Date: October 15th, 2020 - October 16th, 2020
Watersheds 2020 was a two-day virtual forum hosted online on October 15th and 16th, 2020. It is part of the ongoing series of “Watersheds” forums designed to inspire and nourish B.C.’s water community. By bringing together a diverse community of water leaders—including Indigenous Nations, watershed groups, local and provincial government staff, funders, and a network of practitioners and champions—these forums offer a chance for deeper understanding of emerging issues, as well as opportunities to create change and build community resilience and long-term watershed security.
Download Watersheds 2020 Proceedings Report and view event videos, below.
Coast Salish Elder Florence James (Penelakut Island, B.C.) and Anishinaabe/Métis scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly (Simon Fraser University) opened the Watersheds 2020 virtual meeting space in a good way through ceremony, prayer, and teachings that gathered participants together in mind, heart, and spirit.
Keynote: Law’s Indigenous Ethics
In this keynote address, Dr. John Borrows (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, University of Victoria) encouraged participants to think of “law” as a verb—something that we do—and reflect on how we ourselves engage in “law-ing.” He explored the Anishinaabe grandmother and grandfather teachings of love, respect, truth, wisdom, honesty, humility, and bravery. Discussants Lydia Hwitsum (First Nations Summit) and Oliver M. Brandes (Associate Director, Centre for Global Studies & Co-Director, POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, University of Victoria) offered insights in the context of watershed governance, DRIPA (B.C.’s application of UNDRIP), and B.C.’s Water Sustainability Act. Acting as a witness, Anishinaabe/Métis scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly (Simon Fraser University) then spoke to what was shared.
Water Champions Panel: Watershed Governance in Practice
Champions involved in existing watershed governance initiatives demonstrated watershed governance in action by sharing their innovative approaches, learnings, and insights. Panellists included individuals involved in the Water Sustainability Plan scoping work and partnership for the Koksilah River (Xwulqw’selu Sto’lo) watershed, the historic ʔElhdaqox Dechen Ts’edilhtan (“ʔEsdilagh Sturgeon River Law”), and Syilx (Okanagan) Lake Watershed Planning.
Day 1 Closing Ceremony
After the generous sharing and exchanges that took place during the first day of Watersheds 2020, Coast Salish Elder Florence James (Penelakut Island, B.C.) and Anishinaabe/Métis scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly (Simon Fraser University) brought the day to a good close through ceremony, prayer, and teachings that gathered participants together in mind, heart, and spirit.
The second day of Watersheds 2020 offered concurrent sessions on issues related to sustainable funding, leveraging technological innovation for watershed health, and how storytelling can lead to action.
The core hosting partners of Watersheds 2020 were the POLIS Water Sustainability Project, Watersheds BC, BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative, Fist Nations Fisheries Council, Canadian Freshwater Alliance, and the Forum for Leadership on Water (FLOW).