Rallying for a safer community will be the focus of an event taking place on the Alexis Creek First Nation west of Williams Lake on Wednesday, July 17.
“We are planning to walk from the top of the reserve down along all the main drags on the reserve,” said one of the rally organizers Martina William. “We are making a stand for a healthier and safer community to live in.”
The rally will begin at 10:30 a.m. and the plan is to carry signs, which children in the community have been helping create.
Also known as Tsi Del Del, the Alexis Creek First Nation is located 110 kilometres west of Williams Lake on Highway 20.
William, 37, has lived at Alexis Creek First Nation her entire life and said 300 community members live on reserve and another 300 live off reserve.
She cannot remember a similar rally ever taking place and said the intent is to put a positive focus on helping build a safer community.
In the summer of 2012, a safety committee was established in the community.
Drug and alcohol referral worker Darlene Baptiste chairs the safety committee.
She returned to live in the community five years ago, she said.
“The chief and council selected members for the committee and because I am part of the health team staff I was delegated to be the chair,” Baptiste said.
Eight people are on the committee, including the band manager, a chief and council representative, elders from the community, school principal and the RCMP.
Since its inception, the committee has tackled issues brought forth from the community around speeding, impaired driving, quad riding on the reserve, break-ins and vandalism. Members have also started developing some bylaws.
“We’re identifying some bylaws, creating drafts to go through with the band staff, and deciding what needs to be amended,” Baptiste said. “Once the drafts are approved, we will pass them on to chief and council for ratification.”
Safety committee liaison Const. Krista Mangan of the Alexis Creek RCMP Detachment said the rally is also a way to “take back the community” and promote a healthier and safer community.
“They want to make people aware the committee exists, that they’re working on bylaws and different mechanisms within the band to deal with problem issues outside of the criminal justice system,” Mangan said, adding the committee is “working in leaps and bounds” to identify problems and come up with solutions on their own.
Organizers also hope other people in the community will decide they want to join the safety committee, or at least use the committee to make complaints, Mangan added.