Members of K’atlodeeche First Nation (KFN) assembled at the construction site on the banks of Sandy Creek for a fire-feeding ceremony on Aug. 30 to bless the area and make it ready for the building of the community’s new wilderness lodge.
“We wanted to recognize the land and give thanks for all that it provides to us,” said Ken Norn, chief operating officer of Naegha Zhia Inc., KFN’s development arm. “And we wanted to recognize that we’re doing this with our own band members.”
More than a dozen residents are currently employed in the construction of the lodge that Norn hopes will eventually host events and gatherings for KFN members, as well as potentially be rented to other groups for conferences and meetings.
The project is funded mainly by the Building Canada program of the federal government, which contributed almost $800,000 towards the development.
“It’s really important that we get our young people working out here on projects like this,” Norn told The Hub. “It will give them a sense of ownership and engagement in this land, in this area, and help them value it.”
KFN Chief Roy Fabian led the ceremony and spoke to the assembled members about the importance of giving thanks to the land on which the lodge is to be built.
The site has historic significance to the band as a place where members would go in the summer to fish and spend time on the land, and then later as the site of a Pentecostal Church summer camp.
“We do this to show respect to our ancestors and to the land that sustains us and allows us to flourish,” said Fabian.
Norn said there would be a much larger celebration – including another fire-feeding ceremony – for the grand opening of the lodge, hopefully later this fall. For now, construction continues on the building itself and the road leading out to it.
“It’s coming along,” said Norn. “We should get the road all fixed up before too long. There are a lot of vehicles heading back and forth on it even now.”
— Sarah Ladik