Telling Our Stories:
Story telling is the Shuswap
way of passing our history
to the next generations
The Williams Lake District Chiefs Council
I had my very first experience in politics in 1970 when then Chief George Abbey asked if I would be iinterested in going as his alternate to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs AGM in Victoria. I think it may have been the UBCIC's second annual conference as the Union was just formed in 1969 in Kamloops.
I had no idea what the Union of BC Indian Chiefs was. Heck, I didn't even know what a conference was. George told me that all my travel, accomodation, and meals would be reimbursed at the meeting and they paid pretty good. I wasn't working at the time and was drawing Unemployment Insurance. I was able to get myself a bus ticket to Victoria so I agreed to go, not knowing what to expect. The meeting was held at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, just across fom the Parliament building. That was my first time in Victoria.
In Williams Lake, there still were no Tribal councils yet. All there was was something that Indian Affairs called the Williams Lake District Chiefs Council. This was created by the Department of Indian Affairs to bring the Chiefs of the fifteen Bands together to divide up the budget allotted to the Williams Lake District. DIA called these meetings, set the agendas, and chaired these meetings. There were fifteen Bands in the Williams Lake Districct and these were from three separate Indian Nations- five Shuswap bands, five Chilcotin, and five Carrier.
The Shuswap bands include: The Williams Lake Band, the Alkali Lake Band, the Canim Lake Band, the Soda Creek/Deep Creek Band, and the Canoe Creek/Dog Creek Band.
The Chilcotin bands include: Anaham Band, Alexis Creek/Redstone Band, Nemiah Band, Stone Band, and the Toosey Band.
The Carrier Bands include: Anaham Lake/Ulgatcho Band, Kluskus Band, Nazko Band, Red Bluff Band, And the Alexandria/Marguarite Band.