It means that we can’t speak either. This is called “balanced management.” It is a great silencing of what, in British Columbian culture is called “pre-modern thinking.” By that is meant thinking that does not flow through the agencies of government and the roles they assign to “citizens.” It is not accepted in British Columbian universities, government policy, or British Columbian publishing. That’s one reason why a group of Indigenous educators and allies have published some songs for people in healing within the river’s flood channel itself.
I have worked here since 2011 telling stories of the Earth as preparation for a history of the Intermontane Grasslands of Central Cascadia and the rainswept coast that keeps them windy and dry. Now I am presenting this history, step by step, as I have learned it, often from the land itself. The history of this region includes the Canadian colonial space “The Okanagan Valley”, which lies over the land I live in above Canim Bay. The story stretches deep into the American West, into the US Civil War, the War of 1812, and the Louisiana Purchase, as well into the history of the Columbia District of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In all, the story spans the Chilcotin and Columbia volcanic plateaus and the basins that surround them. In this vast watershed lie homelands as old as 13,200 years (Sequim) and 16,200 years (Salmon River.) That’s how far we are walking together here, who are all the land speaking.