The Columbia River Treaty modernization was the focus for both a very successful field course in the summer of 2015 and PNWCSC Annual General Meeting in February 2016. The Canadian Consulate in downtown Seattle hosted the meeting, which included participants from fifteen member institutions and lively discussions about myriad aspects of the Columbia River, the treaty and its vital role in the Pacific Northwest—on both sides of the 49th Parallel.
John Wagner, anthropologist from University of British Columbia Okanagan, gave a fascinating keynote talk about the renegotiation of the treaty from the Canadian and agricultural perspective. A panel with representatives from the Canadian government, environmental economics, the Catholic Church and the Pope’s Environmental Encyclical, Native American/First Nation perspective, business and the field course brought a holistic and multifaceted discussion of modernizing the treaty to include ecological foci in addition to the hydropower and flood control agreements that the 1964 treaty addresses. We then watched Adam Wicks-Arshack’s film, “Treaty Talks: A Journey Up the Columbia River for People and Salmon”—an inspiring film and project. Students from several tribes and bands carved traditional canoes in the shape of salmon and canoed from the mouth of the Columbia in Astoria, Oregon, to the headwaters in a small stream near Lake Columbia, British Columbia.
The afternoon included a panel and pictures from the summer field course and a lively exchange about attendees’ Canadian scholarship. All in all, it was a lively and excellent day—we also welcomed University of California, Berkeley and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Land Claim Office in Anchorage, Alaska as new members. Once again, through the generous support of the Consulate and the Secretariat at the University of Washington Canadian Studies Program, it has been possible for the PNWCSC to continue its modest work in these times of retrenchment.
The Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium (PNWCSC) was organized in late 1986 and early 1987 with the mission to facilitate the development of Canadian Studies at institutions of higher education in the Pacific Northwest, and to enhance cooperation, joint programming, and information sharing among Canadian Studies programs and faculty in the Pacific region. The Canadian Studies Center serves as secretariat for the Consortium.