I wanted to share a few photos I took today during Tofino’s Climate Strike. For those of you who don’t know, Tofino is located on Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations territory on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It’s where my retro fishing boat, the iDigher, is moored.
Tofino was the first municipality on Vancouver Island that I noticed was attempting to ban single-use plastics such as shopping bags and straws. In 1993, the town was an instrumental ally of Tla-o-qui-aht and Ahousaht First Nations during the War in the Woods (where 900 people were arrested). Since then, Tofino has been a firm opponent of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion and its proposed increase in tanker traffic.
One could say that Tofino has a long history of social activism and acknowledgment of Indigenous rights, so I was curious to see what kind of turnout there would be today.
Everyone met at noon at the Village Green park. Terry Dorward of Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks began the ceremony with a Nuu-chah-nulth prayer. This was followed by several youth speakers who then led the march. The procession went along Campbell Street, down to the 1st Street Dock, returned along Main Street, and then went back to the park.
It was hard to get everyone in a single photograph due to the size of the crowd and how spread out it was. My guess, is that there were a few hundred people who participated. I took the above image on Main Street. It captures the majority of the procession. The very top image of this post shows some of the strikers at the 1st Street Dock.
This photograph was taken towards the end of the strike, when everyone had returned to the Village Green. I learned several businesses had closed for the duration of the strike so that their employees could participate if they chose to. It was an impressive sized crowd for how small Tofino is.
I’ve always been a fan of backpack statements. I thought this one was particularly clever, because it can be taken in more than one way. The symbolism of the skull and serpent patch on the side of her pack add to the message, while the utopian nature of the Star Trek patches are somehow heartbreaking, representing an unlikely, but possible, future.
Once the strike was over, I went to Common Loaf Bakery to get a coffee (owners Maureen and her son Lee had both directed traffic during the march). I noticed that they had the above quote taped to the wall. It resonated with me as relevant so I wanted to share.
The Nuu-chah-nulth teaching is hishuk’ish tsawalk: Everything is One. Everything has spirit. We are all meant to respect the Earth. Our actions matter. Thank you.