Eddie Gardner of Chilliwack will be leading the Wild Salmon Defenders drummers in song at the Life Spirit of Wild Salmon Art Celebration at Tractorgrease Café on Sunday. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Celebrate wild salmon with art, music, poetry and food in Chilliwack

Life Spirit of Wild Salmon Art Celebration cultivates deep respect, love and gratitude for salmon

It’ll be a celebration of art and music in honour of wild salmon this Sunday.

Tractorgrease Café will be hosting the Life Spirit of Wild Salmon Art Celebration in collaboration with Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance to put on a dazzling display of art, music, poetry and food that will cultivate deep respect, love and gratitude for sockeye (red), coho (silver), pink (humpback), chum (dog salmon) and chinook (king or Tyee).

“Why do wild salmon matter? They represent food security for endangered whales, for bears, eagles, wolves, sea lions and many other species including humans,” says artist and organizer Jay Peachy. “Wild salmon have been central to the cultural, physical and spiritual well-being of the Stó:lõ for thousands of years. Wild salmon support commercial and sports fisheries, and eco-tourism sectors of the B.C. economy. Scientists confirm wild salmon are a climate regulator.”

The day begins at 11 a.m. with an opening welcome, plus pizza and pancakes. At 11:30 a.m., the Wild Salmon Defenders drummers, led by singer T’it’elem Spath (Eddie Gardner), will sing songs to honour salmon, cedar, water and eagles. Wild Salmon Defenders T-shirts will also be for sale.

At noon it’s Kat Wahamaa and Tony. They will use a variety of instruments including a mandolin, harmonica and even a washboard to lift the spirits of guests with her immensely powerful voice to sing some ‘psycho hoedown tunes.’

Métis artist and musician Pat Calihou will perform a few of his favourite upbeat tunes at 12:30 p.m.

Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright of band The Wilds will raise the roof with their music using ecological lyrics such as Up Your Watershed, Salmon Circle, Where the Coho Flash Silver, and Fish and Trees. They’re on at 1:30 p.m.

And the day will end with a jam session at 2:30 p.m.

Multi-talented artist Jay Peachy will be on site with creative activities and will engage young and old in creative expressions that include a puppetry performance, comedy and art making. Watch for his famous and delicious ecological pancakes.

“Wild salmon are facing many threats, and if they are not addressed, they could go extinct, resulting in an ecological disaster, and a serious blow to the economy. Everyone is a stakeholder,” says Peachy. “We must all carry a little responsibility to ensure that future generations will benefit from this magnificent, keystone species.”

“Let’s put our creativity, joy, and love together to do something meaningful. We need wild salmon and wild salmon need us.”

The Life Spirit of Wild Salmon Art Celebration is at Tractorgrease Café on Sunday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is by donation. Proceeds will go towards the work of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance.

READ MORE: Last Stand for Wild Salmon fundraiser to fight fish farms

READ MORE: Fish farm transition plan praised for its Indigenous involvement



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