Open Letter about Our Message at the Canada Winter Games

By February 18, 2015 29 Comments

(Header Photo of Black Spruce Bog at CWG Opening Ceremonies. Photo Credit Nick Krizmanich)

Black Spruce Bog is honoured to represent Prince George and the Coldsnap Winter Music Festival at the Canada Winter Games on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh. We want to thank our incredible community for giving us the opportunity to showcase our music and our message. It is because of our community that we chose to make a political statement, both at the opening ceremonies (Opening Ceremonies-Tete Jaune Road) and at our live performances.

You may ask, why bring politics into this beautiful celebration of arts, culture, and athletics? Our response is that political protest is also a form of celebration. We are in love with this land and we are in love with the people who call this land home. We cannot participate in such a grand ceremony without acknowledging that two of its major financial sponsors (Enbridge and TransCanada) are proposing to put the very landbase we are celebrating at immense risk. This is our statement of support – support for the lands of Northern British Columbia, for the people who work the lands, and for the people who live in these communities. These are the people who should be making the decisions about our natural resources. We play our music for them.

Black Spruce Bog has decided to donate a portion of our Canada Games earnings to the Unist’ot’en Camp, a group standing on the front lines of resistance against all proposed oil and gas expansion in BC. We are grateful for their work. We are also adamantly opposed to flooding prime agricultural land in the Peace River Valley to build the Site C Dam and strongly urge the public to get involved in halting this unnecessary project.

Black Spruce Bog is Amy Blanding, Danny Bell, Spencer Hammond, Eric Wynleau, Jeremy Pahl, and Fraser Hayes.

Stop Harper - Black Spruce Bog playing the CWG Main Stage -photo credit Shannon Zwiers

Stop Harper – Black Spruce Bog playing the CWG Main Stage
-photo credit Shannon Zwiers

Join the discussion 29 Comments

  • Great performance, great song, you all are new favourites for me. So happy you used this venue to present your message about the land and people being affected by outside investors rapacious and short sighted greed.

    love you all
    happy trails

    • Spencer Hammond says:

      Thanks so much!
      We expect a lot of mixed reactions by using this platform to present our messages, so its lovely to get notes of support.
      Thanks again Rick!

  • I wish I was present. I saw pictures including STOP HARPER shirt. I am proud of you peeps. Keep strumming and humming and muddahuffin protesting in beautiful ways.


  • Lori Merrill says:

    Bravo you courageous people! I am thankful the voice of reason rings through the halls of sport and entertainment . Thank you for reminding us all about where the decisions about our land should come from . Love you all and your amazing music. Saw you in Terrace and hope to see you soon again !

  • D Lynn Chapman says:

    Thank you for supporting and drawing attention to the craziness of Site C Dam and it’s generation crippling $9Billion price tag. In my generation (60’s) the really cool bands were the ones that lead social and environmental change through their music. Right on!

  • Amelia says:

    Loved your shows this week and was thrilled with your message. Thanks for being our collective voice and making it sound so damn good!

  • Kelly Mould says:

    Thank you! Thank you! So many of us feel the way you do but so few of us have an opportunity to share that message with a spotlight on us. You may have been speaking for yourselves but you were actually speaking for many.

  • Chris Horne says:

    It’s people like you taking the stage to get the message across to the masses that will make a difference in this world. Too many people here in the city aren’t thinking outside of the box and just continue to consume. We must preserve or we don’t survive.

    Chris Horne
    Variété D’arts Society President

  • Dave Livesey says:

    Wow!! Great job guys. I met you in Telkwa this summer, and I’m glad you are getting the word out to help protect these wonderful rivers and landscapes. Great shirts all around.

  • Rainer Schmoll says:

    Equal exposure for both sides seems fair to me. Enbridge and TransCanada are trying to send a message that they care about our province by sponsoring this event, it is not surprising that they were accepted as event sponsors.

    I am grateful that you chose to counter their message with a message of your own in support of the significant number of people that love our province and want to leave it healthy for our children and grandchildren and all future generations.

    Thank You.

  • Shelley Falk-Ouellette says:

    Thank you for standing up for our environment in such a beautiful way.
    Kudos to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Malcolm Graham says:

    Way to go! Way to stand up for what’s right and voice your opinions.

  • YES YES YES THANK YOU for using this platform as a way to add to the discussion. We love resistance, keep it up! XOXOXO

  • Doug Cunningham says:

    Thanks for all you are doing. Do not know why, but I could not hear your band, but I am sure it needs more cow bell, and some bagpipes never hurt. Keep up the good fight! Cheers

  • Brenda Mark says:

    Greetings from Terrace! Thanks for standing up for our northern land and communities, particularly with your donation to Unist’ot’en.
    I attended a concert last weekend where ‘Miss Quincy’ fronted for a well-known blues band. She did a Fred Eagleson cover song that, being from Fort St. John (site C), she dedicated to BC hydro. That particular song has its finger on the pulse of the people whose rights are being stomped on in the name of greed.
    Here’s a quote I found in a northwest newspaper: “Communities are no longer prepared to be drive-by casualties for giant corporations on their road to shareholder value.” I believe we can turn this around with voices like yours, and encouraging divestment.
    Keep on doing what you’re doing!

  • Ian Banks says:

    Consider me (a New Brunswick coach that attended CWG) a new fan of your band! In principle I am opposed to mixing politics with sports, especially when very young athletes are involved. However, I do respect why you chose to make the statements you did. Northern BC is beautiful and I and my athletes loved my 10 days in Prince George and Purden Ski Village. You would make many new fans in NB from the anti-fracking movement should you ever play down east. Best of luck in the near future!

    • Amy Blanding says:

      Thanks – very much – for your comments. They really do mean a lot to us. It was a difficult decision for us to make the statement we did, as our biggest concern was drawing attention away from the youth and their supporters. Thank you for understanding why we felt we had to do it, and for such kind words about our music! Our mandolin player is from PEI, so a tour to the Maritimes is definitely on our bucket list. Thank you again for your thoughts – we’re so glad you enjoyed PG!

  • […] Here’s a letter I wrote with my band Black Spruce Bog explaining our political messaging at the Canada Winter Games back in February. […]

  • Stephen says:

    Art is a form of protest against the status quo. Sparking individual thoughts in the hearts and minds of our people and supporting those who are standing up is commendable regardless of the venue. These are everyday issues we need to be reminded of.

    Keep on fighting the good fight.

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