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  • 9 Jun 2024 9:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It's June and that means it's time for the Great Canadian Giving Challenge once again!

    The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is a national public contest to benefit Canadian charities. Every $1 donated to a registered charity in June via CanadaHelps, automatically enters the charity to win an additional $20,000 donation.

    The $20,000 grand prize draw will take place on Canada Day July 1st where one lucky charity will win!

    Through the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, we are raising money for the BCHF Centennial Legacy Fund, which supports community historians who are uncovering the diverse cultural, social, genealogical, and geological history of BC.

    Donate now

    The BCHF thanks all donors for their continued support. 

  • 7 Jun 2024 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This presentation was delivered by Dr. Si:yémia Albert "Sonny" McHalsie and Dr. Keith Thor Carlson at the BC Historical Federation Conference on May 4, 2024 at the Gathering Place at the University of the Fraser Valley's Chilliwack Campus.

    Si:yémiya is the Cultural Advisor / Sxweyxwiyam (Historian) at the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre, Stó:lō Nation, in Chilliwack, B.C. He is also an instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley, and has taught in the past for the University of Victoria for the Ethnohistory Field School. Si:yémiya is an active researcher and publisher, having authored and co-authored various articles and books over the past twenty-five years. The guiding principle behind his research is the ancient Stó:lō tradition of “being of good mind.” His areas of expertise include Stó:lō place names, sxwōxwiyám (ancient narratives) and sqwélqwel (family histories), fishing, and oral history.

    Professor Keith Thor Carlson holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous and Community-Engaged History at the University of the Fraser Valley, where he has additionally been appointed Director of the Peace and Reconciliation Centre. Keith has been partnering with Coast Salish communities, especially the Stó:lō, to help document and interpret history and cultural traditions since 1992. His research is designed and executed collaboratively with Indigenous communities to meet community-identified priorities.

    Si:yémiya takes you to places within S'ólh Téméxw, sharing Hal'qeméylem place names, and telling some of the sxwōxwiyám (ancient stories) and sqwélqwel (personal and family histories) that give shape to Stó:lō culture, history and people.

    Dr. Carlson explains how place-naming is an integral component of the settler colonial process, and suggests ways in how we can take action to move towards decolonizing, re-Indigenizing, and re-naming places that are known to have original Indigenous names.

    Si:yémiya provided examples of place names that guided Indigenous communities while travelling that reflected their knowledge of sites with bountiful food resources; that commemorated historical events and occurrences; and that documented stories of origin and transformation.

    Carlson spoke to the process by which colonialists asserted a degree of control by naming spaces and associating new memories that reflected settler heritages. He suggests empowering Indigenous communities to create policies and processes that lead to re-naming on Indigenous terms.

    Filming and editing by Elwin Xie, BC Historical Federation.

  • 7 Jun 2024 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    View of upper ranch and river bench, Wallachin. (Image D-08188 courtesy Royal BC Museum and Archives)

    Since 2016, an annual event called Walhaschindig has drawn people to Wallhachin, a community built in the 1910s between Cache Creek and Kamloops that was supposed to be an orchard's paradise. The museum in the community's historic Soldiers Memorial Hall will be open five days a week through the end of September.

    Read more in the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal.
  • 7 Jun 2024 10:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nearly 100 objects, many likely thousands of years old, have been returned to the Snuneymuxw First Nation by the Royal BC Museum, including carved stone bowls, spindle whorls, and food processing utensils. 

    Read more in the Victoria News.

  • 7 Jun 2024 10:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Conversations continue about the creation of a museum in BC to celebrate Canadians of South Asian heritage. What is described as a “crucial consultation session” will be held June 13 in Surrey.

    Read more in the Surrey Now-Leader.

  • 7 Jun 2024 9:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    (Google Street View)

    Parksville council has voted to look into moving an historic E&N Railway watertower to Victoria. The tower escaped demolition in 2020, but a group that wanted to restore and relocate it to a spot nearby has faced challenges.

    Read more in the Parksville Qualicum Beach News.

  • 7 Jun 2024 9:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Revelstoke city council has approved a new heritage management plan to “safeguard the valued features of Revelstoke and its natural and cultural heritage.”

    “The Heritage Advisory Commission is grateful and thankful to Denise Cook, planning staff, the city’s Indigenous liaison Dale Tomma, and the community for their great work on this important document for the present and future," said senior planner Erica Hartling on behalf of commission chair Laurie Lafontaine. 

    "The heritage management plan will be an undeniable asset and an important tool for Revelstoke to preserve its heritage and even more.”

    According to a news release, the plan represents a commitment by the city, and the wider Revelstoke community, to increase efforts to sustain all aspects of Revelstoke’s heritage as a fundamental part of the city’s future. The plan:

    • Provides direction on how events, places, and people in history are acknowledged, and promotes specific narratives that are foundational to the cultural functioning and identity of a people.

    • Lays the foundation to adequately involve a more accurate representation of all the voices that make up Revelstoke, in discussions of heritage and policies that lay the groundwork for heritage management.

    • Serves to ensure that there is this commitment, energy and effort to safeguard the valued features of Revelstoke, both its natural and cultural heritage, while promoting current best practices in heritage conservation in alignment with community values (identified in the OCP). The plan, a living document funded in part by the Columbia Basin Trust and Heritage BC, is composed of five parts:

    1. Community Foundations: An introduction to the Heritage Management Plan and how it can be used as an effective tool for conservation. It outlines a vision for heritage in the city and includes a thematic framework and historical chronology to provide a contextual understanding in support of heritage policy development.

    2. People, Culture and City: Identification of the natural and cultural forces that have shaped the community. It summarizes community heritage values and significant places.

    3. A Fresh Start: From Vision to Actions: The goals for Revelstoke’s heritage program with outlines of policies and actions for the conservation of heritage in the city.

    4. Using the Right Tools: Potential ways for the city to actively support heritage conservation, including identifying processes and policies for revitalizing Revelstoke’s downtown with an analysis of the Revelstoke Station heritage conservation area.

    5. Appendices: Supporting documents for the guidance and direction found in the previous four parts of the heritage management plan.

    The plan in its entirety can be found here.

  • 5 Jun 2024 2:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    An excerpt from the summer edition of British Columbia History magazine.

    A giant anvil was a collaboration between artist Maskull Lasserre and George Third & Son, a steel fabrication company that originated as a blacksmith shop in 1910. The photo features the 2018 Canadian Farrier’s Team: (left to right) Adam Degenstie, Matt Findler, Justin Fountain, and Ian Ritchie. Photo: Courtesy Rob Third

    1 Heavy Metal
    Where do you find a home for a massive anvil home for a massive anvil that weighs in at 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms)? The oversized sculpture was created by Squamish-based artist Maskull Lasserre for the Vancouver Biennale 2018–2019 and forged at George Third & Son, in Burnaby. It was an arresting, curious sight when exhibited at False Creek; two violin f-holes that allow ambient sound to reverberate inside the anvil added a touch of whimsy.

    The anvil has now been acquired by the BC Farm Museum, in Fort Langley. Director Syd Pickerell thinks the museum is a perfect home for it. “Almost every farm in Western Canada had an anvil. In the beginning when the West was young, every small village had a blacksmith, and in the days before welders, the blacksmith used the forge and the anvil to meld iron together for new equipment and repairs. Soon farmers got their own forges and anvils for use in all sorts of ways.”

    The BC Farm Museum wants to make some noise with it too and is applying to have the “World’s Largest Sculptured Anvil” recognized by Guinness World Records. The museum hopes this draws new visitors to its collection of 6,000 farming artifacts. You can’t miss it—the anvil is right beside the front entrance.

    Part of the new design plans for the Lytton Chinese History Museum by Cedric Yu of Altforma Architects. Courtesy Lytton Chinese History Museum

    2 Rise Again: Lytton Chinese History Museum
    It’s been three gruelling years for the people of Lytton who are trying to rebuild lives and their community. They’re still recovering from the trauma of a 2021 firestorm that consumed most of the village and claimed two lives. As of spring 2024, about 20 permits were approved for new homes and businesses, including the Lytton Chinese History Museum.

    The museum was wiped out, along with a rare collection of artifacts that told the story of Chinese sacrifice and contributions to life in the Interior: the miners, railway workers, merchants, and farmers. Museum owner Lorna Fandrich is hoping that reconstruction of her fire-safe facility will be finished by late summer, and efforts continue to locate new artifacts.

    “We are picking up a lion dance costume, ceremonial drum, and a trunk donated by a family in Vancouver. With the new cantilevered ceiling the lion costume will be a wonderful addition. With over 500 donated artifacts since the fire, the Chinese story will continue to be told.”

    The museum may be the first commercial building to reopen since the fire, and Lorna hopes that “it will act as a beacon of hope to all Lytton residents.”

    It could be at least two more years before the Lytton Museum and Archives is rebuilt. Richard Forrest, a champion of the museum, died suddenly in late 2023. Artifacts that he had begun collecting are now being stored by the Village of Lytton.

    The Hope Station House on its relocation journey orchestrated by Nickel Brothers. Photo: Courtesy Barry Stewart

    3 On the Move
    Taiko drummers pounded out encouragement as the 1916 Hope Station House was moved to its new location at 919 Water Street at the mouth of the Fraser Canyon.

    Slated for demolition by the municipality, this last surviving example of a Class 2 Canadian Northern Railway station (later absorbed by Canadian National Railway) was successfully saved by a grassroots campaign. Now owned by the Tashme Historical Society, the 2,567 square foot station will be restored and transformed into a museum, visitor centre, and restaurant.

    Some 8,000 Japanese Canadians crossed its platform during forced removal to internment camps. Of those, 2,644 men, women, and children were sent to Tashme internment camp in the nearby Sunshine Valley.

    Ryan Ellan, president of the society, says there is still much work ahead: “We will continue to work alongside our talented heritage architect, Barry McGinn, finalizing the engineering aspects of the project and creating an opportunity for public fundraising. Countless private citizens and organizations have stepped forward to contribute in their own special ways to help make the Hope Station rehabilitation project a success.”

    The project is expected to cost another $1.8 million. More information about the Sunshine Valley Tashme Museum can be found on their website:

    The maya’xala video is available for viewing on Youtube.
    Image: Courtesy Nanwakolas Council

    4 Maya’xala: Respect
    A visually stunning video produced by the Na̲nwak̲olas Council serves as both a welcome to tourists and a call to tread carefully near important archaeological sites. Once these sites are lost or damaged, they’re gone forever.

    Focused on northern Vancouver Island and the southern Central Coast region, the video urges visitors to treat the territory with the same respect—maya’xala—they have for their own backyards. Chief Councillor of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation Christopher Roberts says showing maya’xala, or respect, deepens connections and the experience of visiting their ancestral territories.

    Indigenous people have lived on this landscape for up to 14,000 years (possibly longer), and visitors can encounter ancient village sites, clam gardens, rock shelters, and petroglyphs, fish weirs, burial grounds, hunting sites, stone tools, and middens. Visitors are asked to be careful carrying kayaks across clam garden beds or shell beaches; to refrain from cutting trees, building toilets on grave sites, or sharing photos of burial sites on social media. Remnants of industrial logging have also scarred and damaged old village sites.

    Produced in association with the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP), the lessons in this video apply to traditional territories everywhere in British Columbia. Watch the nine-minute video on the Na̲nwak̲olas Council’s YouTube page:

    SV Dorothy in 1897 in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Photo: Courtesy UBC Archives – Uno Langman Collection

    5 Still Sailing
    The 30-foot sloop Dorothy is considered the oldest BC-built and registered yacht that still sails. Crafted for W.H. Langley, a clerk at the BC legislature, the sloop was launched in Victoria’s Inner Harbour in 1897 and proceeded to win countless races. Former owner Angus Matthews once said that she “moved like a rocket.”

    Fans regard Dorothy as a living memory of BC maritime history. The graceful, sleek vessel has experienced fires and neglect and at one time, was abandoned under a bridge; in 1995 she was donated to the Maritime Museum of BC.

    Riddled with dry rot, Dorothy was in serious need of restoration and sat on dry land for 20 years. Over the last decade the yacht has been lovingly restored in the shop of Gabriola Island shipwright Tony Grove, with finishing touches by Ladysmith Maritime Society volunteers. At the time of writing, Dorothy is back in Ladysmith Harbour and has won a restoration award from Classic Boat Magazine for Restored Sailing Vessel of the Year (under 40 feet), presented at the Royal Thames Yacht Club. The Maritime Museum of BC hopes to eventually find dock space back in the home waters of Victoria. •

    Mark Forsythe travels through BC and back in time, exploring the unique work of British Columbia Historical Federation members.

  • 5 Jun 2024 11:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The summer edition of British Columbia History, now on its way to your mailbox, looks at how Indo-Fijians have challenged and changed BC society. The guest editor is new BCHF board member Rizwaan S. Abaas. The story line-up includes:

    • Indo-Fijians: Our long journey Home, by Rizwaan S. Abaas

    • Decolonizing the Culture: Reclaiming May 14, by Rizwaan S. Abaas

    • Violence and Profit: Canada's debts to the Girmitiyas of Fiji, by Donica Belisle

    • Our Path to Healing, by Angelene Prakash

    • Daal Reprise, by Sharin F. Ali

    • Classic Curries Indo-Fijian Style, by Rubina Coker

    Plus interviews with Cassius Khan, Kamila Singh, Rochelle Prasad, and Bobby Naicker; and contributions from regular columnists Spencer Legebokoff, Mark Forsythe, Snueymuxw Titumels William A. White, and Dalys Barney.

    To subscribe, click this link.

  • 5 Jun 2024 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Global maritime and naval historian Barry Gough speaks with British Columbia History magazine editor Aimee Greenaway about his most recent book The Curious Passage of Richard Blanshard: First Governor of Vancouver Island. Barry provides insight into his research methods into the province's early colonial history, provides tips for approaching and writing histories, and delves into the subject matter of his book. The Curious Passage of Richard Blanshard received an honourable mention from this year's BC Historical Federation Historical Writing Awards.

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The Secretariat of the BCHF is located on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish speaking Peoples. 

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