The rich history, arts and culture of the Columbia River in Canada and the United States will be on display at the Columbia Basin Transboundary Conference: One River, One Future in September.

The conference aims to address key issues related to the future of the Columbia River, its ecosystem, management and international implications, while also showcasing arts and culture from both sides of the border. This willl include a number of performances and art displays by poets, musicians, artists, youth, Canadian First Nations, and acclaimed authors.

“The goal for the arts and culture component at the conference is to be broad, inclusive, and to highlight both the history and the future of the Columbia River Basin,” said Kindy Gosal, Executive Director, Columbia Basin Trust. “Storytellers, artists and Indigenous performers from both sides of the border will celebrate our cultural connectedness.”

Cutural highlights include literary readings from Fred Wah, a Canadian poet, novelist, scholar and former Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate, from his book beholden: a poem as long as the river and Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, published author and public speaker, reading from her book A River Captured – The Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change.

The conference’s gala dinner will feature a locally-sourced menu and evening entertainment includes both singing by local community youth and a performance by folk guitarist Rusty Jackson from Post Falls, Idaho. As well, attendees will be treated to a vocal performance of Coco Love Alcorn’s The River, by Nelson B.C.’s Bessie Wapp, who will be backed-up by members of the Kimberley Community Choir.

Three exhibits will be displayed throughout the duration of the conference, including River Relations: a Beholder’s Share of the Columbia River and Roll On Columbia, the award-winning historical exhibit. Both will be situated within the Kimberley Conference Centre and are open to the public during the day at no cost. The Revelstoke Museum will showcase part of its Stories Beneath the Surface exhibit, which is about communities displaced or lost due to reservoir flooding.

“Several cultural displays will also be set up in the foyer of the conference centre, offering the public an opportunity to explore literature and history, and even engage by video-phone with solo kayaker Claire Dibble, from her kayak on the Columbia River,” said Delehanty Pearkes, cultural ambassador for the conference.

In addition, Paper and Cup, a Kimberley bookstore, will sell books about the Columbia River and feature works by various regional authors.

Columbia Basin Transboundary Conference: One River, One Future takes place in Kimberley, B.C., from September 12 to 14, 2019. Registration is $199.

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