Treaty Talks: Paddling up the Columbia River for People and Salmon

1,243 Miles from Sea to Source.

The journey began with five logs. Five logs were carved by youth and students above Grand Coulee Dam into five Salmon Canoes, one for each of the Five Salmon. Our mission was to accomplish something that so far has not been done: return Salmon above the blockages on the Upper Columbia.

Brought to you by:

The Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT)
Canadian Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission
Okanagan Nation Alliance
Columbia Institute for Water Policy

As we paddled upstream, we could feel the momentum building. And not just the momentum that a half-ton dugout canoe tends to carry! As we journey up the River, at a time when the Columbia River Treaty is at a pivotal state, we listen to a conversation between shareholders of the river, a conversation that takes place on the riverbanks, at conferences and on the water itself.

Ecosystem function and fish passage, ethics and science. Technicians and spiritual leaders. Not if. But When.

On a three month expedition, the crew of Voyages of Rediscovery, paddled dugout canoes 1243 miles upriver from the Sea to the Source of the Columbia River. The five canoes, carved and paddled by native and non-native youth, symbolically represented Columbia River salmon. The journey honored those salmon who can no longer reach their ancestral spawning grounds of the Upper Columbia River. With looming changes in the Columbia River Treaty, we explore the possibility of fish passage and vitality of a functioning ecosystem. This documentary highlights the positive efforts of Columbia River citizens who are working to restore historic salmon runs above the Grand Coulee Dam.

Treaty Talks: Paddling Up the Columbia River for People and Salmon from Voyages of Rediscovery on Vimeo.