NEWS RELEASE · 31st May 2013
WET’SUWET’EN FIRST NATION CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING OF COMMUNITY HALL AND HEALTH CLINIC WITH HISTORIC TOTEM RAISING
BURNS LAKE, B.C.
Wet’suwet’en First Nation (WFN) is proud to welcome the hereditary chiefs, Elders and local community members to a totem raising and grand opening of a new community hall and health clinic at 12:00pm noon on May 31, 2013 at #14 Tom Drive, Palling, BC.
This joyous occasion marks a new beginning for the Wet’suwet’en First Nation:
“We have suffered immense grief from recent deaths in the community, including those caused by the tragic explosion on January 20, 2012,” states Chief Karen Ogen.
“We need good things to start happening for our community; the hall, health clinic and totem pole carving project are bringing much pride and excitement back to our people.”
When the WFN council began to plan the new hall and health clinic, they consulted the hereditary chiefs and Elders to determine the most fitting monument to commemorate the heritage of the Wet’suwet’en people – who are primarily Git’dim’den (bear) clan.
Elders recalled the first moments of their nation’s displacement from Burns Lake into nearby swamp land: it began with the burning of their homes, church and totem poles. A totem by Master Carver Peter George – a direct descendant of Burns Lake Tom and Christine Patsy – was requested to stand as a memorial to their ancestors’ spirits.
The WFN shares this information not to cast blame, but to ensure that the world understands the true history of the Wet’suwet’en people.
“We just want to be acknowledged as the people who the traditional territory truly belongs to. We want people to know the true history,” states Elder and Hereditary Chief Gal’uh’guhn (Rita George).
This project has received financial contributions from Northern Health Authority, Cora Wilson, Barrister & Solicitor, Ratcliff & Company, Barrister & Solicitor, Books & Company, College of New Caledonia (Burns Lake campus), and Botterell Law Corporation.
The Wet’suwet’en First Nation is still seeking financial assistance from other government and industries to help make this heartfelt, meaningful project a success.
For more information, please contact the WFN Band Office at: 250-698-7307
WFN Elders with Master Carver Peter George