Love letters to the Peace Valley

A night of sharing. A film to evoke the beauty and loss in the Peace Valley. And a community of guardians, gathering strength to stand together.

Last Wednesday, the RAVEN community gathered, witnessed, and shone.

As we contemplate the long road to protect the Peace River from Site C Dam, it’s moments like these – where we can look around and see who’s walking with us – that are precious. Precious, and – in these covid days – few. That’s why, when a hundred folks hopped on Zoom to share images and impressions of their experiences of the Peace River, there was an onrush of momentum, strength, and love.

Byron Dueck’s magnificent meditation on Site C, “Valley of the Southern North”, set the tone for a beautiful evening. While not everyone on the call had the opportunity to share their stories and poems, we all heard how this life-giving river had changed the course of more than a few lives.

Please take a moment and listen to the words of Helen Knott, Dunne-za poet and storyteller whose elegy to the Peace opens Dueck’s documentary film.

We are grateful to everyone who attended and shared on the May 12th webinar. We are so appreciative of donors who together raised a whopping $7900 for West Moberly First Nation’s legal challenge. Now in the evidence gathering stage, the trial preparations got a big boost when the Court recently ordered documents and reports which had been shrouded in secrecy to be released to West Moberly.

Thank you to everyone for leaning in, and for leading with heart. When we gather and feel the strength that is not only our numbers, but our collective conviction, we know we can prevail.

On that note: two beautiful poems (scroll down). This first one is by Monica Nelson.


When I think of the Peace, I think of Mom
Of the tall corn in the Valley, that grew above her height
Of the black and white photo, with her aunt and friends
In a canoe. Young ones, already comfortable on the water

I think of the dinosaur tracks beneath her as she jumped
Into the river, unafraid, seeing them as common place
And in comparison, the small one,
Outside the Royal Museum in our capital
Captured, no longer free

I think of paddling down the river with workers
From the second dam, spending a summer afternoon,
Enjoying the warmth, the scenery and a few sips of liquid
Beyond the sunshine’s offering

Workers, become friends
Travelers from those crowded southern parts
Barren in camps, drawing in the beauty 
Now sad to be part of the destruction, but hungry.

I think of so many crowded flights
Cabins full of workers as I journeyed home
Mom in her final years
While theirs a constant grinding
To and fro, the Site now a reality

Our conversations started gently
Feeling them out, knowing their workplace
Was a lie, destroying my memories
The land, the water, the People

Only one I changed the topic for
All the rest, uneasy, confined by financial necessity
Or even ready to abandon the ground reality
That breaks their integrity as professionals

And I think of the Lookout
Those happy Sunday drives of my youth
Until a Stake in my heart,

Anger and determination,
Not to give up

The River.
Its call, it’s strength, it’s mystery
A force so sacred,
No desolation will ever defeat.

monica nelson, May 12th, 2021


The second poem is by Ruthee Scoter:


Softly noticing
Every sweet offering
Reverent, here in this blessing river


Drinking in this day. I am
Les more deeply
Each breath
Deeper into Her.

— Ruthee Scoter

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