Individuals in the remote communities of Tipella, Skatin, Samahquam and N’Quatqua have come together to build cabins – and reclaim their heritage and pride.
Recently completed, the cabins will have multiple purposes as they will be used for community events, celebrations and ceremonies.
“When people get a head start on their paths to finding meaningful employment and supporting themselves and their families, the whole community benefits,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “In addition to the work experience, this project has created cultural and social opportunities that will have a positive impact for years to come.”
The B.C. government is providing the Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society with $165,391 for a project that has given unemployed people work experience while building new cabins that are for use by the community as a whole.
Under the guidance of two skilled cabin makers from their community, 15 participants gained valuable experience in research, design, planning, tree falling and identification, traditional carpentry and construction.
“The impact of this project has been huge for the men involved as well as their families and the whole community,” said Fran Hopkins, project manager. “Having meaningful work that is grass roots, developed by community members and is based in the communities helps to build upon the strength and resiliency. These projects are generating interest in other First Nation communities as a way to reconnect with their culture.”
Two cabins have been completed and a third – a post-and-beam cabin – has reached lockup stage. The first two completed cabins are located in N’quatqua and mark the trail heads of the traditional hunting routes. The third, which will be fully completed through the Men’s Health program offered by the society, is located on a fishing spot on the river.
As this project comes to a close, participants are looking for ways to turn their experience into a business. They are hoping to share the cultural benefits the cabin construction project has brought them with other communities.
“I think it’s great and useful that people can get this opportunity to start something like this, it's great to work with wood and chainsaws and it has been great learning,” said Lance O'Donahey, one of the project participants from N'Quatqua.
Chad Paul, a participant from Skatin, echoed the sentiments. “I’ve really enjoyed the program and I want to continue on with the work. I’m here to learn.”
Community and Employer Partnerships provide more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need.
To date, more than 1,675 job seekers benefited from work experience, and almost 300 projects have been funded throughout the province.
- The Southern Stl’atl’imx communities work together to deliver holistic, culturally appropriate community health services.
- Local WorkBC Employment Services centres play a lead role in connecting eligible job seekers to Job Creation Partnership and Project Based Labour Market Training opportunities in their communities. Once the right match of client to project has been found, the effort of the WorkBC centre continues by providing financial supports and services to ensure success.
Learn more about the Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society: http://sshs.ca/
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction: www.gov.bc.ca/sdpr