Rick Quipp cooks freshly caught salmon for guests during the Building Relationships Barbecue hosted by the Cheam First Nation at the Fraser River on Tuesday.

Rick Quipp cooks freshly caught salmon for guests during the Building Relationships Barbecue hosted by the Cheam First Nation at the Fraser River on Tuesday.

Building relationships at the Cheam barbecue

Cheam First Nation hosted its annual Building Relationships BBQ on Cheam Beach Wednesday, inviting everyone to enjoy a barbecued salmon lunch and some riverside fellowship.

It’s like night and day.

Years after Sto:lo fishing nets were accused of being “walls of death” in the Fraser River, and violent run-ins were more commonplace with federal fishery officers, a fragile peace has been restored on the mighty river.

Cheam First Nation hosted its annual Building Relationships BBQ on Cheam Beach Wednesday, inviting everyone to enjoy a barbecued salmon lunch and some riverside fellowship.

There were representatives from RCMP and DFO in attendance, as well as general members of the public, sport fishers and more.

“The whole rapport between the sport fishing community and First Nations is much better than it was two or three years ago,” said Rod Clapton of the B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers.

He credits the hard work put in by members of a “conflict resolution group” set up specifically to diffuse tensions on the Fraser.

“The difference is we talk,” said Clapton. “The animosity is not there anymore. We’ve learned to respect each other.”

Ed George, president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation agreed.

“The big difference is that we’ve been talking one-on-one,” he said.

There’s no one running interference in the middle, such as DFO or the media.

“We don’t go airing our dirty laundry in public. If we have a problem we talk to the source directly,” said George.

Local resident Verna Pigou praised the event for bringing together the various groups in a relaxing atmosphere.

“It’s wonderful to be building bridges in this way,” she said. “Everyone gets to see we’re just people, and we all have the same dreams and goals.”

Retiree George Thiessen of Chilliwack said it was his second time at the Cheam barbecue.

“I just met the Cheam chief here, Lincoln Douglas,” he says. “He’s a professional chuck wagon racer. I never met one before.”

He and his wife, Amy, enjoy community events and meeting new people, Thiessen added.

“It kind of gives you a different perspective.”

Barbecue organizer June Quipp said the annual event was created about five years ago, as a way to break down the barriers and change perceptions. And it’s working, she said.

“We had a long history of conflict with the DFO, but we’re trying to change that.”

They open up their fishing beach area to the public to allow them to watch the aboriginal fishing boats in the river, and enjoy a free lunch.

“We’re here all afternoon, so people will be coming and going,” she said.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read