Over 120 Salt Spring Islanders gathered together last night on Cusheon Lake to raise funds for the Heiltsuk Nation’s “Step Up for Coast Heroes” campaign. The Nation is in the midst of a groundbreaking Indigenous Environmental Assessment project that pairs western science with traditional knowledge to uncover the full impacts of the Nathan E. Stewart disaster, while charting a way forward to restore ecosystem health. The legal challenge, with support from RAVEN Trust, is part of that path, as the case aims to enshrine the caretaker values and stewardship plans of Heiltsuk Nation into law.
The event raised over $8,000 towards the campaign goals thanks to generous donors and a matching funds contributor. After observing a moment of silence in honour of all the recent Residential School grave site discoveries, the event featured live performances by local songstress Yael Wand, for whom the event also coincided with the upcoming release of her new CD titled Salt Water Heartwood, and music legend Bill Henderson (Chilliwack, UHF, Order of Canada) who shared a set of his gorgeous tunes.
Community members enjoyed the music and stories about the campaign while floating together on a gorgeous, warm summer evening on all manner of self-propelled watercraft including canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and more.