Kwantlen’s First Salmon Ceremony

May 10, 2018

Last Friday, May 4, was more than just a Pro-D day in Langley – for the Kwantlen nation, it was a day of celebration: the Kwantlen First Salmon Ceremony.

District staff, including Superintendent Gord Stewart, District Principal of the Aboriginal Program Michael Morgan, members of the district’s Aboriginal program, as well as the staff of WGSS (including Principal Balan Moorthy) were present at the massive gathering on the Kwantlen First Nation.

Many community leaders, including Mr. Stewart and Mr. Morgan were honoured with blanketing, a tradition of respect, appreciation and welcome. As well, Mr. Moorthy was one of the many called to bear witness to the events of the day.

The celebration included drumming, singing, and Michael Kelly-Gabriel’s first time sharing with us a traditional oral story — a very special moment.

From there, the crowd were treated to a small portion of the first salmon catch of the season. Bones and skin were collected after eating those portions. The remains were placed on a wooden plate and carried down with procession to the waters of the Fraser River.

The ground was cleansed with cedar branches, and the remains of the salmon were let loose into the currents of the river, to return to the Fraser a portion of the bounty. Then community members took turns placing cedar branches into the water as the drumming and signing continued.