough to feed half of the status Indian population currently living within the Fraser River system?

Half the native population? No, we cannot buy enough salmon to feed half the Native people in the Frazer River system.

Bill Chu wrote:
Which ever way one looks at it, it is a failure of the government’s fiduciary duty to the aboriginal people. Keeping people away from famine is any government’s minimum duty and it does not require rocket science to prove it.

So I browsed around the Internet looking for Canada’s fiduciary duty. I went to the salmon guy’s blog. WOW! click this link to read about Canada’s legal duty. His writing is an easy read and from, what I understand, in all cases, wild salmon are pledged to the BC First Nations before anyone else can catch it, freeze it, can it, ship it or eat it. It’s Canada’s duty to see that First Nations have salmon.

Why was this kept secret? There are any number of Media reporting Native over fishing but let’s be clear – BC salmon is theirs to fish! When Canada was founded, salmon was pledged to the natives and that was before all the gold was sluiced from the salmon spawning beds in BC’s rivers. That was after Alexander Mackenzie noted that salmon was “absolutely necessary to the existence of the Native people”.

On his journey looking for the Northwest passage, Mackenzie was given salmon by the Natives. In fact he might have died going down the Fraser River had they not helped him. Even though he recognized the Natives fishing industry as well managed, Mackenzie declared white man’s ownership of those salmon and made a prophetic threat: “that we could prevent those fish from coming up the river” and “that we possess the power to starve them and their children”. I found this in Geoff Meggs book “Salmon – Decline of the BC Fishery” it’s in the Okanagan Library. Alexander Mackenzie’s threat may be unfolding which is absolutely unforgivable.

According to Canadian law, salmon belong to First Nations until forever but when salmon became the new gold in BC. Fish canneries lobbied and seized control of this natural resource and now we have a bigger problem, fish farms abound as wild salmon become extinct in many BC rivers.

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