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From Hell to Hope - Alexandra Morton rafts through Hell’s Gate

Monday, October 18th 2010 3:48:39pm

Media Release
From Hell to Hope - Alexandra Morton rafts through Hell’s Gate

(Hope, B.C., October 18, 2010) – The Wild Salmon People are gathering momentum with a raft through Hell’s Gate tomorrow (19th) and the launch of the ‘Paddle for Wild Salmon’ from Hope on Wednesday (20th).  Salmon Are Sacred’s tour of the Fraser watershed reaches Lillooet tonight (18th)  with an evening event hosted by Salmon Talks at the Cayoose Creek Band Office.  

Dr. Alexandra Morton, who recently launched the Wild Salmon People, said “The 2009 Fraser sockeye run was a glimpse into a lifeless hell, but 2010 gives hope for the future.  This year’s legendary run has taught us that wild salmon can still power our economy and be the life-force of the culture and ecology of this province.  The time is now to demonstrate to the Norwegian-owned corporations and our Federal and Provincial Government that the people of B.C. want Pacific wild salmon, not Atlantic farmed salmon.  The Wild Salmon People must all pull together powerfully and peacefully in Vancouver on 25th October.  Show your support for Justice Cohen and the sockeye inquiry by marching with us from Vanier Park to the Cohen Commission next week to demand the complete disease records from every salmon feedlot site on the Fraser sockeye migration route.”  

The raft trip through Hell’s Gate with Fraser River Raft Expeditions will start at Boston Bar at 11am tomorrow (19th October) and arrive into Hope at 5pm for an evening event hosted by the Chawathil First Nation at the Telte-Yet Campground.  The Paddle for Wild Salmon will launch from Hope at 9am on Wednesday (20th October) with a lunch stop at Cheam Beach hosted by Cheam Indian Band and an evening event in Chilliwack hosted by Skwah First Nation.  

Kerry Coast of Salmon Talks Lillooet is joining the paddle with her 12 year old daughter, who for the first time made her own t’swan (dry salmon) from start to finish this summer. She said, “People have always lived here because of the salmon, and that’s why I live here now.  We are proud to journey together with Alexandra Morton from St’át’imc through Nlaka’pamux and into Sto:lo territory to join the mid-Fraser to the Paddle for Wild Salmon.  I and my daughter are joining the Paddle so there are always salmon, and always wild salmon people.”  

The Paddle for Wild Salmon is supported by First Nations leaders including Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (Union of BC Indian Chiefs), Chief Bob Chamberlin (Kwicksutaineuk-Ah-Kwaw-Ah-Mish First Nation), Grand Chief Saul Terry (Intertribal Treaty Organization), Grand Chief Clarence Pennier (Sto:Lo Tribal Council), Chief Marilyn Baptiste (Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government), Chief Bev Sellars (Xat’sull First Nation), Chief Judy Wilson (Neskonlith Indian Band), Chief Wayne Christian (Splats’in First Nation), Chief Andy Phillips (Scowlitz First Nation), Chief Alice Mackay (Matsqui First Nation), Chief Rhoda Peters (Chawathil First Nation), Chief Rhonda Larrabee (Qayqayt First Nation), Chief Ernest Campbell (Musqueam Indian Band), Chief Joe Alphonse (Tl’etinqox-t’in Government Office), Chief Bernie Elkins (?Esdilagh First Nation), Chief Percy Guichon (Tsi Del Del First Nation), Chief Francis Laceese (Toosey Indian Band), Chief Ivor Myers (Yunesit’in Government), Chief Willie Charlie (Chehalis First Nation) and Chief Robert Joseph (Gwa Wa Enuk First Nation).  Squamish Nation has donated a billboard advertising the ‘Wild Salmon People’ across the City of Vancouver including signs on Burrard Bridge.  

Politicians joining the paddle include Fin Donnelly MP, Vicki Huntington MLA, Spencer Chandra Herbert MLA, John Cummins MP, Michelle Mungall MLA, Peter Julian MP, Lana Popham MLA, Michael Sather MLA, Bob Simpson MLA and the Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson.  Other paddlers include Juno award-winning musician Bill Bourne; Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright; artist Carl Chaplin; former Team Canada canoe racer Ray Natraoro of Squamish Nation as well as members of the Fraser Riverkeepers, the Wild Salmon Circle, Wilderness Committee and Georgia Strait Alliance.

The Paddle for Wild Salmon will be spearheaded by Voyageur canoes donated by Ridge Wilderness Adventures and safety boats skippered by Fraser River Raft Expeditions.  Joining the flotilla will be dragon boats, seine boats, a 45ft dug out canoe skippered by the Nahanee brothers of Squamish Nation, a 70ft yacht from Bluewater Adventures, the whale-watching boat ‘Naiad’ from Port McNeill and a team of kayakers from the Pipedreams Project who left Kitimat on 1st September.  Darren Blaney of the Homalco First Nation and paddlers from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations will lead canoes across the Salish Sea to gather in Vancouver.        

Salmon Are Sacred’s tour of the Fraser watershed started in Mission on 1st October and has visited Adams River, Fraser Lake, Stuart Lake, Takla Lake, Prince George, Quesnel, Horsefly, Lumby, Enderby, Shuswap River and Shuswap Lake.  The Paddle for Wild Salmon visits Cheam Beach, Skwah (Chilliwack), Matsqui (Abbotsford), Katzie (Pitt Meadows), New Westminster and Musqueam before arriving into Jericho Beach on Sunday (24th) and then the final leg of the journey into Vanier Park on 25th October.  The Wild Salmon People will then march across Burrard Bridge to the opening of the Cohen Commission and a ‘Justice for Wild Salmon’ rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  

For more details of ‘The Paddle for Wild Salmon’ (including an itinerary) please visit:

Follow the journey at Alexandra’s blog:

For more details on the Wild Salmon People please visit:


Alexandra Morton: 250 974 7086

Don Staniford: 250 230 1172