One of the 500 salmon donated to a homeless encampment and several groups in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside by aboriginal fishermen.

First Nations Fisherman Donates 500 Sockeye to Vancouver Homeless


Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is known as one of the poorest areas of one of British Columbia’s best-known cities, its reputation one of forgotten souls. But a pile of sockeye salmon changed all that on Saturday August 23, when a First Nations fisherman donated 500 of the fish to organizations and a homeless encampment in the downtrodden neighborhood.

“It’s been a long time for a lot of those people to have salmon in East Vancouver and a lot of those people are First Nations,” said Joshua Duncan, a commercial fisherman with R.A. Roberts Fishing Ltd. in Campbell River, to The Province. “I was doing this as a gesture to people who really would like and appreciate the fish, and are trying to make a stand for themselves in their small part of the world.”

The encampment holds 150 people who have been living in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park for weeks to protest the city’s dearth of affordable housing. Friendship centers and women’s centers in East Vancouver also received fish, The Province reported.

Recipients were moved.

"Bless that man's heart. What a glorious day for the people of Oppenheimer Park," said Karen Clark, who has been homeless for two years after fleeing an abusive relationship, to APTN News. “This is going to bring what we commonly refer to as the inside circle and the outside circle together, finally, with a feast of fish given by a man—obviously a humble man—who wants nothing more than to see us fed and happy and family and housed."

The fish donation project started when Tlatlasikwala First Nation Hereditary Chief John Wallace put out a call on Facebook for donations, APTN reported. Duncan, who has fished for the past 15 years on a boat owned by another hereditary chief, Tony Roberts Sr, heeded.

“We just like to say pay it forward to the people who don't have access and I'm sure haven't had a fresh salmon in a very long time,” Duncan told APTN. “We're just happy to help out whatever little bit we can, and there’s enough fish to go around."

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bullbear's picture
Submitted by bullbear on
God bless all the workers and the families of the R.A.Roberts Fishing for their generous and humble show of generosity. This is how our Creator wished for us to treat our brothers and sisters. Its been ages since I had a heaping bowl of salmon stew and frybread. You serve as an inspiration in a world where greed seems to forget all the down trodden and the depression that they must endure. Again, may the Good Lord bless all of you for your gift and act of kindness.

cheena1's picture
Submitted by cheena1 on
What a wonderful thing to do! There isn't enough of this kind of selfless giving anymore - #GREED has taken the place of kindness - no idea why. It is a very sad state of affairs these days. I pray we can soon get back to the way we were!

Lyle's picture
Submitted by Lyle on
I randomly read this story because I am a facebook follower of this publication. What an amazing story. I am a recovering alcoholic that and I am half Athabascan Indian. I have been given the tool by others that one of the most powerful tools in recovery is to help others. Reading this instantly gave me more hope, for I live now have to live my life one day at a time. It inspires me to do more to help my community on a local level, you see all these national and world campaigns online and in the news, and it's easy to lose track of what's really important. And that's to help in your own backyard, in one's own physical realm. I want to help more in my own area, and reading stories like this helps guide my own vision to help others. That you for this. Lyle Vinson Missoula, Montana