Press release from the Coast Salish Gathering:
On Nov. 16th, 2010 in Albuquerque, N.M., the Coast Salish Gathering was awarded high honors by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, which honors contributions in the governance of American Indian Nations. Our co-speakers Chairman Brian Cladoosby, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and Chief Gibby Jacob, Squamish Nation, along with Chief Ian Campbell, Squamish Nation, presented our story to the Harvard Board. Chief Jacob accepted the award of high honors on behalf of the Gathering.
Over 90 American Indian Tribes submitted their programs and at the end of the day there were 10 distinguished Tribes presenting to the Harvard Board of Governors.
Cladoosby, Jacob and Campbell highlighted the teachings of the Coast Salish people, the language, the culture, and the spirit that is contained within the watersheds of our territory from the white caps of the mountains to the white caps of the Salish Sea. The Coast Salish delegation ended their presentation with the traditional Coast Salish prayer song:
“Chet kwen mantumiwit. ” We are grateful for the recognition and want to thank the host Tribe and Pueblo, along with Harvard for hosting us in the beautiful territory of New Mexico. This wenaxws, honor, represents how chaw chaw stewy, together we can make a difference. It is not the individual effort that moves us forward but the work of each of us together that will create change for the Coast Salish and the Salish Sea. The Coast Salish Gathering brings our people together to represent who we are as a people and how we are Coast Salish in our hearts and minds.
Chairman Cladoosby quotes, “We must look forward with the support of our people to continue this good work, this governance structure that will create new policy based on the teachings of our past, the reality of our present, and the hope we have for our children’s future. This is what will bring the 10,000 years of knowing that is the teachings of our people and the scientific community, government, and policy together as one.”
“There is no victory until our children are safe”, said Chief Tom Sampson, Chemainus First Nation. “The victory will happen when we come together to wenaxws and protect our future through language, culture, spirit, land and water. This honor has called back our ancestors and now that we have something back we must not give up, we must embrace each other with the courage of our ancestors, This is how we move forward.