Tuesday August 4th was my 42nd birthday. More importantly it was the one year anniversary to the collapse of the Mount Polley Tailings pond into Hazeltine Creek. We were told at the Mine entrance camp by Secwepemc Women Warriors Society Kanahaus Manuel, that it wasn’t just gold and copper tailings that was being put into the dam, the company was allowing medical and biowaste to be dumped into the same pond that dumped millions of gallons of waste water into local town and villages water source Quesnel Lake.
We drove back down and around to Bootjack camp ground. It was a ghost town. I could not believe how dead even the air sounded. There were very few birds, no bugs and empty campsites.
BC Mainstream media use poor generalized quote “It totally destroyed the creek that comes out of Polley Lake and flows past the tailings storage facility, past the mine, down into Quesnel Lake,” Bennett said. “You had millions of trees and roots and mud and all kinds of stuff in Quesnel Lake. It looked horrible, it was horrible.” – That creek is Hazeltine Creek and it wasn’t just tailings that dumped in to Quenel Lake, it was any waste they thought they could petrify in tailings for profit. They want to re-open it for 220 people now but I’m sorry Our entire collective Fisheries Rights are worth more! http://www.cbc.ca/…/mount-polley-mine-spill-an-aerial-view-… #OneYear (Facebook post)
So we did what we could. We went to Quesnel River and prayed to the water. We made offerings syilx and nde’ prayers with the water drum and soil rattle.
Fox brought the message of Earth Diver, the one who brought soil from the great mystery ‘down’ south. A contemporary Fox sings to the human created spawning beds. She prays to creator in her sqilxw tongue thanking the land and all creation for the rushing water, that all below our offerings would be healed and cleansed – protected.
Fox is an observer, a seer of things. It was so strange to see big beautiful, bountiful Siya left hanging in the natural garden. Big and juicy when it was ready… drying in suspension. I had never seen such untouched food. It was a grim reminder how unlikely it was to be normal. There was nothing normal about the emptiness of sound and abundance of particulate contaminated traditional foods. It made me worry about the foods we pick around our fire prone territory after fire retardant is sprayed into the back country.
From this heartache we raced to beyond the source, to Horsefly lake and made antibiotic offerings of copper to the clean water entering into Quesnel Falls and into the contaminated Quesnel Lake. With these healing prayers we capped off our adventure with a feast of A&W because that was the only place open at 10pm on a Tuesday night in 100 Mile House. From Vernon to Likely on my 42nd revolution around the sun gave me reason and purpose, I carry the stories of this land from North to South, making offerings along the way.