Marilyn James, CJLY-FM,
In the Shadow of Extinction
“In the Shadow of Extinction” is part of a 22 part radio documentary/podcast series, “Sinixt Stories: Ancestral Roots, Cultural Seeds”, produced by the “Blood of Life Collective”, a Sinixt/settler multi-disciplinary collaborative arts collective that have works together to foster community relationships between Sinixt and settler peoples. This audio series, created in the studios of Kootenay Co-op Radio in Nelson, BC, is part of a larger project that includes a book and educational resources. More information is available in the Blood of Life facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bloodoflifecollective/
In the piece, Sinixt Elder Marilyn James tells a family story she heard from Sinixt Elder Bob Campbell, who heard it from his uncle, Ambrose Adolph.
A summary: Prior to World War Two, the Adolph family decided to go gold panning near Revelstoke, BC in order to survive the winter on the Colville Reservation. Ambrose was the driver of their Model T Ford. They ended up in a huge cottonwood grove where he looked up and saw an amazing sight: in the cottonwood trees he saw caribou antlers stacked up to three feet tall. The grove was an ancient Sinixt hunting place where migrating caribou were hunted. The hunters sat in nests of antlers up in the trees. Ambrose kept that place in mind and when he went to fight in the war, through the horror of it, he would think of this place, and how he wanted to go back there if he lived.
The story should be understood in the modern context where most old growth trees have been felled, and humans have caused the extirpation of the Selkirk Mountain Caribou herd, which were once plenteous in the region. The other key thing the listener needs to to understand is that the Sinixt were declared bureaucratically extinct by the Canadian government in 1956, in spite of their continued presence on the land.
Check out the award-winning submission!
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