Voice for the Voiceless: Standing up for St’át’imc cultural heritage and traditional way of life.
Junction Creek, Yalakom Valley, Xwisten (Bridge River), St’át’imc
On March 16th Voice for the Voiceless Camp set up to protect Junction Creek area
Today the camp is denying access to Aspen Planers the company who will be trying to start up their logging again in Junction Creek any day now. It is the wish of Xwisten elders, the camp, children of Xwisten among many others that there be no further logging in this area of their territory.
On March 16th 2015 there was a reoccupy camp set up in Xwisten territory at Junction Creek in the Yalakom Valley an hour and fifteen minutes outside of Lillooet. This camp was placed there under the guidance of Xwisten elders to protect an area of huge cultural significance.
Junction Creek seasonal village was once a meeting place where Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in and St’át’imc people came to trade, hunt, gather and process food. This old village and surrounding forest is in jeopardy due to irresponsible and unsustainable logging practices in the area. The disturbance and damage to this village has shocked people from the Xwisten community and surrounding area.
Currently at the Junction Cr. village Aspen Planers have put a landscaping cloth membrane over the village site. This was done so they could bury the pit houses with a foot of gravel in order to drive logging trucks over the village to access timber. This has been viewed as totally unacceptable by Xwisten people. By doing this Aspen Planers and Xwisten Band has gone against the recommendations of archaeologists and are damaging the old village. It is because of this that Xwisten people along with fellow supporters will be reoccupying this area for cultural and spiritual purposes.
The St’át’imc way of life is inseparably connected to the land. St’at’imc people use various locations throughout our territory to hunt and fish, harvest food and gather medicines. Aspen Planers’ work is damaging delicate ecosystems and animal habitat that both nature and people rely on. Disregard for the impacts of such reckless resource extraction will affect the ability of the Xwisten people to thrive.The lessons of living on the land are a large part of the inheritance passed on from St’át’imc elders to our children. It is our inherent responsibility to protect the land and all its inhabitants for generations to come. “We are Ucwalmicw people (the people of the land), the original people are coming home to thrive and protect the sacred.” says Christine Jack, she is one of the people who have been living up at the camp for more than forty days now.
This camp’s purpose is to bring healing to the land by restoration work and healing to the people by hands-on experience. Reconnecting and healing the relationships between the people and Mother Nature. This will be a place where people can come to learn about the rich culture and heritage of the people from this area. The camp is located just below the village that has been recognized as a cultural heritage site since 1990 but shown little respect by industry.
Ken Thomas 250-256-7550 firstname.lastname@example.org