Elk meat from the Kootenays is being distributed to Williams Lake Indian Band elders and community members after a councillor was invited to hunt in Akisqnuk First Nation territory.
Lennard Supernault said they were invited to the Windermere area by Akisqnuk First Nation councillor Jay Nicholas, who he met in September at a Interior Health conference in Kelowna.
The two men were talking about a tiny home project in Nicholas’s community and Supernault said he’d be interested in something similar for Sugar Cane for elders and people presently living on the streets.
“Jay invited me to come down there in January and said if I was coming for a week I might as do some elk hunting too,” Supernault said. “I’d never hunted elk before, and it was just going to be a small thing at first, but I ended up inviting three community members to join me on the hunt.”
In the week of Jan. 20 they ended up harvesting two young bull elks and brought them back to be processed in Lac La Hache.
The approximately 800 pounds of meat was made into steaks, sausages, roasts and hamburger was being distributed Friday, Feb. 21 at Sugar Cane.
“The elders come first and then after that it’s a first-come-first-served basis,” Supernault said.
WLIB Chief Willie Sellars said with the inability to fish this past summer due to the Big Bar Slide in the Fraser River the community was looking for ways to offset the loss.
“Councillor Supernault organized the trip and we sent a hunting party down on behalf of the community. This initiative is something we want to do annually.”
Supernault said it was amazing to observe an elk herd.
“Everyone knows their position, the cows they get in front of the bulls and won’t let you get close to the bulls. The cows surround the bulls in the middle and it is just the young bulls that are left on the outside trying to fight to get in the herd.”
Supernault said it feels good to be at a place in his life where he can contribute in a positive way.
“I’ve travelled a lot, I’ve competed in sports and won lots of trophies and I’ve taken a lot so now it’s time to give back. This was an opportunity for me to do that for my people.”
As for the tiny homes, a contingent from Akisqnuk is travelling to the region to give a presentation to the WLIB chief and council on Monday, Jan. 24.
“They are going to bring all the specs, costs and efficiency of their project,” Supernault said. “I feel fortunate to bring something like this to the table. I’m fairly new at this council thing — I’ve been the guy in the ditch swinging the shovel all my life as a labourer, firefighter or heavy equipment operator.”
To go to a position helping lead his people, has been a ‘huge’ learning curve, but Supernault said he is now beginning to get his feet under him.
“I’m in this position to provide opportunities for my people and community to grow in a positive way.”