The festival is organized in recognition and celebration of the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations throughout BC.
While 2017 marks Canada’s 150th year, it also marks more than 500 years of Indigenous resistance to colonial exploitation and assimilation in this region. The intention is to focus on the perspectives of Indigenous musicians, artists, activists and knowledge keepers from around the Pacific Northwest. They are partnered with Quw’utsun elders and traditional leaders to ensure that this gathering reflects proper protocols and is accessible to the local Indigenous community.
The festival is named after the Koksilah river, which drains into the Cowichan river not far from the festival grounds. Weirs on the Koksilah maintained by the Quw’utsun people once provided abundant Coho and Spring salmon for the smokehouses every summer and fall. The Koksilah’s deep pools, eddies, and waterfalls are where locals revitalize during the heat of summer. These same swim spots used to provide sanctuary to a healthy salmon run that returned each year to create a new generation of coho, steelhead, chinook, pink, and chum salmon. They have named this festival in recognition of the broad-based community support the Koksilah will require to return to its former strength, so it can again provide sustenance to the Quw’utsun community.
For more information on this festval visit their website here