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The conference hall was packed full. Five hundred people leaned forward to watch as an elder from a First Nations community along the B.C. coast moved down the aisle towards the microphones on stage. His red-and-black blanket cloak swished as he walked; the mother-of-pearl buttons adorning it flashed back at the spotlights following him.
This happened long before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for better relationships with Canada’s indigenous peoples. But the church, my church, was making its first tentative moves towards that goal.
The old man – he may not actually have been old, but he was older than I was, and he had a deeply weathered face – climbed the stairs onto the stage. He took the microphone from its stand. He held it to his mouth.
We waited, breathlessly, for his words of wisdom.
“We are the salmon,” he said.
Then he put the microphone back, and left the stage.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: forests, Salmon, coastal tribes, circle of life, bears