Herring feed Chinook. Chinook feed Orcas. This connection and the protection of Herring populations off the coast of B.C. cannot be overlooked. Join us for an evening to deepen your understanding of precious Herring and learn about what the Heiltsuk Nation is doing to uphold an unbroken lineage of teachings that powerfully connect people to herring.
The night will open with a short film called Small Fish, Big Problem produced by Conservancy Hornby Island and edited by Colby Rex O’Neill.
Herring are a keystone species of the Pacific. All marine life, from orcas to salmon, are interwoven into the web of life that depends on herring’s annual spawn — a magical dance of abundance happening right now under the waves of our very own Salish Sea home. The health of everything in the ocean depends on the herring, yet these silvery fishes have been pushed to the brink by overfishing and gross mismanagement by commercial interests.In contrast, the Heiltsuk Nation upholds an unbroken lineage of ancestral teachings that powerfully connect people to herring. Out of a generations-long struggle for sovereignty over the land, air and water that sustains their people, the Heitsuk have won several landmark battles to defend the herring: from securing their rights to an Aboriginal fishery, to stopping the Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project that would have turned their Great Bear Rainforest home into an oil and gas superhighway.Now, the Heiltsuk are back in court in the wake of a devastaing oil spill. When the Nathan E. Stewart ran aground in their central coast fishing grounds in 2016, the Heiltsuk knew they had to draw a line to defend the rich marine environment that has sustained their culture and their way of life since time immemorial. Witness how, in the wake of the devastating spill, the Heiltsuk are working to enshrine Indigenous governance of their homelands and waters into law. With a landmark case that seeks to enshrine Aboriginal title to the seabed and foreshore into law, the Nation is taking power back from regulators asleep at the wheel to ensure that the Pacific coast — from the tiniest herring to the largest humpback whale — is protected for future generations.The Nathan E. Stewart sank: but the Heiltsuk are rising.