As the industrialization of the Salish Sea proliferates and overlapping authority of many governing bodies create bureaucratic gridlock, my duty to this territory will never stop.

Now more than ever we have a much greater need to protect this fragile ecosystem and restore it to its once abundant biodiversity.


The Salish Sea and archipelago of islands sprawling across the international boundary, the place I belong to, was once one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. It is home to the W̱SÁNEĆ emerging people and the SĆÁÁNEW̱ hardest-working wild Pacific salmon whose families have been connected from time immemorial.

ĆENŦEḴI, ĆENHENEN, ĆENŦÁWEN, ĆENQOLEW̱— four of our thirteen moons mark the return of our SĆÁÁNEW̱ relatives to their homelands.

[An Indigenous language was spoken] among so many places in the Salish Sea where my ancestors practised the SX̱OLE, the reef net fishery. As my Elders remind me, it was our law. KELL̵OLEMEĆEN, the families of southern resident killer whales we fished alongside each summer. Brave Little Hunter, the baby orca whale, orphaned and trapped out on the west coast, reminds me of the public response to Tahlequah, our local KELL̵OLEMEĆEN relative, that pushed her dead baby calf for 17 days, back in 2020.

The outdated murals here in the Rotunda celebrate the fishing industry. Now fishing is barely a pastime in our waters, destroyed by us in less than 100 years. Is it time for us to cover another mural in this place?

The Salish Sea is noisy now for terrestrial and marine mammal alike. Noise from air, marine, bureaucratic traffic increases. Marine policy and enforcement drone under layers of bureaucratic sediment and inertia.

Federal, provincial, local, First Nations, international governments share responsibility, yet no one is responsible.

Now online, the Trans Mountain Pipeline pukes diluted bitumen into tankers transiting the Salish Sea. SMOQEĆ, Point Roberts, one of the most productive sockeye fisheries in the world — choked out by expanding container and coal ports. Even though everyone has authority, nobody can do anything. But my duty to stand up for the Salish Sea never diminishes.