Sunday, June 18, 2006
For the last ten years, the Squamish Nation has been organizing a project called Uts'am/Witness through the Roundhouse Community Centre in downtown Vancouver. They bring people up to the old growth forest at Sims Creek and the Elaho Valley to witness the extraordinary spirit and energy of the land here as it has existed for thousands of years. When the logging companies wanted to log it a few years ago, saying no one would notice because no one cared about the land, the Squamish called back all the people who had taken part in the Witness Program up 'til that point, to testify. They called a meeting and invited the logging company. The testemonials went on for hours. Now, the forest has been saved, which is why this is the last year of the project. Rita Wong, Lily Shinde and I went up this weekend. It was an extraordinary experience to be able to take part, for which I am inexpressibly grateful. I thank the Squamish Nation, the Roundhouse organizers, Chief Telalsemkin/Bill Williams and the beautiful land itself for this amazing opportunity.