Do I have a fish story for you!

On Sunday morning, I shared a photo of my family smokehouse packed with this year’s sockeye run on my Facebook page. I asked First Nations people in British Columbia to share their photos of salmon with me and the response has been overwhelming.

I was inspired by a Vancouver Observer article highlighting what happened at a recent oral testimony submission provided by the Kwantlan to the National Energy Board for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project hearings. Kinder Morgan wondered “how much do First Nations still catch and eat fish?”

I tweeted the photo of the smokehouse and asked on Facebook for people to share their photos so I could use them in my oral testimony to the NEB next month. I have since set up a Facebook Group called “Show Kinder Morgan your Food Fish!” to collect the photos.

As of 6:00am this morning I have processed 746 photos (and counting) and I have captured seven pages of comments from all the Facebook activity. The original Facebook post has been viewed 28,848 times, has 172 likes and has been shared 500 times.

Clearly we have an absolute love affair with the salmon. People take and post many pictures of their food on social media and when I took to Facebook and Twitter and asked for salmon, I received!

I was flooded with amazing images of the relationship between fish and First Nations people; the slideshow will be a very powerful tool in telling this story. The photos cover every aspect of the complex interaction, from harvesting to processing and consuming.

We acknowledge the connection at a very high level and it is often put in the ‘traditional’ or historical context. At least 95% of the photos I have collected are from the 2014 salmon run and many of them had already been posted on personal timelines before.

This project shows in absolute terms that the tradition continues, it shows that this is not what we were, it is what we are. There is no question salmon play an intrinsic role in every aspect of First Nations culture in British Columbia both in the historical and the modern context, and there is an incredible desire for it to continue in the future.

I will be presenting oral testimony to the NEB in November. The collection will be submitted as evidence to the NEB as part of the Trans Mountain pipeline application and I will share the final product online soon.

Thank you all for participating and please keep sending your photos.

Listen to a radio interview from this morning about this effort.

To see more photos please visit Facebook Group "Show Kinder Morgan your Food Fish!"

Adam Olsen

Stellys Cross Road, Brentwood Bay, BC, V8M 1J7