Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Theatre for Living šxʷʔam̓ət (home) Forum Theatre – Coming Soon!


‘ilhoh uztoodelh pronunciaton

Do you love Vanderhoof’s new mural and the ‘ilhoh uztoodelh – Walking Together theme but wish you knew how to pronounce the Carrier words?

Saik’uz Elder Arlene John can help! 

Mural Unveiling

What a great event!  Thanks to the Saik’uz and Vanderhoof communities for supporting this great project.

Mural and Shelter

mural 14A new mural is about to be installed in Vanderhoof!  The Good Neighbours Committee and Saik’uz Elders group would like to invite everyone to attend the ‘unveiling’ ceremony at the corner of Hwy 16 and Kenny Dam Road on November 14, 2017, at 1:45 p.m.  Refreshments will follow at the Firehall where we will celebrate the collaborative work that has resulted in the mural and the two new transit shelters that will keep commuters coming and going from Saik’uz protected from the elements.

The corner of Hwy 16 and Kenney Dam is a location commonly used by people waiting for rides to Saik’uz.  There is no protection from the elements – sun, rain, wind, or snow – nor are there safe places to sit while waiting.  In 2016, with the announcements of the Hwy 16 bus routes, the Good Neighbours Committee (GNC) began pursuing the installation of a shelter there.  The GNC saw this as not only a shelter from the elements but as a bridge across the barrier that often divides the two communities of Saik’uz and Vanderhoof.

In her Carrier Cultural Competency workshop, instructor Sarah John speaks about the Great Nine Mile divide between Vanderhoof and Saik’uz.  She describes the feeling Saik’uz people may often have when descending the Nechako Ave hill into Vanderhoof.  Speaking of her own feelings, she and others like her may feel tense, uneasy and worried about “how will we be treated in Vanderhoof today”?  We kind of put on an emotional armour.

Speaking about bridging the gap between the two communities, Sarah shares a lesson learned from her mother who had read a book by an indigenous author named Marie Battiste.  Her mother, Colleen Erickson, described that people often visualize “bridging the gap” as a single bridge with a two-way street and a small flow of traffic, while a relationship is many bridges.  Sarah uses this lesson in her workshop and speaks to the twinning of the Simon Fraser bridge in Prince George as an analogy, as the two bridges allowed for greater flow of transportation, which can be seen as a greater flow of communication.

As projects tend to do, this one grew, into two shelters – one at the corner of Hwy 16 and Nechako Ave and one at Saik’uz Veteran’s Park, and before long, a mural was also added.

Meetings with Chief and Council and staff of Saik’uz, the District of Vanderhoof, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the RCMP were encouraging as everyone was in full support of the project.

The first shelter was installed at the Saik’uz Veteran’s Park on November 1 and the second, at the corner of Hwy 16 and Nechako Ave on November 2.

The mural became a collaborative project between the Good Neighbours Committee and the Saik’uz Elders Group, and supported by the District of Vanderhoof and the Four Rivers Coop.  From the start, the Elders vision was to create a mural that celebrated a time when settlers and Saik’uz people worked together.

Perhaps the time the Elders were envisioning is best described by former Chief Adanas Alexis in the book Vanderhoof the Town That Wouldn’t Wait. Chief Adanas Alexis (in his nineties at the time), was speaking to Sister Mary Paul about the area at the bottom of the hill on Nechako Ave (around Fourth Street to Stoney Creek where it meets the Nechako River).

“I know this place very well.  When I was a teenager, 75 years ago, I hunted, fished, played and camped all around here.  We called it Kelcucheck then.  You know why? This is where our little river – Stoney Creek – runs into the big Nechako River.  So that Kelcucheck means river-mouth.    

Shortly before I was born, the government agent, Peter O’Reilly, came and marked out limits for our village.  The idea was that we could own and live only on that reserved land set aside by the government.  We didn’t realise then what was going to happen to the rest of the land we lived in.  Back in the 1890’s none of this seemed to bother us.  When the government men left, we hunted and fished as our ancestors had – even as far south as Bednesti Lake, 30 miles from here.  There was still nobody to say “Get off our land’.  But as I grew older, things began to change.

 Probably the coming of the railway here in 1914 made the greatest change in our lives.  One end of the line started in Edmonton and the other end up in Prince Rupert.  The two lines met at Fort Fraser.  My father, Eugene Alexis, was called the Captain.  He got the contract for clearing the right-of-way for the railroad in this area.

 Even before the railway was finished many people had already come to settle in Kelcucheck.  As they marked off the boundaries of their homes, we slowly discovered that we could no long roam where we wanted.  I think some of the people were scared of us or maybe they were shy, like we were.  Others were really good friends.  We taught them how to trap.  We helped some to clear the land and even build their homes.  When they first settled, many had hard times.  We did too.”

The GNC put out a call for submissions of artwork, elements of which were included in the final mural.  Saik’uz Elder, Arlene John said, “It took a long time to come up with the design, I just loved the teamwork.  So much time was taken to think of the mural elements, to demonstrate what we felt, the meaning behind it.  I hope people will see that: the clans, the language.   We wanted to portray the values we want to see going forward – more collaboration, more partnerships between Vanderhoof people and Saik’uz people.  The bus was a partnership too.  We are taking positive steps, we’ve come a long way.”

The mural was painted by local artists, Annerose Georgeson and Michael Rees, and will be installed on the former Kwik Save building at the corner of Nechako Ave and Hwy 16.  The public is invited to the unveiling celebration on November 14, at 1:45, with a reception to follow at the Fire Hall.

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This Multicultural learning event and dinner is part of a larger Racism Awareness project funded by the Province of British Columbia and hosted by the Nechako Creative Communities Collective (NC3) and the Good Neighbours Committee. The larger project included presentations of excerpts of ‘Mirrors” – a play about how the settler community unconsciously perpetuates hurt against Indigenous peoples in our region.


Each performance was followed by a facilitated dialogue so that the audience could process the scenes they saw and we could all share together how to be better neighbours to each other, which is what we ALL want, regardless of background.


The Dinner is the culmination of 5 cooking/learning workshops where participants got to learn about each other’s cultures/ethnic origins, through the medium of food (something else we ALL want!).

Mutual understanding, curiosity and learning created an atmosphere of generosity and belonging for everyone. Come to the dinner and share in the process!

Mirrors Word Cloud

word cloud
click on image to see it full size

This word cloud was created from responses given by participants in the three Mirrors Project play workshops this month. The responses were elicited at the end of each play workshop as a closing exercise (participants were asked to say one word that described how they were feeling about what they’d experienced in the play workshop). The word cloud creates a telling visual of their responses! Thanks to all who participated.