The Gitxsan: Betrayal of a Nation

Feb
12

The Gitxsan: Betrayal of a Nation
by Arthur Topham
January 27, 2004

 

“We know that justice and generosity can flourish only in an atmosphere of trust. For if individuals and minorities do not feel protected against the possibility of the tyranny of the majority, if French-speaking Canadians or native peoples or new Canadians do not feel they will be treated with justice, it is useless to ask them to open their hearts and minds to their fellow Canadians.”

– Pierre Trudeau, April 17, 1982

The irony contained in the Globe & Mail’s January 27, 04 front page story “Throne Speech has native focus” sure was not lost on the 50 Hereditary Chiefs of the Gitxsan Nation and their 5000 band members living in the north-western region of central British Columbia.

Just weeks ago, on the 14th of January, this same group of frustrated, disillusioned, yet determined people, filed a lengthy and controversial Complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) and the federal Minister of Justice, Mr. Irwin Cotler citing a shocking list of grievances against an array of highly prominent B.C. judges, lawyers, law firms, politicians and corporations all linked to a host of crimes ranging from misconduct to deceit, bribery, corruption, obstruction of justice and complicity, the sum of which has devastated and endangered the 33,000 square kilometre area of their traditional lands.

First and foremost of the complaints is the conduct of B.C.’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald J. Brenner while presiding over the “restructuring” proceedings related to a large forest products company in Prince Rupert, B.C.; one in which the provincial government held controlling interest and declining revenues. That initial example, shown in great detail within the lengthy submission, exemplified at the onset the serious nature of the many other accusations of fault contained within the document, illustrating once again the seemingly endless challenges which have plagued the treaty process in B.C. for decades.

Readers may recall that it was this same First Nation that captured headlines across the country during the latter part of the Mulroney era when what the Claimants describe as “arguably the most important case in Canadian jurisprudence” the Gitxsan Wet’suwet’en land claims trial, known as Delgamuukw, finally concluded with judgment on March 8, 1991, after 374 protracted court days stretching over a three year period.

According to Ron Jackson and Robert Jackson, the two signatories of the Complaint representing the 50 Hereditary Gitxsan Chiefs and their people, the original Delgamuukw trial was a staggeringly complex and insidious deception that saw figures from all levels of government, the judiciary, industry and the media conspiring to foist upon the general public, and specifically the Gitxsan people themselves, a horrendous “legal” hoax which would allow the B.C. government to further augment its power over the traditional territories of the Gitxsan Wet’suwet’en for the benefit of all vested interests except the indigenous inhabitants of the region themselves.

The list of characters in this epic drama of alleged deceit and corruption is so inclusive that it leaves no stone unturned insofar as the various levels of government and the judiciary are concerned. In fact the list of adversaries aligned against this beleaguered Nation has, in the eyes of the 50 Hereditary Chiefs, virtually eliminated any possibility that the Gitxsan Complainants might receive justice in their home province.

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Cottonwood Country Music -- Saturday Night Live!

Dec
17
 

Saturday night is country music night at the

Cottonwood Community Hall in Cottonwood, B.C

One of the better known secrets of the Cariboo is the fact that every Saturday night out in the little community of Cottonwood on the Barkerville highway the locals from around the area and Quesnel get together in the little log hall and play country music and dance the night away

This video here will give viewers an idea of the type of music being played. Enjoy. 

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Welcome to Victorian Christmas in Barkerville

Dec
16

Barkerville Victorian Christmas 2014

 

 

In a secular age permeated by political correctness and enforced cultural pluralism where expressions of "Happy Holidays" perennially strive to overtake Christian tradition it's gratifying indeed to know that in BC's Cariboo region the Spirit of Christmas still lives on!

 

Beginning on Saturday the 13th of December, 2014 and running through to Monday the 15th Barkerville once again hosted their annual Victorian Christmas festivities and judging from the first day the event was enthusiastically attended and bound to be a success.

 

It was our first experience in traveling up to the old gold mining town of Barkerville to partake of Victorian Christmas and the day was blessed by perfect weather with bright blue sunshiny skies and the temperature just around freezing, conditions well suited for an old-fashioned sleigh ride around the town.

 

My wife and I had heard about the event in the local media and on Facebook where mention was made that the Hanson Family Singers out of Oregon were going to be performing at the Methodist Church in Barkerville where they would be sharing their "Treasures of Christmas" by singing traditional Christmas carols. It was something that both of us were interested in hearing and so we set out Saturday morning excited to spend a wintery day in BC's historic mining town.

 

The reception centre at Barkerville had been set up with displays for visitors showing many authentic historic Christmas images that the past had produced to celebrate this annual religious holy day as well as promotional displays to help out the Friends of Barkerville, a group of non-governmental local citizens who act in an advocacy capacity to enhance the experience of one of B.C.'s oldest and world famous historic sites.

 

 

 

 

A number of miniature displays were on hand some set up before the backdrop of the town painted by the Cariboo's famous Gold Rush artist Jason Curtis.

 

 

Even the old gold miners from day of yore were given the Santa Claus treatment to brighten up their suspended animation with coloured lights and flowing white beards.

 

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Happy Hallowe'en Quesnel! Images: Images around town

Oct
31

 

Reid Street in downtown Quesnel was a virtual photographers dream come true this October 31st. Parents came from everywhere with their children and older kids and adults thronged the streets wearing their Halloween finest. The mood was festive and the shops and their staff were also enjoying the special occasion and handing out treats to all the little ghosties and ghoulies and comic book heroes. Enjoy!

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Quesnel Municipal Elections 2014: All Candidates Forum at Royal Canadian Legion October 28 by Arthur Topham

Oct
30

By

Arthur Topham

Editor & Publisher, QuesnelCaribooSentinel.com

 

QUESNEL, B.C.:- The 2014 Quesnel Municipal Elections got off to a great start this year with the first All Candidates Public Forum held at the Royal Canadian Legion on Tuesday evening, October 28th.

By 7 p.m. the hall was full to capacity and commencing with a few brief introductory remarks from Quesnel District Chamber of Commerce President Graham Armstrong the business of moderating the evening's performance was turned over to Simon Turner of the Quesnel Rotary Club.

Simon, as per usual at Legion events, called upon the audience to rise up on their feet and then initiated a few moments of silent meditation and prayer followed by a rousing chorus of "Oh Canada". Then he proceeded to enlighten the audience on the organizational format that was to be followed throughout the evening.

Keeping with recent precedents set over the past few years the public attending the forum were told that if they had questions for the candidates that they would have to submit them via writing. The questions would then be picked out of whatever candidate's box they were placed in and hopefully they would get an answer to their query.

Just how truly fair such a process is remains controversial as it basically nullifies a longstanding tradition in Western democracies wherein citizens who've taken the time to attend a forum find themselves no longer able to exercise their freedom to walk up to an open microphone and direct their concerns to whomever of the candidates that they wish to get a reply from. It also, unfortunately, opens the door for potentially partisan decisions on the part of those choosing the questions thus creating the possibility of adversely affecting the resulting dialogue.

Simon then explained to the audience how the little Christmas lights – green, yellow and red – (inserted into a small black wooden box and set up on a table in front of the long row of hopeful candidates) would light up and be used to signal the speakers so they didn't go over their allotted 3 minute time period for either presenting their views and platform or their reply to whatever question that might be asked of them. If, for whatever reason, they were to get too immersed in their  own oratory and failed to follow the sequence of coloured prompters then the person holding the stop watch would ring a warning bell and cut short any further excess of verbiage on the part of the would-be politician.

The audience, having understood how the game was to be played, were thus prepared and Simon called upon the two mayoral candidates to come up and present their opening remarks. The order of speaking was to be alphabetical and so Bob Simpson, the new challenger for the position of Mayor of Quesnel, was the first person up to the podium.

Simpson  gave a dynamic, positive and forward-looking speech to the audience outlining his reasons for why he felt he would be the best person to lead a council and the city over the next four year civic mandate. Bringing a love of the area and a wealth of ideas gained over his previous years of experience as Cariboo North's MLA, first as a Cabinet Minister for the NDP government and then as a sitting Independent, Simpson was able to confidently announce to the listening audience clearly reasoned perspectives and proactively viable solutions to the current issues relating to Quesnel's infrastructure and governance as well as outlining some of the more serious pending challenges facing the city due to the provinces changing economic landscape.

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Time for Quesnel to Honour its Heritage

Jul
21

The Cariboo was blessed to have it's own homegrown artist Mr. Barrie Jason Curtis who devoted many years of his life to embellishing the region with countless artistic treasures  that have given the area its unique sense of historic perspective. But all of Mr. Curtis's work has not been preseverved and cared for as it ought to have been.

The mural shown in the above photo was painted by Jason Curtis back in 1984 when the city of Quesnel had embarked on a mural project designed to highlight the Cariboo Gold Rush theme that the city is known for.

Mr. Curtis painted a number of large murals that were located in various locations both in West Quesnel as well as in the downtown area of Quesnel proper.

For whatever reason the city never followed through on the upkeep of these murals many of which were beautifully done and conveyed a realistic historic sense of the area with scenes from the early days.

Thirty years later only three of Curtis's murals are still hanging on buildings in town. One is on the old Sparting Printing and Advertising building in West Quesnel just off the Moffat Bridge on the right. It showns a scene of one of the old sternwheelers that used to travel from Soda Creek up to Quesnel during the gold rush period. It is in need of referbishing.

The one in the worst condition (see above) adorns the north wall of the Bank of Nova Scotia on the corner of Reid Street across from Willis-Harper Home Hardware store and is becoming more of an eye-sore than a source of pride for the city. 

This close up of the lower right hand corner of the mural is a good example of the type of disrespect that the city is showing for the mural and it begs the question as to why such neglect has been allowed to carry on for so long. Is it the responsibility of the Bank of Nova Scotia to look after the maintenance of the mural? If it is then why hasn't the city approached the bank and asked them to look into having the mural repainted?

Surely the Bank of Nova Scotia has the funds to fix this deplorable situation. If for nothing else other than making their own business look good. As it now stands it certainly isn't adding to anyone's appreciation of either the mural or the banks exterior look.

Jason Curtis's artwork has been the mainstay of Cariboo Gold Rush theme from the start. His famous and well-loved childrens coloring book called The Cariboo Goldrush Coloring Book plus his many paintings and signs and even Quesnel's logo itself including the gigantic sign at the junction of Hwy. 97 and the Barkerville Hwy all have added that very special flavour to local area. 

 

On top of all of those initiatives Jason Curtis's artwork and ideas are what gave the whole Billy Barker Days theme its lifeblood.

All of this legacy has been poorly handled by the city of Quesnel and the city's attitude is best reflected in the fact that it let all of the mural project go to wrack and ruin with the odd exception here and there.

Not something to be proud of given that Mr. Curtis was a local resident born in Barkerville back in 1933 and a man who gave his heart and soul to helping make the Cariboo a place of beauty.

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The Dustry Trunk is now open for business

Jun
28

The Dusty Trunk, a truly unique shop filled with an incredible array of antiques, collectibles and one of a kind crafts, located one kilometre east of the famed Cottonwood House Historic Site on the equally famed Barkerville Highway (Hwy #26) is now open for business.

This is a gift shop that you don't want to miss on your way up to Wells, Barkerville and the Bowron Lake chain.Owner, Sheila Phinney, has arranged her store with something to capture the eye of any passerby as will be evident from the photos below. 

The Phinneys also operate the Rooster Ridge Camping site for travellers who wish to camp overnight and explore in and around the local area. There are some sites with hook ups, some with hydro all in a quiet setting. Spend the weekend and enjoy the Saturday night jam sessions held every weekend at the Cottonwood Community Hall. This is a once in a lifetime experience for those who love to dance and listen to real old-style country music performed by local musicians from around the Cariboo.

Here are some of the fabulous items that visitors will find hidden away in the Dusty Trunk. Do drop in and check it out!

 

 

 

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The Dusty Trunk now open in Cottonwood, B.C.

Dec
26

Note Please: The Dusty Trunk will be closed until mid-May, 2013 during the winter months. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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