In celebration of Heritage Week, the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin hosted a conversational speakers’ event in the museum on Saturday, Feb. 23, called Heritage Circles.
Hosted by Maureen LeBourdais of the Fraser Basin Council, five long time members of the community, Willie Crosina, Agness Jack, Earl Mellish, Cecilia DeRose and Win Gooding were invited to share their stories of life in Williams Lake and the Cariboo during the 1930s and 1940s.
The casual story-telling event was jointly sponsored by the City of Williams Lake Heritage Advisory Committee and the Cariboo Regional District’s Heritage Committee.
Rick Gilbert, a councillor with Williams Lake Indian Band, welcomed people to the event on behalf of his community, and gave a short history of his people in the region.
Joan Sorely, chair of the Central Cariboo heritage steering committee, said there are no boundaries when talking about heritage because it goes back thousands of years.
She said one of the unexpected benefits is getting property owners to save historical material and information.
Bringing First Nations into the historical discussion is a major part of growing the relationship of the whole community, Sorley said.
She added that a two-day conference is being organized by the city, CRD and School District 27 around the aboriginal history of the area, and memorial markers will be erected at the former St. Joseph Mission site and Boitanio Park to commemorate the survivors of residential school and those that didn’t survive.
“This is not an end, it’s a beginning,” Sorely said. “It will allow us to move forward together.”