Boo Maga November 2021

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Boo Maga


November 2021



Traditional Territory & Access






Chris Wycotte discusses

the process of

recognising territory

Traditional Territory & Access


Remembering WLFN Veterans

Charlie Gilbert recalls

his family members who

served in the Army

Truth & Reconciliation Day

Highlights from our 1st

Annual National Truth

and Reconciliation Day

Staff Member Highlight

Check in with

Caitlin Sellars our

Administrative Assistant

for Social Development

Council Meeting Highlights


Take a look at what

your Council have been

discussing over the past


Welcome to

the Boo Maga

(puméke7), which

translates to

“drum stick”.

Got an idea or story for

future editions?

Contact us:


250-296-3507 ext.185

General Inquiries:


250-296-3507 ext.103


Williams Lake First



Chief’s Message


Whilst I am sitting here writing this

report the weather is gorgeous

outside. We have Fall colours with

a bright shining sun and my heart

is full. During these challenging

times in our community, I would

recommend that we take time for

ourselves. Taking time for yourself

is very important to finding the

balance in our lives and it could

be something as little as going for

a walk, getting out on the land,

and taking in the beauty of the

territory we live in.

Chief and Council had our annual

strategy session last week in

Osoyoos, BC. The discussions

were great and included the

really caught our attention was

the details they’ve included that

holds up their culture and their

people. In our new building

this is something we’re striving

to incorporate, and we’ll really

start to see those features in

the coming weeks, months, and

years at the new administration

building. It was inspiring to see

their building and Council took

note while getting the tour.

This summer was a special one

for our community because we

had the opportunity to fish again. I

hadn’t personally fished our rivers

since 2018 so this was a very

special day for me and the family.

My daughter Milah, sister Shae

vision of our specific claim and

overall goal of self government.

We will be starting our community

information meetings regarding

the specific claim in January

with a referendum scheduled

to take place in March that will

ratify the offer from the Federal

Government. I am looking forward

to those meetings so stay tuned

for the announcements. The

three days we were in Osoyoos,

we also had the opportunity to

get a tour of the Osoyoos Indian

Band administration building

with Chief Clarence Louie. It is

a gorgeous building, but what

Chief Willie Sellars

and girlfriend Lasha caught their first

sockeye salmon, my son was ripping

them out, and my Mom, Denise Tait,

fished for the first time in over 13

years. Driving through the community

this summer it made me extremely

happy seeing the dry sheds going,

gutting stations and smokers – it was

great medicine. Getting out onto the

land and exercising our rights in the

traditional territory are all very key to

our balance as First Nations people.

We also must be thankful for that

opportunity to fish. There were a

number of communities on the Fraser

that didn’t get to fish this summer so

let’s keep that in mind when we’re

harvesting that precious sockeye and

chinook in our rivers.

There is so many things happening

in the community and I could fill an

entire monthly Boo Maga. Please, if

you have any questions, concerns or

are curious with something that I have

failed to mention, feel free to email

me, willie.sellars@wlfn.ca or phone

me, 250-302-1883.


Me7 Wiksten,

Willie Sellars




his 1808 journals, Simon Fraser

and Sea, Helen Akrigg provides

Secwepemc and neighbouring

Traditional Territory

provides supporting evidence

that territorial boundaries were

further evidence that expresses

the recognition and respect for

nations, for the most part, was

friendly and all preferred to live

recognized and respected. Laws

traditional boundaries. Akrigg

in peace and harmony. Laws

and Access

and protocols were developed

and strongly adhered to by

Nations and their neighbors. For


…the Indians were proving friendly

and helpful. This day when they

and protocols were developed

to ensure that nations could

continue to live side by side in a

example, a Secwepemc Chief

entered the Atnah (Secwepemc)

peaceful way. These relationships

guiding Simon Fraser through

country, an old chief agreed to

were solidified by respect and

Secwepemc territory refused to

accompany them as their guide….

recognition of each other’s laws

enter the neighbouring Nation’s

On June 14th there was the first

and jurisdiction. However, the

territory once they reached their

sign of trouble with the Indians.

strength in the relationships

boundary. Simon Fraser writes:

They were now in the territory of

between Nations were established

This being the last village of the

the Lillooets and these angrily told

through protocols, kinship,

Atnah nation (Secwepemc) the

Fraser’s guide, the old Atnah chief,

intermarriages, alliances, peace

Old Chief did not follow us any

that the men he was leading were

treaties, and trade.

further. Having experienced in

not white men but enemies …On

Nonetheless, when one nation

Chris Wycotte, Treaty Manager

him kind attention and much

service I presented him with a

June 15th their faithful guide, the

old chief, left them, having seen

disrespected or violated another

nation’s laws and protocols,

gun, amms. [ammunition], and

them safely into Lillooet territory.

ill feelings arose which could

some other necessary articles;

They continued their way, feeling

eventually lead to tribal wars.

Any process intended to

recognize traditional territory and

aboriginal rights will raise multiple

questions about who has rights

and who has access. These are

not modern-day issue but are

issues that have existed since

time immemorial. While not new,

this has become a serious matter

that needs to be resolved in a

modern way.

Prior to contact, Secwepemc

territory was occupied and

controlled by the Secwepemc

as a distinct people. They were

divided into a separate nation,

independent from others, and

had their own institutions and

laws to govern themselves.

The Secwepemc looked upon

their territories as exclusive to

their Nation with their rightful

jurisdiction over their people,

lands, water, and resources

within their territorial boundaries.

Historical evidence supports

this view and clearly shows that

Indigenous Nations recognized

and respected each other’s

territorial boundaries. This view

was held in 1910 when the

Secwepemc Nation chiefs all

signed a memorial to Sir Wilfrid

Laurier. What was written in

1910 is still the views held by the

Secwepemc Leaders of today. The

words of the 1910 Secwepemc

Chiefs are as follows:

“They found the people of

each tribe supreme in their

own territory, and having

tribal boundaries known and

recognized by all. The country of

each tribe was just the country of

each tribe was just the same as a

very large farm or ranch belonging

to all the people of the tribe from

which they gathered their food

and clothing etc. fish which they

got in plenty for food, grass and

vegetation on which their horses

grazed and the game lived,

and much of which furnished

materials for manufactures,

etc.,…..Thus firewood, water, food,

clothing, and all necessaries of life

were obtained in abundance from

the lands of each tribe and all the

people had equal rights to access

to everything they required”.

These views are further supported

by other historical evidence. In

and to his brother I gave a Poniard

(Lamb: pp. 125-6).

Further, the following day, the

Secwepemc knew that Fraser

would be leaving their territory.

They expressed their regret and

asked Fraser to return to their

country as soon as he could. He


This morning after repairing

the canoes we took our leave

of the Indians at 6. The Atnahs

(Secwepemc) are good people.

They expressed their regret at

our departure and begged that

we would return to their country

as soon as possible to reside

among them as traders. This I in a

manner promised (Lamb: p.126).

In the British Columbia Chronicles

1778 – 1846: Adventures by Land

curiously vulnerable and insecure

without him as their conductor.

Three days later they met their

first Thompson Indians and were

fortunate to find another friend

in the Thompson chief, who went

ahead to prepare a welcome for

them (p.128).

The relationship between the

For example, according to James

Teit, in 1785, a group from the

Sekannai nation encroached on

Secwepemc territory and when

they showed no sign of leaving the

Secwepemc formed a war-party

and drove them out. Teit writes:

A band of Sekannai took

possession of a salmon fishery at



the headwaters of the Fraser River

about 1785. They held the place for

several years until they were driven

out by a large war-party of Shuswap

who killed a great many of them (Teit


Secwepemc oral history highlights

how those Intertribal wars were the

result of disrespect and violations

of laws, protocols, and invasion of

territory. The Fraser Division’s oral

history tells many stories of warfare,

and demonstrates that the wars were

the result of other nations invading

Secwepemc territory or causing harm

to the Secwepemc. The Secwepemc

would go to any length to avenge the

harms caused including traveling for

days and great distances, Teit writes:

It was in the middle of winter, and

the Cree had a long start: therefore,

the Shuswap knew they would have

to follow many days, and travel very

far, before they could overtake them.

Accordingly, they carried several light

packs of dried salmon for food. The

Cree were travelling very fast, and the

Shuswap did not seem to gain on them

much. The food they had taken with

them soon gave out, and now they had

to live on what game they happened

to get, and on the beaver-meat which

their enemies left behind them. The

Shuswap persevered, however, as the

pace of the Cree slackened, owing to

their having to hunt beaver for food,

and to their sense of security as they

neared their own country. They were

evidently successful in their beaverhunting,

and carried little or nothing

with them, for at each of their camps

they left a great deal of beavermeat

behind. This helped their

pursuers, as it gave them almost

sufficient supply for their wants

and made it unnecessary for

them to spend time searching for

food. They were now in the Rocky

Mountains, near the Cree country,

when at last the Shuswap caught

up with them.

The Cree had 70 warriors in their

party, and all but 3 Cree warriors

were killed.

Discontent over violation of laws

and protocols continued into

modern times. For example,

in a letter on March 30, 1916,

written by the Provincial Game

Warden, W.H. Hadley, the Warden

explains that he has encountered

Secwepemc hunters in the

Empire Valley and Groundhog

Mountains west of the Fraser

River. The Secwepemc were not

happy with the Chilcotin coming

into Secwepemc territory to hunt.

W. H. Hadley writes:

I went to the Empire Valley on

the 28th and I found two or three

outfits there which I already had

looked over. They did not have

much meat there. So I went back

to Gang Ranch and left there

the 29th for the Ground Hog

Mountains through Williams

Meadows. It was a very hard trip

up the mountains but I got there

and located Indians from Dog

Creek which I already looked at.

They were getting good hunting

then but no does at that time.

There are quite a few Indians

coming down and they all know

that a Warden is around here.

…I have stopped and looked

at about 20 batches of Indians

from the Chilcotins and Stoneys,

Dog Creek Shuswaps, and Canoe

Creeks & Alkali Lake Indians. And

this is there[sic] hunting grounds

in the fall and spring and the

Indians down in these districts

do not like the Chilcotins coming

down here at all. They come after

me to stop them. Of course, I tell

them I cannot do that (Provincial

Game Warden: 1916).

James Teit provides similar

evidence in his Jesup North Pacific

Expedition, Teit writes:

South of the Chilcotin River, the

Chilcotin continue to encroach

on the territory of the Shuswap,

although they do not claim to own

it, and now often hunt insight of

the Fraser River. The Shuswap

harbor considerable ill-feelings

against these Chilcotin Hunting

parties, who are looked upon as

poachers who, after destroying

most of the game in their own

country, now seek to ruin the

Shuswap hunting-grounds as well

(p. 462) ….

It is very likely that they envied

the Shuswap their possession of

the Fraser River, for they began

to occupy it as soon as it was

safe to do so, after the extinction

of the Shuswap inhabitants of

that region and the introduction

of white man’s laws, which

recognized no tribal boundaries,

and precluded the possibility of

war and retaliation, p.467.

Since the arrival of the Europeans,

their policy of not recognizing

tribal boundaries or jurisdiction

and the imposition of white laws

meant that the Secwepemc

or any other Nation could no

longer retaliate to protect their

territories. There has since been,

and continues to be, long policy of

the Crown exploiting the colonially

imposed divisions amongst First

Nations, in particular boundary

issues generally referred to as

shared territories or overlaps.

This includes how the Crown

uses territorial boundary issues

to delay or avoid establishing

proper relations; justify avoiding

obligations to consult and

accommodate or complete

agreements and understandings;

and to support outcomes with

First Nations that may infringe on

the rights of others.

Shared territories and overlaps

are false narratives created by

self-interest to justify the denial

of Aboriginal Title and Rights of

First Nations. Aboriginal Title, as

confirmed by the Supreme Court

of Canada in decisions such as

Delgamuukw and Tsilhqot’in

Nation, extends to large areas,

carries with it jurisdictional

authorities and the necessity to

meet the standard of consent,

and includes the Titleholder

having the full beneficial interests

in their lands and resources.

Moving forward, First Nations

need to consider going back

to their old ways of resolving

ongoing disputes between

Nations, including those related

to traditional boundaries. To

accomplish this, First Nations

must recognize and respect the

laws and jurisdiction over territory

once held by each Nation. They

need to re-establish pre-contact

protocols and relationships that

allowed us to live side by side in

relative harmony for generations.

It is also essential that the Crown is

not excused for the role it played

in creating boundary disputes.

The Crown is morally, if not legally,

obligated to do their part in finding

an acceptable solution to these


In conclusion, I believe the evidence

provided in the historical records

strongly supports the Secwepemc

views that their territory is

exclusive to the Secwepemc with

laws and jurisdictional authorities

to manage its people, lands,

water, and resources within their

territorial boundaries. Secwepemc

sovereignty over their territory

was unilaterally severed by the

imposition of foreign laws and

jurisdictions. This is an issue

that is a serious impediment to

reconciliation. In modern times,

we must find a way to resolve the

issue for the good of Indigenous

Nations. I believe the best way to

accomplish this is to re-establish

and hold up Secwepemc laws and

rebuild the relationships we once

had with our neighbours.



him around the reserve and in

the outlying areas in the Cariboo.

We would go out together and

camp whilst we hunted our game,

whether it be summer, winter or


“We talked a lot about different

things, but he never really spoke

much about what he did over in

Europe. Uncle Charles was no

different – the only thing he told

me was that he was a sniper.”

We are looking forward to

celebrating our veterans again this

memorial day with a ceremony by

the cenotaph.

Charlie Gilbert stood outside the new Administration Building

Remembering WLFN


“Charles went to England Christopher from Soda Creek was

around 1944,” said Charlie, “I also a veteran. He volunteered in

was just a little boy when he both World War 1 and also went

As November makes its left.”

over and served again in World

appearance, we like to take this

time to remember our veterans,

especially those from Williams

Lake First Nation.

Charlie Gilbert was born in Sugar

Cane in 1938. He knew a great deal

of native veterans from various

reserves around the Cariboo,

such as Soda Creek, Alkali, Dog

Creek, Canoe Creek and Canim


Charlie had two uncles who were

veterans, Charles Gilbert and

George Gilbert.

“There was quite a few from

Sugar Cane that went over to

Europe. One of them didn’t

come back.”

Charlie describes watching the

army convoys that would travel

from Alaska go past Sugar

Cane as a young boy.

“I remember watching them for

hours and seeing the clouds of

dust rising up as they passed.

All the soldiers would wave at


Charlie’s father-in-law, Peter

War 2.

“My auntie Jane also married a

veteran, I called him Uncle Jim


Charlie remembers the time spent

with his Uncle, George Gilbert,

who traveled all the way to Berlin

whilst in the armed forces.

“I was going to school at the

Mission when he came home,”

says Charlie.

“Uncle George was a great hunter

and an excellent shot. I was able

to spend a lot of time hunting with

George Gilbert with his wife, Agatha

8 BOO MAGA - NOVEMBER 2021 Thank you to Rick Gilbert for the use of these pictures.


National Truth and

Reconciliation Day

Williams Lake First Nation hosted

a celebration for the first ever

National Truth and Reconciliation

Day on September 29th. The

vehicle procession, which began

at St. Joseph’s Mission School

could be seen weaving it’s way

through the valley, out through

Sugar Cane, before finally crossing

the highway and heading up to

the arbor.

The arbor was a sea of orange,

with hundreds of people turning

out to show their support and

honor victims of residential

schools. Cultural Coordinator,

David Archie brushed off those

who wanted it with sage whilst

others sat and listened to Chief

Willie Sellars address the crowd.

“Residential School is not

something I had to live through

myself, but it was only a

generation ago that we did,” he

said. “We could feel the emotion,

hurt and trauma and to see the

great turnout today, it just fills

your heart and it continues to fill

your heart the more that we come

into nekw7usem and to unity and

we stand together side-by-side.”

The opening prayer was led

by elder Jean William in both

Secwépemc and English.

The drumming circle, performing

the Honour Song commenced at

2:15pm, as did multiple others

across Canada. This initiative was

led by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir

who encouraged the world to

drum for the children.




Staff Birthdays

and Anniversaries


Caitlin Sellars

Q: What is your role at WLFN & what are your

job duties?

A: I am the Administrative Assistant, for the

Social Development Department. I answer

phones, run errands, file, and am in charge of

making sure that our Social Assistance Clients

get their benefits each month. I also sit in on

some meetings and take minutes when I can.

Q: What does a regular work day look like for


A: Everyday is usually different for me. Sometimes

I will be at my desk all day working on paperwork

or answering the phones, others, I will be out

in the community. Our Department consists

of Recreation, Elders and Health, so anytime I

can help out with them I will, and sometimes if

I’m lucky I get to do some of the fun things, like

during the summer I went medicine picking with


Q: What is the best part of your job?

A: The best part about my job is that I’m much

more involved in my community than I have ever

been. I see many people a day and I find some

of the work I do to be extra rewarding as it helps

them with their day to day life.

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your

A: The most challenging aspect of my job would

probably be the pandemic situation. I love interacting

with people and it has been a tough year.

Q: Do you have any stories from your time working


A: Bewteen bingos, field trips, and Halloween events

with the kids, I have many stories! I think if I were

to choose one it would have to be the Drive-thru

Carnival that we held in the summer. It’s always fun

watching the Chief get dunked!

Q: If you didn’t work here, what career do you think

you’d be in?

A: I’ve always loved to help people and be involved,

so honestly I would probably be in something similar.

Q: What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

A: Earl Grey Tea!

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

A: It depends on what time of the year it is. In

summer you can find me at McLeese lake cooling

off and in the winter time, I go snowboarding on the


Q: If you could be any fictional character, who would

it be?

A: I’ve loved Sailor moon ever since I was a child, so

that would definatly be my first choice.

Q: Do you have a message for the community?

John Walker

2nd Anniversary

Aaron Mannella

2nd Anniversary

Maggie Berns

7th Anniversary

Norma Sure

7th Anniversary


A: Love yourself and who you are!

Judy Alphonse

Cassie Westergaard

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!


Council Meeting Highlights


The October 6th WLFN Open House was a huge success. The

presentations by all the departments were fantastic.

The turnout for Orange Shirt Day impressed the council.

At the entrance to Scout Island, a Secwepemc

culture information sign will be installed.

Council toured the WLFN Admin building, Sugar Cane Community, Unity

Cannabis, and Sugar Cane Cannabis with the Staff from Northern Development

Initiative Trust.

A premiere for WLFN Members at Paradise Theatre for a showing

of “Portraits from a Fire” was approved by Council and the event

was a huge sucess.

Clear Sky Consulting completed a WLFN Hazard Risk Vulnerability Assessment that Council has

approved, and WLFN will move forward with a WLFN Emergency Plan.

The Williams Lake government building at 640 Borland St. is installing

Secwepemc signage. There will be a ceremony once it is completed.

Council Members participated in a 2-day WLFN

Council strategy session in Osoyoos.

St. Joseph Mission

Investigation Updates

GeoScan has been working on

site, in some of the hayfield areas

to gather more data related to

GPR and magnetometry. Crews

from Borland Creek Logging have

been hard at work removing the

long grass from any areas they

are working on, before it becomes

too wet to work.

WLFN is working to finalise a date

to deliver the preliminary results

of the geophysical work. That

date is still being discussed as the

GeoScan team continue to assess

the SJM site but, we are hoping to

foreshore of Yellow Lake, as

shown in the picture above.

The Terrestrial LiDAR processing

be implementing regular healing

and support groups as we realise

not everyone prefers one-on-one

be able to provide a tentative date is now complete. Terrestrial sessions.

by the beginning of November.

The current study area for SJM has

been expanded from the original

proposal, which was initially 460

hectares. This area includes large

LiDAR is a scan which creates a

3D image of building structures.

This will enable the WLFN team to

create 3D models of the SJM site,

with accompanying photos.

We are also introducing a trauma

training workshop for Community,

Chief, Council and staff members

at WLFN. The sessions will be

conducted with Patricia Vickers,

portions of the valley however, as On a more personal note, and centre around mental health.

the survivor interviews progress,

it has become apparent that we

also need to focus our search on

areas outside of that boundary.

The study area has now been

Williams Lake First Nation is still

heavily focused on improving

health and wellness supports

for community members, amidst

the SJM investigation. In addition

Dave Archie will also be helping to

organise more cultural wellness

activities, related to connection

with the land, with culture and with

one another, such as a hunting

extended to encompass the to our weekly clinicians, we will camp or medicine picking.





Council Meeting

Memorial Day

Council Meeting

Council Meeting

Stay up to date on all of our events by following our

Facebook page: Williams Lake First Nation


Photo by: Patrick Randolla

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