Friends of former Yunesit’in Chief Ivor Myers are pitching in to raise funds to help him and his family get back on their feet after they lost everything in a house fire on Oct. 12 in the Yunesit’in (Stone) community.
A fundraising gala has been organized for Williams Lake on Friday, Nov. 22 at the Longhouse, that will include a pot luck dinner, bingo, Texas hold’em tournament, loonie auction and dance. The event gets underway at 1 p.m.
Presently Ivor, his wife Stella Hunlin, and their five children, have found shelter in the old Yunesit’in health building.
Ivor, who served as Yunesit’in chief for 14 years and four years on the Yunesit’in Council, is grateful that no one in his family was hurt in the tragedy.
“It was a real close call,” Ivor says. “Stella and her mom and the kids were home. Thank goodness nobody was injured.”
The fire which started in the basement of their home, consumed more than just their personal property, and the family had no house insurance.
“A lot of valuable research materials on the ancient Tsilhqot’in culture were lost. I started recording my grandfather in 1979, and that’s all gone.”
Ivor, a natural artist, says he lost some of his paintings and other artwork.
“We lost a beautiful bear rug and a Navajo necklace.”
One thing Ivor managed to save was a container full of his carpentry tools. With the house still on fire he managed to hook onto the container with a vehicle and pull it away from the inferno.
“I’m a journeyman carpenter so at least I was able to save the tools for my livelihood,” he says.
Ivor has a long list of carpentry projects to his credit.
“I was lead carpenter when we built the school at Yunesit’in, I worked several months on the new school at Alexis Creek, and when I worked in Nemiah, several people got indentured under me.”
Joanne Moise, principal of Yunesit’in School says organizers of the fundraiser are looking for people to donate auction items for the loonie auction and even a load of logs to help the Myers/Hunlin family rebuild their home.
For more information on the fundraiser or for people wishing to donate items or help out with the gala, call Yunesit’in School at 250-394-4217 or call the Yunesit’in Band Office at 250-394-4295.