Seabird Island Chief Jim Harris issued his first video address in almost a month. (Screenshot/Seabird Island First Nation)

‘A tough six months’: Seabird Island chief discusses pandemic, salmon situation

Chief Harris encouraged community to remain COVID vigilant

Seabird Island Chief Jim Harris issued his first video address in approximately a month on Wednesday (September 2).

Chief Harris thanked the community for keeping everyone COVID-free as we enter month six of the pandemic.

“This has been a tough six months for all our First Nations people,” he said. “I know that the whole world is fighting this pandemic.”

In addition to the hardship the pandemic has placed on everyone, Chief Harris noted the Seabird Island community has also had to grapple with fewer fish the community so depends on.

RELATED: Seabird Island COVID-19 ‘scare’ has passed, Chief states

“For the last two seasons, we were limited to fishing for spring salmon only,” he said. “Our wind driers have been struggling have been struggling to go up to their fish camps for years now. It has come to the point where our members can’t even get out there and practice one of our oldest traditions to wind-dry our sockeye salmon.”

Chief Harris expressed hope for future salmon populations and a wish that the tradition will continue and the outlook will improve.

RELATED: Seabird Island Chief wishes class of 2020 well

Chief Harris said the COVID-19 numbers have been on the rise recently, stating he believes due to B.C.’s prior position as an example of COVID containment done right has led people to let their guard down and began flouting the rules again, resulting in the curve rising once again. He encouraged community members to remain vigilant, wear masks when needed and concluded by thanking them once again for keeping Seabird Island safe.

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