OCEANS OF CASCADIA…
… Salmon to Bear to Tree to Ground to Stream to River to Ocean… & Back Again
or Mapping Salmons
… Spiraled Paradoxes in Cascadian Watersheds & Migrations …
As part of our archive of writings on Cascadia and eco-poetics, the Department of Bioregion is excited to share the following writing on bioregional mapping, salmon, and perceptions of place.
When we imagine with paths of life, maps are paradoxical – for just as they assist imaginations – they can also be obstacles to perception…
Maps rarely tell us what is in the world… For she is always breathing. Maps need to be imbued with living imaginations if we are to see through them… inner lives need to move into maps just as life imbues any living language.
2 dimensional maps tend to tell us what concepts have mineralized in the minds of our fellows… as much as they can reveal the world as it is… This is an artifact of writing in general – which sets a moment down – takes the living and sets it into the mineral world – so that it can travel through space and time.
Thankfully, the experience of others can travel between us in maps… and so we travel together across time and space… in earlier times our maps were as often songs, tales, carvings or paintings as the cartography of the modern moment.
Salmon Fisherman – Knowledge Pole – Carved by the August Family – Cowichan Nation
And so when we imagine the ground of home, awareness of ancient streams of migration nourish and connect our ground to streams of life… this living experience of migratory streams imbues magic into the artifacts of writing and mapping.
Waters and weather are a continuos brushing and blessing, a drying and scorching, warming and cooling communication… the planet breathes through us all… and its waters pool in each of us recycling in what averages about 16 days in the human body… We are not as static as our imaginations of Identity might be.
Salmon of the Columbia River Watershed live lives moving in great spiraling cycles, that are as long as 7 years – as short as 2 years. Cycles of transformation migrating between births freshwaters … into the saline ocean waters of their growing years … and back into freshwaters following the smell of their birthplace to spawn and die. Along the way there are 137 documented species that feed directly on salmon… thousands more feed indirectly creating a web that bridges between the deep Pacific, the Bering Sea and the highest mountain ranges of Turtle Island’s Cascadia.
This journey will travel through the paradox of images & maps to see more clearly into the mystery of salmon – along the way we will focus around:
Shapely Contours of the Columbia River Watershed – the authors home watershed.
Destruction and Recovery of Salmon through the Columbia Watershed since the 1800’s.
Pathways of Pacific Salmon in their Ocean Migrations which marry Cascadia to the Ocean.
Dams & Reservoirs imposed on the Columbia River and tributaries – currently with militarized/industrialized goals to enable power generation, commercial navigation, irrigation and flood control at high costs to the ecological, cultural, spiritual and economic existence of the river. This system of dams was initially promoted to enable the development of a Colonial Empire to extract the resources from the Region – with little regard for the regions long term integrity.
Paths of Healing – changing views of our relatives, the living ones of earth, to one of Medicine, from the dominance of “commodity resource”. Returning a primacy of place, sustainability and community to our self determination – removing corporate rights and rights of commerce where they make sustainable inhabitations illegal or impossible. Taking down dams, restoring flood plains, restoring Celilo Falls and all Treaty protected traditional fishing places, restoring salmon to all historic places, ending acceptability of toxins in the waters, repairing historic contamination. Celebrating the return of Living Waters!