I grew up along the Georgia Strait, where morning fog nestles between wrinkled red cedars and peeling arbutus, on the Indigenous lands of the Snuneymuxw, Stzuminus and Hul’qumi’num Treaty group.
This town is also known as Chemainus, on south-eastern Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I descend from settlers from Italy, Scotland, Germany and Ukraine, and while I am immensely grateful to have been raised here, I know I am an uninvited occupant on these lands. Armed in a sun-bleached life-jacket and the aroma of diesel, I spent all my weekends on our family boat, setting traps for crab and prawn, and trolling for the occasional salmon if we were especially lucky. Sitting on the bow of the boat, bringing back food for our family and friends, I gained an intimate respect and curiosity for the waters and her inhabitants. Two decades later, I returned to the water, this time with a notebook in hand, tracing the migration of juvenile salmon from lake to estuary to the ocean.