Nelson author: ‘I am the Columbia River, this is my story’

Eileen Delehanty Pearkes shared her children’s book The Heart of a River with Rosemont Elementary.

Nelson author Eileen Delahanty Pearkes taught students about the Columbia River during a visit to Rosemont Elementary on Monday morning.

“A river woke me up in the middle of the night.”

That’s how Eileen Delehanty Pearkes described the moment she decided to write The Heart of a River to the students of Rosemont Elementary, during a visit on Monday morning.

According to her, the Columbia River itself insisted on speaking through her.

“The Columbia River knocked on the door of my office at work and said ‘pick up your pen, I have a story to tell you’,” said Pearkes. She used an overhead projector to share the illustrations by local artist Nichola Lytle.

Pearkes’ book is narrated by the Columbia, and takes readers through its lengthy history while introducing them to some of the politics and controversies surrounding its use and stewardship. It details the arrival of people “pale as river stones” who disrupt the equilibrium it had achieved with the Sinixt People.

“I am the Columbia River. This is my story,” Pearkes read. “I am a river whose heart struggles to pulse with the rhythms of life.”

Unfortunately, its task of transporting salmon to the sea has been interrupted by dams and development. That’s a topic Pearkes has written about in her non-fiction book A River Captured: The Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change, but for River she’s simplified the message for younger audiences.

“I am a river whose work has been interrupted by a prosperity I do not recognize, whose spirit is impoverished and silenced. Someday I will again be able to carry the salmon on the backs of my currents.”

And, she told the kids, they should all care about what happens to the Columbia.

“I wonder how the people pale as river stones could understand so little about my purpose, what I was born for: to find my way with great freedom and power to the sea.”

Pearkes plans to tour this book to other schools in the district, and share her passion for the river with people throughout the Kootenays.

 

Just Posted

‘Surrounding a community with a fire break won’t help’

RDCK offers fire danger assessments to homeowners

Caribou panel hears from critical public

About 250 people turned out Wednesday evening to give feedback on the provincial government’s caribou recovery plans.

Mungall to host CleanBC open house in Nelson

Michelle Mungall is hosting an open house on CleanBC at L.V. Rogers on Tuesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

LETTER: Garbage truck was in the shop

From Chris Gainham of the City of Nelson

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

Most Read