Chief Fred Robbins welcomed students from Cataline Elementary School into the gym at Sxoxomic Community School as part of a twinning schools project by the Canadian Mental Health Association. Tara Sprickerhoff photo.

Robbins returns as chief of Esk’etemc First Nation

Newly re-elected chief Fred Robbins says it’s an exciting time to be in leadership of his community

It is an exciting time to be chief of Esk’etemc First Nation said Fred Robbins who won the seat in last month’s band election.

“There are some changes that have been happening within the community and the political side of things is positive,” Robbins said.

“We are starting to move in a direction of title and rights and raising up our hereditary system. With support from the community and from our Yucwmintem re Tmicsw re Esketemc group, which means looking after the land of the people of the white Earth, we will be strengthened.”

Robbins has already been working with the Yucwmintem group and is eager to see how much more can be done to pursue a better future for the next generations in Esk’etemc.

“That will be determined in the next four years,” he said of how long his term as chief is.

He has been chief before, and when Charlene Belleau was elected in 2014, Robbins went to work as a junior forestry technician with Alkali Resource Management.

“I had worked for ARM when it was just getting started and it was exciting to go back and see how far we’d come.”

In 2017, ARM employed more than 80 people. The office has grown and a number of Esk’etemc members are going to school to qualify so they can work with what Robbins said will be “an independent” forest sector in the community.

During his helm as chief Robbins underwent organizing a commemoration project to coincide with the Residential School Truth and Reconciliation Commission coming to Williams Lake during its 2013.

He applied for funding to develop two monuments aimed at helping his community, along with non-natives, address the residential school experience, promote healing and reconciliation.

The monuments were installed at the former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School site near Sugar Cane and in Boitanio Park in Williams Lake and unveiled during a St. Joseph Mission Residential School Conference held in the lakecity in May 2013, creating a legacy for residential school survivors

Robbins received the Key to the Cariboo Chilcotin from the Cariboo Regional District in recognition for his efforts with the monuments and conference.

This accolade was reinforced five years later in April 2017, when he was named as a recipient of the BC Achievement Awards for his dedication to uniting all communities of the Cariboo Chilcotin to ensure the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School and its survivors are not forgotten.

Today Robbins insists reconciliation is different than what non-First Nations might interpret it as.

“We are looking for restitution,” he said. “We are willing to work with reconciliation, but restitution is the ultimate goal.”

Robbins received 103 votes. Belleau received 68, Patricia Chelsea received 95, Phyllis Chelsea got 20 and Mercie Jane Paul got 13.

Kerry Bouchard-Chelsea was voted in as councillor with 148 votes, Francis Robbins with 97, David O. Johnson with 96 votes and Joyce Johnson with 95.

Joyce replaced Robbins’ seat as a councillor for the remaining two years of his term.

“I want to send out a big thank you to all the past leaders that blazed a trail for us to follow,” Robbins added.

Last fall the community celebrated the opening of its new school and completion of its new recovery centre, which Robbins said should be opening very soon.

A new Head Start Daycare building is under construction.

Just Posted

Tender for Williams Lake airport electrical upgrade awarded

Work should begin the middle of July and take about three months

WELCOME: Tl’etinqox Horse and Bike Riders make their way to Williams Lake Wednesday afternoon

Group will take a break at Highway 20 rest stop near Bond Lake Road at 5 p.m. then head into town

City gives trail riders reprieve on water bills

In early June the Williams Lake Trail Riders Association asked for help after dealing with water leak issues at the Stampede Grounds

Wild Cowgirls Race set to dazzle crowd at 2019 Stampede

Each race will be contested on a three-eighths-of-a-mile track at the Stampede Grounds

LETTER: Let’s hear some of the benefits of rail tie burning

“I gave the management of the henhouse to the fox, all will be well.”

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

Williams Lake RCMP wanting to locate man with outstanding warrants

The suspect is believed to be living in the Williams Lake area

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Most Read