Andrea Reid, fourth from left, with salmon science camp participants from the Nisg̱a’a village of Gingolx in 2018. (Photo submitted by Andrew Stewart/LJI)

Andrea Reid, fourth from left, with salmon science camp participants from the Nisg̱a’a village of Gingolx in 2018. (Photo submitted by Andrew Stewart/LJI)

New UBC Indigenous fisheries centre aims to uplift community rights

One of the centre’s first initiatives, that will continue through 2021, is a multimedia project called Fish Outlaws

By Cara McKenna, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse

A Nisg̱a’a scholar at the head of a new centre at the University of British Columbia is working to bring attention to the ongoing criminalization of Indigenous fisheries.

Scientist Andrea Reid is the principal investigator at the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries, which launched in January.

The centre’s director says the project — based out of UBC’s larger Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries — has been years in the making.

“The Centre for Indigenous Fisheries is really positioned around community-based work and bringing Indigenous communities in as full partners around the research process,” she says.

“The work … is really about responding to community needs. Our first projects are based around ideas of the nations .125we’ve consulted with.375.”

One of the centre’s first initiatives, that will continue through 2021, is a multimedia project called Fish Outlaws, documenting the criminalization and dispossession of Indigenous fisheries around the Salish Sea.

The National Geographic Society has given a grant to four of its designated “National Geographic Explorers” — Reid, conservation scientist Lauren Eckert, documentarian Amy Romer, and Lummi writer Rena Priest — to work with nations to record the issue and imagine a fairer future.

“We’re bringing together all of our passions on this project,” Reid says.

“We hope to be building an interactive and multimedia website that brings together the main outputs of all of our skill sets.”

The four women will do archival research and consult with communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border to build their website, which will share stories, essential histories, and community visions for justice.

“We’re really trying to create space for youth in this process, so we’re currently identifying some key youth who are engaged in stewardship in their communities and want to get more exposure,” Reid says.

“What we’ll be doing is having them participate in our interviews and be there alongside us.”

Reid says they’re also looking to hear from people in West Coast communities who have stories to share about fishery-related injustices.

The effort is inspired in part by the recent high-profile violence that erupted on the East Coast, where non-Indigenous commercial fishers began attacking treaty-protected Mi’kmaq lobster harvesters, their catches and equipment.

In B.C., First Nations fishers have been charged for holding their first salmon ceremonies, or arrested after being hounded to sell fish by undercover fisheries officers, and tensions have generally been high between Indigenous and commercial fishers over demand for increasingly limited seafood stocks.

“In many cases there are individuals who have been fined … for exercising what ought to be constitutionally-protected fishing rights,” Reid says.

“We really want to explore these topics here (and) we’re aware of these parallels that are broader.”

Other projects on the horizon for the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries include research partnerships with several First Nations in the Lower Fraser region, and hiring on another faculty member.

Fisheries historian Dianne Newell, interim director of the centre, says this launch has been a longtime coming.

Newell has been working at UBC since the 1980s, and says though there has been interest in more Indigenous-focused research on fisheries in the Faculty of Science, things haven’t aligned in the right way until now.

Newell was key in forming a committee that eventually pitched the idea of an Indigenous fisheries centre to UBC.

“When I was putting together our physical proposal, I did a lot of research, I went all over campus,” she says.

“I was very fortunate that everyone was so supportive of this idea.”

Newell says after years of work in the faculty and consulting with communities, “the stars aligned” when they were able to recruit Reid.

“She’s unstoppable in terms of reaching out to communities. She sees that as her need as well as her obligation,” Newell says.

“People will really respond to her. She’s also walking into an environment that’s already started to change.”

Currently, Reid is the only Indigenous-identifying person in UBC’s Faculty of Science.

She is a citizen of Nisg̱a’a Nation in northwestern B.C., but grew up on the opposite coast on Prince Edward Island.

Her work with Indigenous fisheries has brought her around the world, but eventually brought her back home, where she’s been able to contribute research, connect with relatives and ultimately be a part of something she says was started by her ancestors.

“.125It’s been.375 a pathway to reconnect to a part of my heritage that I didn’t get to grow up with,” she says. “It was a path home for me.”

Her experience has led her to want to create space for Indigenous students at UBC, as they work on their own projects that will allow them to connect with culture and their own home territories.

“That’s going to be a major focus for me moving forward is their training and their mentorship,” she says.

“We need to cultivate a more positive environment where students aren’t asked to leave a part of themselves at the door.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Indigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. Photo: Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News
Interior Health opens up vaccine eligibility in Columbia Valley to 18 years or older

Only local residents can register and book appointments as COVID-19 case counts spike in the region

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

BGC Cranbrook will renovate a facility to relocate 24 existing spaces and add 24 new spaces with support from the Trust. Photo courtesy Columbia Basin Trust.
Grant funding to help create new childcare spaces in Cranbrook

Columbia Basin Trust providing $10,000 to BGC Cranbrook to help renovate new facility

Earlier this spring, the City of Cranbrook started positioning components of the Stormceptor system to carry storm runoff to Elizabeth Lake from the Innes Avenue neighbourhood. Photo submitted
Stormceptor will bring clean run-off to Elizabeth Lake

The City of Cranbrook is installing new infrastructure to handle the Innes Avenue neighbourhood, but go easy on Elizabeth lake

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read