Mi’a Salmon Statement
M’ia is the name for Salmon in the language of the Heiltsuk people,
whose traditional, unceeded territories surround the town of Bella
Bella. Salmon fishing has sustained coastal Indigenous peoples for
generations, but a century of industrial capitalism has taken a toll,
and the communities whose very lives depend on Salmon feel the impact of
these consequences first.
Threats against Salmon have been relentless: climate change is warming
the ocean, extending the jellyfish seas north and threatening the
herring, Salmon’s primary food source; open net fish farms are breeding
grounds for sea lice and have contributed to decimating entire
generations of Salmon, leaving population gaps in their 4-year life
cycle; these same fish farms appear to have also unleashed a new plague
upon wild pacific Salmon, the piscine reovirus, an infection that could
decimate farmed and wild stocks alike if no action is taken to stop it.
And on top of all that, we face the immanent threat of oil spill
catastrophes. The development of the Enbridge pipeline (one of many such
projects) will bring super-tankers to rocky and perilous coastal waters,
and leakages from pipeline infrastructure will destroy watersheds.
Salmon are the sustainers of the yearly cycle of life on the pacific
coast, traversing both salt and fresh water habitats. If the Salmon
population dies, the entire coastal ecosystem will suffer: River systems
depend on the nourishment Salmon provide to the soil after they spawn,
which in turn ensures a healthy ecology of trees, frogs, birds and other
wildlife. Without the Salmon, bears, wolves and cougars will starve
inland, as will the orcas in the ocean.
Salmon are no strangers to facing uphill battles; they swim up-river,
against the current, against gravity, with strength and determination.
M’ia was created to remind everyone we too can face any adversity and
fight to preserve life and community, not simply by living in the
present, but by ensuring the spawning of future generations to come.