Submitted by Shannon King, Manager of Audience Engagement
Five years ago this month, a new exhibit opened at the Fraser River Discovery Centre (FRDC) in New Westminster about Aboriginal peoples’ relationship to salmon called Our Bones are Made of Salmon. The project hinged on the participation of Musqueam Elder Larry Grant, and Stó:lō Cultural Historian Dr. Albert (Sonny) McHalsie. The exhibit is in their words. Their voices also welcome visitors to the FRDC with a short film.
I led this project when I worked at the FRDC, and am really excited to revisit it for our first Speakers’ Series program on June 10th at 2pm.
In 2012, Larry Grant said, “I shared my sniw [traditional knowledge] with the Fraser River Discovery Centre to explain that the river has sustained us since we have been here. This is to share the importance of what salmon means to our people. It is also to show how the people were interdependent and shared the resources of the river. That knowledge is not in-depth in our history books.”
On Saturday June 10th at 2 pm, the first of our Speakers Series will cover the topic of the Stó:lō relationship between the Fraser River, fishing, and salmon. We will talk about about Squelquel, which means ‘true news’ or ‘family history’. Squelquel is the oral history that links people to the places their families used in the past such as Sonny’s family fishing site near Yale, on the Fraser River.
We will also be showing the short film made at the FRDC. It was designed for young people, to allow Larry and Sonny to introduce themselves and their connections to the Fraser River and to salmon. In the film, Larry and Sonny share the Musqueam and the Stó:lō oral histories about how salmon came to the Fraser River.
Please join us for the first of The Pull of the Net Speakers’ Series. Admission is free and seating is limited.
The speakers’ series program is a recipient of the City of Richmond’s Canada 150 grant initiative to assist community partners in staging their own Canada 150 events and activities. Richmond Canada 150 ignites the passions of the citizens of Richmond in a multi-faceted, year-long celebration, honours Richmond’s distinct and vibrant cultural diversity, and leaves lasting legacies that foster civic pride and carry the spirit of 150 into the future.