On Feb. 2, communities of BC’s northwest will be gathering in Terrace to celebrate the withdrawal of Shell’s plans to drill for coal bed methane in the Sacred Headwaters. Congratulations to all of those who worked so hard to pull this off. And while she’d hate to be singled out, Ali Howard’s swim down the entire length of the Skeena River drew international attention to the threats Shell’s plans presented.
I wrote this poem to celebrate her achievement. For those of you who might need a bit of background for the Chinook terms in the poem, let me explain. I grew up on the south coast of BC where Chinook terms are commonplace: the ocean is the salt chuck; the wild rapids near Egmont on the Sechelt Peninsula are called Skookum Chuck, which means powerful water. In 1975, Gary Geddes edited a collection of writing about the northwest, which he fittingly titled Skookum Wawa – powerful talk.