-Press Release May 24th, 2019
Columbia River Canoe Journey and Kettle Falls Salmon Ceremony Canoe Launch June 14, 9-11am at Crescent Bay Boat Launch, Grand Coulee Dam, Washington
Kettle Falls Salmon Ceremony June 22, at 10am Kettle Falls, Washington
Seventy-Nine years ago, on June 14, 1940, the people of the Upper Columbia gathered to mourn the loss of their ancestral fishing grounds, soon to be flooded by Grand Coulee Dam. This year we will honor and join our ancestors in their payers and protests by launching our Canoes at Crescent Bay located directly above the Grand Coulee Dam which has blocked our main food source of Salmon for nearly 80 years. The Kettle Falls Salmon Ceremony is one of the oldest Salmon Ceremonies on the Columbia River along with the Salmon Ceremony conducted at Celilo Falls on the Lower Columbia. Decedents of Salmon Chiefs have continued to conduct these significant and sacred ceremonies since time immemorial, even after the flooding of the fishing areas. WE continue to call the Salmon home to the upper Columbia to spawn and provide food for the first people of the Columbia all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
This year's journey organized by the Inchelium Language & Culture Association (ILCA), The Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) and the River Warriors Society (RWS) promises to be a genuinely historic paddle. The tribes of the Upper Columbia including The Colville Confederated Tribes, with canoes from the Arrow Lakes, Nespelem and Wenatchee Bands, Kalispel, Coeur d’Alene, Spokane and Kootenai Tribes along with The Okanagan Nation of Canada will be launching canoes to travel eight days to meet canoes paddling from the lower Arrow Lakes in Canada. All vessels and flotation are invited to participate and will meet at what was once, one of the largest historic fishing sites in the world at Kettle Falls, Washington. This site was flooded in 1940 disrupting the practice of intertribal food gathering, celebration and prayer at Kettle Falls.
This paddle has been organized to raise awareness regarding returning Salmon to the blocked areas of the Columbia River and the importance of Tribal participation in the negotiations between Canada and the United States on the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. This paddle emphasizes caring for the health of water, fish and our Natural Environment. The paddle will begin on June 14, 2019 at Crescent Bay, Grand Coulee Dam and end on June 22, 2019 at the Kettle Falls Salmon Ceremony site located North of Tribal Trails at Barneys Junction. All Tribal leaders, Dignitaries, canoe families, paddlers and environmental activists have been invited to join in Prayer and Honor of Salmon Passage.