“It looks like things are coming together,” said Nathan Matthew.
The Simpcw First Nation chief was speaking about an event planned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the removal of band members from Tete Jaune Cache to Chu Chua.
The commemoration event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 13. It will begin at 10 a.m. with participants meeting at the corner of Blackman Road and Highway 5 in Valemount to walk, run, ride, cycle or drive to Tete Jaune.
Once there there will be a short ceremony to commemorate those who were forced from their homes, said Matthew.
The Secwepemc(Simpcw) people lived in the Robson Valley at what is now Tete Jaune Cache for an indeterminate length of time prior to the 1800s. The Simpcw had established a village site near important fishing grounds, extensive hunting areas and on a trading route.
In 1905 the federal reserve commissioner requested a two square mile tract of land be set aside in the area for a reservation for the 70 Simpcw people who lived there. However, in the spring of 1907 this land was sold to a settler and in August of 1916 the Simpcw were ordered by Indian Affairs to relocate to Chu Chua.
Matthew said the band has no plans to seek to have the land turned over to it. He is not sure of the land’s present status.
There will be an information booth at the event to describe the history of use and occupancy of the area by the Simpcw people.
Positive responses include some from descendants of area residents who had known members of the band before the forced removal.
“They wondered where their neighbours went,” said the chief. “They were here one day and gone the next.”
Valley residents as well as band members are invited to attend the event, Matthew said.
A number of dignitaries have been invited as well. Mayors Loranne Martin of McBride and Jeannette Townsend of Valemount have said they will be there. Those who intend to participate are asked to contact the band so they know how many to plan for.