Voices From Here was produced with a participant-centred approach in partnership with a team of Indigenous filmmakers and illustrators including Jonathan Elliott, Kaayla Whachell, Madison Thomas and Natasha Donovan. (Historica Canada image)

Tsilhqot’in chief featured in Historica Canada series Voices From Here

Russell Myers Ross calls it a life long process in trying to develop understanding of governance

Reclaiming his Tsilhqot’in identity has not been easy for Chief Russell Myers Ross who says he used to be ashamed of his origins.

Myers Ross who is now an outspoken advocate for his community of Yunesit’in (Stone) located 90 kilometres west of Williams Lake participated in a nine part series Voices From Here by Historica Canada that shares oral histories of territories and treaties, residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, languages and traditional knowledge from the perspective of Indigenous participants.

Having completed his master’s in Indigenous governance at the University of Victoria, he said he had no intention of running for chief and had only decided to put his name forward in 2012 after being relentlessly pressured by his uncle.

Today with nearly eight years of experience as Chief, Myers Ross shares in the 12 and a half minute episode of Voices from Here how stories of his past and present have shaped him and his understanding of governance, and the challenges of building a nation from scratch.

Read More: B.C. museum releases more than 16,000 historical photos of Indigenous life

“I’ve always thought about how I would try to transmit my project that I did for my master’s program on Indigenous governance through the University of Victoria,” he said.

“I thought this would be an opportunity to highlight my story, and the story I created and weave it into what governance is like for myself and the Tsilhqot’in Nation.”

Historica Canada’s Director of Programs and Education, Bronwyn Graves said they relied heavily on the guidance of their advisory circle when selecting their participants.

“We were eager to interview someone who could speak to modern Indigenous governance and Chief Myers Ross is an outspoken advocate for his community,” she said. “His voice and his experiences make him an obvious fit for this series.”

Having survived countless devastation such as smallpox, Myers Ross said only 24 people were registered when the Yunesit’in First Nation’s reserve was created.

Read More: COVID-19: Yunesit’in First Nation government postpones election until September

Today, he said it has almost 450 on-reserve members who continue to face new modern challenges such as reclaiming their identity, becoming free of the Indian Act and continuing to hold their core values.

Graves said the stories including those of Myers Ross are part of a bigger history that has often been overlooked in classrooms, and that the project was conceived on the idea that truth is necessary for reconciliation.

“Oral history and memory are educational tools that can build mutual understanding and challenge simplified or sanitized histories,” she said. “Stories are a powerful teaching tool and therefore are an important part of our shared reconciliation journey. Our goal with this project was to shed light on Indigenous histories of resilience and resurgence.”

Historica Canada is looking for members of reserves, band and other Indigenous communities to share the histories of their communities in their program The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Interested individuals can email editorial@historicacanada.ca


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ChilcotinIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Williams Lake continues to chip away at debt load

In five years the total owing has been reduced from $14.1 million to $9.3 million

City overcharged South Lakeside residents on water and sewer tax, says Judy Albin

City staff are seeking direction from city council on how to proceed at Tuesday meeting

Witnesses sought in Quesnel River Bridge hit and run

The damage to the bridge is estimated to be over $30,000

Police probe reports that fire alarm didn’t sound during fatal Prince George motel blaze

A suspect was also arrested, but later released pending further investigation

Two arrested after shots fired complaint Monday night at Tyee Lake

Saunderson said RCMP immediately responded and located the suspect vehicle leaving the area

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read