By Bitty & Salmon Defenders
“Tsas’ Dream”Illustration By Bitty Q
Matriarch Camp (MC) mainly travels Kwa’kwaka’wakw, Nuu’chah’nulth and Coast Salish territories. Led by Ma’amtagila grandmother Tsastilqualus Ambers Umbas, MC has members recognized as Warrior Women, Salmon Defenders and supportive allies. MC also has kin camps Swanson and Midsummer Island that are led by Namgis Hereditary Chief Ernest Alfred and his niece Karissa Glendale.
MC’s initial occupation began on October 13, 2017 and was acknowledged by the event: “State of Emergency, Matriarch Camp Anniversary/Call to Action” (October 15, 2018). MC was able to camp outside Premier John Horgan’s office and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for about 6 months while surviving the harsh raincoast weather, multiple arrests, and minimal support.
Matriarch Camp is known for fierce direct actions such as one member chain locking her neck to an entrance to the DFO, boarding “The Orca Thief” boat (fills farms with fish) in dry dock and one member duct-taping themselves to the mast and a X-Mass Extinction Die-In mall tour.
MC is culturally committed to protecting our wild salmon relatives from Mowi (formerly Marine Harvest) open net fish farms that infect our coastal territories with PRV-virus and lice. These diseases and parasites have already contributed to a dangerous, unprecedented decline in wild Pacific salmon, with many vital populations and salmon runs predicted to be obsolete within a decade. This, in turn, has led to a rapid and potentially irreversible decline in the survival rates of our southern resident orca whale relatives, of which only around 6 dozen now remain. There is a gauntlet of over 30 concentrated fish farms polluting the migration route of wild salmon and whales in the Broughton Archipelago, Kwa’kwaka’wakw territory.
Tsastilqualus’ dream has been to bring Matriarch Camp to her traditional and unceded Etsekin (I’tsikan) homelands of the Ma’amtagila people where the resistance will continue. This October 2019, a gukdzi bedo (Little Big House) was built in partnership with the University of Victoria and fundraising is underway to move it to Halidi, a 20-minute boat ride to Etsekin, where there are currently three fish farms and threat of a fourth.
Ma’amtagila Matriarch and grandmother Tsastilqualus is continuing her Indigenous right to resist fish farms in Indigenous waters and support is always welcomed and needed.
Matriarch Camp is fully grassroots and runs on their own out of pocket funds, fundraising and community support.
Donations can be e-transferred to firstname.lastname@example.org
For ease of transaction, use password: Wildsalmon
Follow on FB: The Matriarch Camp.
Also on FB: Fish Farms Out Now, Swanson Occupation
Bitty Q – my name is bitty. I’m a two-spirit, art creating, youth centering, forest wandering, sea misting, garden growing, care loving crip. I have maternal Coast Salish roots of Lkwungen, Quw’utsun’ and Lummi descent and paternal roots of Irish, French and Euro ancestry. To see more art that I make and learn more about me, check out seawolfrise.org