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Canada-U.S. Columbia River Treaty Faculty Field Course

Columbia Faculty Retreat
Previous group on the Columbia River Treaty Field Course, August 2015. Front row from left to right: John Kawula, Bill Layman, and Morna McEachern. Back row from left to right: Deanna Leigh, Tuti Baker, Margaret Willson, and Ken Pratt. Photo credit: Bridget Thompson.

October 31, 2015

In June the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium and the Canadian Studies Center sponsored a field course for faculty and graduate students from Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state to the Columbia River. The group studied elements of the Columbia River Treaty renegotiation including indigenous perspectives on both sides of the border, the history of the river over the past 10,000 years, the effects of damming the river and much more.

The Columbia River Treaty, signed in 1964, is up for renewal. The renegotiation of the Treaty has become an exceptional event that has engendered the formation of new alliances between indigenous peoples, inter-faith pastoral groups, environmental advocates, artists, outdoor recreationists, academics and many others. These groups are working separately and together to pressure the Canadian and U.S. governments to add protecting and restoring ecosystems to the original purpose of the treaty.

The field course was organized and led by Morna McEachern, Social Work. The group travelled from Seattle, into the Okanagan, then along the Columbia River in the Canadian Rockies, and crossed the border at Castlegar and Kettle Falls with a final stop in Wenatchee. Faculty members will return to their institutions where they will incorporate some of their findings into their curriculum and research.

This faculty field course was made possible, in part, by funding from theĀ Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium. The Consortium is housed with the Center at the UW.