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Monthly Archives: January 2014

This article will show up during January 2014.

I noticed the article does not show up in Megaphone Magazine because the issues change. I didn’t know that.  Guess will have to look it up in their archive.  It is okay.  Nevertheless, enclosed is the article. 

Don’t trash the Coho: A call for cleaner streams and healthier fish


Photo by Arlene Bowman.

After Coho salmon returned to Hyland Creek streams in Surrey, B.C. to spawn in November 2012, I noticed many pieces of trash in and on the sides of the streams: cigarette butts, beer cans, cups, old furniture, clothes, plastic bags, fans and other materials.

Sometimes the stream is clear, but although the stream looks clear it is not clean for the Coho to return to spawn, or for the smolts to grow up. The salmon live in the stream almost a year, swim into the Serpentine and Fraser rivers, into the Pacific Ocean, live, eat together in schools and then return to where they were born in the small streams in Surrey and elsewhere in B.C. The cycle continues.

As a test in April 2013, I walked to King George Boulevard, west of the area of the creek where we live, to see how the fry thrive in the streams. At King George Boulevard I noticed a white gooey film on brown rocks. No small fry. At the same time as I walked beside the stream, I saw all kinds of garbage. I saw a huge chair stuck in the middle of the stream. I pulled it out.

This summer in 2013, more than the fall and winter at the creek, I noticed lots of beer cans and cigarette butts in the streams.

Regularly I checked the smolts to see how they do. I went to view the smolts at a location. The water looked like whitish milk in the water. When I first viewed the big coho salmon in November and December 2012, I saw suds and bubbles flow, too. Big coho salmon drank and lived in that water.

Once at the end of July, I attended an environmental group’s meeting at Tyne Head Park. A group leader brought kits to test stream waters for bacteria, phosphates, turbidity, nutrients and temperature. I told the group leader I saw suds at a stream where coho smolts live nearby. It is typical to happen as streams get closer to houses where people live, she said.

People trash that small park in the streams where the coho smolts live and swim. Why such irresponsibility from people? Parents play a huge role to teach children to pick up garbage rather than throw stuff onto streets or in nature.

As I have walked down streets in Surrey and Vancouver, with my own eyes I have seen people throw bags out car windows onto the highway and alcohol bottles onto the pavement.

People do not care. Definitely something is wrong to pollute the world wide and in Canada, especially in Surrey, B.C. where the coho smolts live in the streams. Could this also be why the salmon return less and less each year? I have seen it. I have shot pictures of it. Why not make salmon an endangered species before it is too late?

Someday, the cycle may not return if we do no clean up our act.

Arlene Bowman / Tuesday January 14, 2014



Veronico Cruz. 1987.  Screenplay written by Eduardo Leiva Mueller. Based on original screenplay written by Miquel Pereira and directed by Pereira.  Based on The Experiences of Fortunato Ramos

Film is about a teacher’s memory, his friendship with an Indigenous boy.  Teacher actually is a father figure to the boy growing up.  An Indigenous couple have a baby.  She has Veronico but she dies at his birth. She is buried.  The husband leaves the baby with his grandmother.  Grandmother raises him.  He learns to play flute because his Daddie left it with him as a baby.  Family has a house made of mud bricks.  They own sheep and herd the sheep.  At first boy hesitates to go to school but he is interested in it.  His grandmother does not want him to go to school. At first the teacher finds it hard to get students but eventually they come around.  Later on she okays him to go to school. One day boy returns home and finds his grandmother lying on the floor. She died.  The teacher takes care of him because he is left alone.  It is okay until the whole government of Argentina changes into a military junta again.  They are fascist.  A truck drives out to the small village and starts ordering people around.  The teacher finds out that Veronico has a father. Decides during summer to look for him.  When he goes to police in big town, he gets pulled inside for questioning.  They are so suspicious of him they treat him mean. Act so arrogant and bossy: Don’t look at me.  But they let him go. Teacher is traumatized. How can they find Veronico’s father if they treat everyone’s inquiries suspiciously? They will never find the father.  Return home.  The teacher receives orders to transfer to another school.  He asks boy if he wants to come but boy declines.  Teacher goes to another place to teach.  Teacher keeps contact with boy by letter writing. He does not see him for a long time.  Argentina has a war with United Kingdom over Falkland Islands.  A ship sinks because of war.  At the same time teacher asks boy to write more often. Never receives mail so he goes to boy’s home where he first taught.  He is not there.  The older man he befriends shows him the latest picture of boy who is a grown up young man. He wears a sailor suit. He may have joined the navy.  Man thinks possibly he may have been killed on that ship that sunk.  He is saddened by it all because he knew that boy. He loved that boy.  It is how I have always felt anyhow about friendships with people, considered friends to be precious in that way in my life.

That is why this film meant a lot to me.  Will write a screenplay Tourquoise Sun in LA about an Indigenous woman’s deep friendship with James Morrison of the Doors. He has never had a friendship with a female like her.  It will affect him and her the rest of their lives. 

The landscape of Northern Argentina reminded me of Arizona, high desert. Except in North Argentina the Andes are very high mountains, the big difference compared to Arizona.  Colder probably in Argentina.  In the film location I saw walls of shale similar as Arizona. The land looked dry with bushes and grasses.  His people raised sheep like Dine’ of Arizona and herded them.  In Argentina their predator was the puma or cougar.  Very isolated country.

Also once I taught Indigenous youth.  In Veronico Cruz film story in the beginning the teacher waited for students to attend his class, but it was a no show.  He did not know what to think. He was mystified. He tried to have faith for students to attend.  He spoke with a man in the small village. Man said the students will attend.  Have to trust first. This scene of waiting for students to attend happened to me once with White River Apache students. Hard to believe any student would attend. I worked hard to make it happen. It happened.  The best students were the young women.

Nothing pic

I made a video called Locked Dooors which is in the show Nothing About Us Without Us.  The artists in the show are very good too.  Very interesting process.  Very hard to do at times.  Hope you can view the show for those of you who live in Vancouver or Surrey BC.