‘No nukes’ activists re-emerge at One Wave

Pacific Peoples group trades demonstrations for cultural exchanges

When the Pacific Peacemaker set sail from Seattle towards the South Pacific in 1982 to protest nuclear testing, the peacekeeping ship proudly flew a flag designed the Tsartlip First Nations, symbolic of partnership and giving thanks.

Phil Esmonde, co-founder of the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership – known then as the South Pacific Peoples’ Foundation, was at the forefront of the nuclear free Pacific movement and presented the flag to the Peacemaker in Anacortes, Wash.

Since 1975 the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership has continued to advocate for peace, justice, environmental sustainability and development for Pacific Islanders from its Victoria-based office.

Though its core mandate has remained the same, the non-governmental organization’s M.O. – once marked by the posting of signs that read: “Warning nuclear ship now in port” – has become less focused on in-your-face activism and more on advocacy to ensure funding remains intact.

“There’s no way we could get away with that now,” April Ingham, Pacific Peoples’ Partnership executive director said of the late Esmonde’s bold presence. “We are a movement for change, but we do so through partnerships.”

Small NGOs such as the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership are having a hard enough time sustaining an office in the current economic climate, Ingham said, and aren’t willing to risk losing government funding over making strong political statements. Instead, they channel their efforts into cultural exchanges, many of them centred on empowering women and youth.

Wall to wall works of art – masks, prayer flags, dance artefacts and gathering cloths – made by those who share the Canadian shoreline down to residents of the furthest islands of the South Pacific, are telling of the charity’s efforts to build partnerships.

“We’re one of Victoria’s oldest NGOs with a 37-year history and sadly, even with that long history, we don’t have that full knowledge out there as to why we even need to have an organization that’s focused on the Pacific. The irony of that kills me constantly,” Ingham said.

“People don’t understand, or perhaps don’t know how they can engage on some of the issues like overfishing or islands that are sinking, or whole countries that are having to contemplate becoming refugees due to climate change,” she continued.

“We’re trying to raise awareness for the need for Canada’s presence in the Pacific and to orientate youth in the importance of looking at the issues and agendas and how we’re all connected.”

This weekend is an opportunity for the public to get brought up to speed with the history and get involved with future volunteer endeavours during the One Wave Festival.

The youth-organized event features arts and crafts, storytellers, First Nations dancers, body painting, and a dance party with local bands Party on High Street and Compassion Gorilla, along with words by poet laureate Janet Marie Rogers.

“There were no youth-centred arts and cultural festivals to celebrate Pacific arts and culture and the ocean,” Ingham said. “One Wave is representative of all the energy of the youth and all these people: the ocean, the environment, artists and everyone coming together.”

One Wave runs from noon until 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept 22 in Spirit (Centennial) Square downtown.




Just Posted

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Father’s Day crash in Saanich closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic impacted

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read