Windy conditions and showers didn’t stop locals from celebrating BC Rivers Day Sunday.
A couple dozen people joined together at the base of the CN Rail Bridge for a special ceremony at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers. For the fourth year, organizers have gathered in the area known as ‘The Bank of Gratitude.’
Co-Founder of the Water Gratitude Project, Helen Styles says her vision is to restore the sacred relationship between people and water. “Our water is very precious and there’s a lot of water bodies in the world that are threatened and it’s just really important to bring awareness to our rivers in Prince George and in the north,” she said. “We want to encourage people to value the rivers and look after them.”
This year, REAPS, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Spruce City Wildlife Association have also partnered up to put on a full day of river honouring activities in Cottonwood Island Park along the Fraser and Nechako Rivers.
Sarah Seburn is one of those people coordinating activities. She’s on a residency with the Neighbourhood Time Exchange working as an artist. Her goal this year was to work with material from the land and send it into the water. “Speaking with the water and learning with the water and being grateful with the water, so as sculptors we thought the easiest way to connect with the water would be with material.”
The water is especially meaningful to Khast’an Drummer Jennifer Pighin of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation. “I grew up on the Nechako River, right on the banks, and ever since I was little, I’ve been swimming in it, I’ve been drinking it, it’s been a source of our food and salmon fishing, you wake up with it every day and it just become a part of you.”
Pighin adds that she wants to give back to the rivers that have have given her so much. “The water is giving to all forms of life, you know the plants, the animals, and of course ourselves so for us, it’s essential to life here.