Category Archives: History

Be an Activist This Month!

February is Black History Month!

“African-American history is filled with the tales of inspiring individuals—many of whom overcame great odds to leave their mark on the [Civil Rights movement] … examine the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, including inventors such as George Washington Carver; activists like Malcolm X and Rosa Parks; athletes such as Willie Mays and Michael Jordan; and entertainers like Bessie Smith and Oprah Winfrey. Their names, and their stories, have become synonymous with the rich legacy that is African-American culture” (source).

Did you know?

  • The earliest Black communities were established in the Maritime Provinces; Birchtown, Nova Scotia became the largest settlement of free Africans outside Africa (source).
  • African-American surgeon Charles R. Drew is credited with the invention of the first large-scale blood bank.
  • August 1619: The first Africans as slave labour were introduced in America. A Dutch trader exchanged his cargo of 20 Africans for food in Jamestown, Virginia. It is believed that these Africans were sold into conditions similar to indentured servitude – a common practice in England and colonial America. The American slavery system became more codified in its inhumane treatment around 1680 (source).
  • 1839: Joseph Cinque lead 37 African slaves in a revolt aboard the Amistad slave ship, killing the captain and taking control of the ship. The ship was later recaptured by the U.S. The matter was tried in the Supreme Court, where it was ordered that the slaves be returned to Africa and freed (source).
  • 1849: Harriet Tubman (1820 – 1913) escaped from slavery and became one of the most celebrated and effective leaders of the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman lead hundreds of slaves to freedom before and during the war. She was never captured while rescuing slaves and, as quoted, she “never lost a passenger” (source).

Take some time to explore Black History this month… You will definitely come across some new and interesting facts! Here are some great links:

take a stand against bullying – wear pink on February 29th!

We encourage everyone to support Pink Shirt Day on February 29, 2012. It promotes a message of inclusiveness and anti-bullying. Pink Shirt Day started when two young men, David Shepherd and Travis Price, high school seniors at Central Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia in 1997 saw a young man in their school being bullied for his choice of clothing and took a stand against it. By encouraging all students to wear pink, boys and girls, they made a statement and took a stand against bullying that spoke volumes and changed the climate of a school, and that change has now rippled across the country.

Our schools have many events planned to celebrate Pink Shirt Day and highlight the zero tolerance for bullying in our community. Let us join them in showing our support for a community void of bullying!

We can through our actions and choices allow the voice of the weaker or the more isolated to be heard. To create a safe environment for everyone in community; to have a dialogue about issues rather than a debate; to seek to understand rather than assume; to listen rather than be heard. We can speak out against bullying and work towards a community that belongs to everyone. The Good Neighbours Committee works towards the goal of a welcoming and inclusive community for all and invites community members to participate in the many projects happening through the Spirit of Vanderhoof Diversity Project, Legacy Initiatives. For more information about Pink Shirt Day, go to

– Omineca Express

Next Month: Aboriginal Awareness Week

This year, Aboriginal Awareness Week will take place during the week of March 5-9. Contact Jasmine Thomas at 250-981-6492 or Sarah John at to find out details about activities and to get involved!


Saik’uz & Settlers: A Weave of Local History

Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, 2011 – Small Auditorium at NVSS

Starting with the First Nations Dakelh people and weaving in the stories of the early pioneers that came to settle the Nechako Valley, this play marches along the historical timeline. Sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sprinkled with comedy and loaded with drama, the play promises to entertain and enlighten its audiences.

Written and directed by Lisa Striegler

Doors open at 7:00 pm

Tickets $5

Everyone is invited to stay after the production for hors d’oeuvres – a smorgasbord celebrating our community’s diversity.

Available at Wallace’s Studio and the Vanderhoof Department Store with all proceeds going to Neighbourlink.

Come out and support the arts in your community!

Saik’uz Elders Share History

Saik’uz Elders went over the history timeline with writer Michelle Roberge at a focus group on Tuesday. They shared a wealth of information and made corrections and suggestions for the coffee table book about Vanderhoof and Saik’uz.

The Canadian Experience Series

“There is a hunger for and urgent need to provide readable, attractive material on Canada’s rich history to newcomers and first generation Canadians alike who rely on their own multilingual publications for much of their information. The common threads of the civic, political and social development of this country [… more]

“This nationwide project has been especially designed with Canada’s newcomers in mind, to provide them with access to information about Canada — how our country developed, how it works — published in their newspapers of choice,” says Lori Abittan, President & CEO of Multimedia Nova Corporation, Canada’s largest diversity publisher and printer.

This civic literacy project is a unique, 52-week Canadian series intended for all Canadians.

One of the essays is:

The Beginnings of Canadian Multiculturalism by J.L. Granatstein
“When I would speak at the United Nations on anything that had to do with human rights or human security,” recalled one experienced Canadian diplomat, “I (always) got a very respectful hearing.” Why? The ambassador explained: “In terms of welcoming others and integrating them into society, nobody does it better than we do [… more]

Check out the Canadian Experience Series website.

Call for Submissions – Coffee Table Book/DVD!

The Good Neighbours Committee is seeking photographs, videos and quotes by residents of Vanderhoof and Saik’uz for the Vanderhoof Diversity Project Coffee Table Book and DVD.

The purpose of the book and DVD is to present how immigration into the Nechako Valley, from the First Nation people thousands of years ago to the most recent immigrants of Vanderhoof, have each added to the greatness and richness of the area.

Your images (still and motion) and quotes may be included in this project and shared with the community and those considering Vanderhoof as their new home. In particular we are seeking:

of hunting, water sports and activities, church gatherings, fall fair, Saik’uz First Nation events and gatherings, spring and summer outdoor activities.

of churches and church gatherings, Saik’uz First Nation events and gatherings, images that represent diversity in our community, bike park, spring and summer activities, youth.

Written answers for the following questions:
How did you come
to Vanderhoof?
Why did you stay here?
What is your definition of inclusiveness
What words do you use to describe our community?

Please make sure your answers are 20 words or less per question.

Submit your photos or written answers to (please limit photo submissions to five per subject). Call Anna at 250-567-8042 if you have video clips. For more information on the overall project, please call Charlyne at 250-567-3211.

Seniors Focus Group

Michelle Roberge and Charlyne Smilinski presented a draft copy of a coffee table book about Vanderhoof to a focus group – the Seniors Group at Riverside Place.  The seniors gave valuable feedback, including lots of information about Vanderhoof, especially their personal history experience. Thank you!

Focus Group for Coffee Table Book

Members of the Good Neighbours Committee and the general public met last evening to see the first draft of a coffee table book and accompanying DVD about Vanderhoof and immigration.

This is a Spirit of Vanderhoof Diversity project.