AGOG: Let Them Run, The Salmon Century

This forward to the touring exhibit was written by
Gerry Nellestijn
Coordinator, Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society

Since the ice age Columbia River Salmon have functioned as the
major cultural, spiritual, economic and environmental influence.

Once the largest run of Salmon in the world, that migration wasAGOG Poster Salmon River Run-500
abruptly sacrificed in the late 1930s with the construction of
the Grand Coulee Dam. The recent PBS American Experience
documentary described how building the Grand Coulee resulted in
“cultural savagery” with its consequence to US Tribes and Canadian
First Nations, and as “environmental butchery” in its destruction of
Salmon and to the web of benefits that Salmon gave us.
Completion of the Grand Coulee Dam led to the Columbia River
Treaty, which formalized water control from Canada to the USA.

The Treaty review now taking place represents the single most
important opportunity to make real environmental change in our
lifetime. When Bill Green, director of the Canadian Columbia River
Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission asked, “What if we could bring the
Salmon back within a century of their loss?”, the question prompted
consideration.

Was Salmon loss necessary? Was it forever? The Salmo Watershed
Streamkeepers Society (SWSS) within its ‘The River Speaks’
to explore the questions and issues surrounding Salmon
Reintroduction. On May 8th and 9th, 2014, twenty-one Artists came
together for the Let Them Run, The Salmon Century experiential learning
adventure that focused on Water, the Columbia River Treaty, and
the challenges, benefits and successes of Salmon Reintroduction.
Gaining insights, Artists were asked to use their skills to create
artwork that defines the meaning, challenges and benefits of
Salmon Reintroduction so that they can bring awareness to Basin
residents of a loss that can be regained.

We hope you will gain insights from this Artistic
Re-imagining exhibition and advocate for Salmon to be
reintroduced to the Canadian Columbia River Basin.
Imagine Salmon spawning in the Canadian Columbia River Basin
again… Let Them Run, The Salmon Century