As we start to dig out our kayaks, paddleboards and canoes and return to the waters and beaches over the next few months, we should remember to take care of the water we enjoy by doing our part to protect it. This includes picking up garbage when we see it, reducing our water use, using ecofriendly products, and following all COVID-19 protocols and public safety guidelines to ensure that everyone can enjoy the water safely.
When out on the beautiful waters, give a thought to what lies beneath. Think about how the water was used before we all drove cars — what a beautiful world that must’ve been. During these times of digital connection and social isolation, its hard to think about what it was like before. So, this spring and summer when you’re out on the water, think about what it was like, think about the wildlife that lived in these water and what happened to them, think about the people that once traveled on the water.
Indigenous peoples have been using these waters since time immemorial. We were taught to love and respect it. We ate from the shores of the Burrard inlet and gave thanks to anything and everything that came from the water. The səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people, the people of the inlet, were given a responsibility to protect, nurture, and care for these waters.
“The səlilwətaɬ people carry such a responsibility to protect the inlet because that’s the mother, the origin story of the səlilwətaɬ people. The first grandmother of the səlilwətaɬ people was born from the womb of the inlet and bestowed upon the people.” –Angela George
This Earth Day, take a moment to think about the work we all need to do to protect our beautiful oceans. For more about Earth Day, check out the City of North Vancouver’s Earth Day at Home Challenge.
– Meghan Ormandy, avid canoe racer and Young Canada Works Intern at MONOVA, 22 April 2021.
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