A plan to conserve a National Historic Site in Hay River got a boost last week, thanks to an investment of up to $22,000 by the Government of Canada.
The funding, which was announced on June 15 by Jim Prentice, the Minister of the Environment and the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, will be used to guide on-going conservation efforts at the Hay River Missions Site on the Hay River Reserve.
The site, the location of a historic meeting between Aboriginal people and European Canadians, includes St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Ste. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, the remnants of a rectory and cemeteries containing spirit houses. An Oblate Mission and a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post were established in Hay River in 1868. The post closed a decade later. In 1890 a small group of Slavey people led by Chief Chiatlo settled in the location. An Anglican mission was established three years later by Thomas Jabez March. March and A.J. Vale, his successor, completed St. Peter’s Church, which grew to include a school, in 1909. The investment is being made through the Parks Canada’s National Historic Sites Cost-Sharing Program. The total cost of the project is estimated at $44,000.
“The preservation of this important historic site will enable the people of the K’atlodeeche First Nation to share this part of their history with other Canadians,” Prentice said in a release. “This is a key step in creating a vibrant historic site that will also be a significant boost to the tourism sector that is an important engine of economic growth in small Northern communities.”
KFN Chief Roy Fabian said the site represents a significant time in the history of Canada.
“At the time the site was built, local First Nations and European Canadians were just getting to know each other in the North, and the Hay River Mission illustrates how that relationship developed over the years,” he said. “We look forward to being able to share this story with visitors to our community.”
The cost-sharing program, which was created as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, has a budget of $20 million.