Telling Our Stories:
Story telling is the Shuswap
way of passing our history
to the next generations
Shortly after the Cultural/recreation centre (eventually our band office) was completed, I started planning the next big project for the Band. It would be a new recreation centre/gym. I first approached the DIA staff in town for help. At that time the Department of Indian Affairs had district offices all over the province. Williams Lake had a district office that was responsible for 15 bands from the surrounding area.
The initial, almost immediate, response from DIA was “no, not possible. Only bands with schools can be funded for gyms”. I was getting very tired of hearing that response to many of the requests I made to DIA. All I kept hearing was “there isn’t any money for that” or “It can’t be done”, I never once heard a DIA person say “Let’s see if there’s a way to get it done”. So I was going to have to go it alone on this one. And it was going to be a huge one.
I didn’t know where to start. I guess, because it was going to be a log structure, I should start by searching for a source of logs. Cariboo Indian Enterprises was still in business and was logging out at Fish Lake, the Military lot at Riske Creek. So, I approached them about the possibility of donating the logs for our gym. They were somewhat receptive to the idea, so we began looking for suitable logs. It wasn’t long before we realized that their trees were not loghouse quality. They were logging mostly Fir. Fir had too many knots, had too much taper, had thick bark, and was more likely to be crooked. So we gave up on that idea.
We then talked to the Forest Service about the possibility of accessing timber for building community buildings. There was a program, but it was for building residential homes only. We kept working with the Forestry to somehow fit us into the program. We finally got it to work. I don’t remember exactly how, but I think as part of the program we would use the logs to build two residential houses. After searching a bit, The Forest Service told us that we could get our logs from the Morhead Lake area toward Likely, BC. We had resolved a major step in getting our gymnasium.