• A group of Secwépemc people has voted to separate from the Neskonlith Indian Band. Switzmalph members of IR (Indian Reserve)#3 near Salmon Arm issued a press release stating they had voted to legally separate from the band, whose head office is in Chase, 70 kilometres away. A number of issues were cited, some revolving around what was described as a lack of action from the chief and council in addressing concerns.
“Of primary concern, is the lack of a pandemic plan which resulted in the death of an elder…,” the press release stated.
Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson said she had not yet seen the press release, but she thought it was important that a meeting be held and all band members understand the issues.
• More than $700,000 in grant funding would be put towards a pilot section of the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail. The rail trail team announced Thursday, July 29, that the ownership partners behind the project, the Splatsin, the Regional District of North Okanagan and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, were awarded a $459,061 in COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream funding from the governments of B.C. and Canada.
The funding will be combined with a $250,000 grant received from the B.C. Ministry of Tourism in March 2021, and used to fund the construction of a pilot section of rail trail within City of Enderby and Splatsin territory.
• Sicamous fire chief Brett Ogino said the Two Mile Road wildfire was heading exactly where he and everyone else fighting it wants it to: away from town. As of mid-day, Aug. 10, the fire was burning out of control across 1,349 hectares, according to the BC Wildfire Service.Though the fire’s behaviour had been more forgiving, Ogino said the blaze had been a challenge at fire guards. The fire was moving in the right direction due to the tireless work of fire crews and contractors, said Ogino.
• Laughter and tears were prominent features of Three Feathers’ walk from Saskatchewan and Alberta to Kamloops, a walk which included being welcomed by members of the Adams Lake Band at Pierre’s Point near Salmon Arm. Iva Geddes-McNab, 73, walked with Carlene Hotomoni, accompanied by their pilot car driver, Heather Geddes, to the Kamloops Indian Residential School in honour of the 215 children whose remains were confirmed at the grounds at the end of May this year.
• Celebrating his store’s 100th anniversary, Shuswap Clothing and Shoe Company’s Gerald Forman was used to comments about how he appeared to be aging well. “The only one I worry about is somebody coming in and saying I don’t look good for 100,” laughed Forman, who has owned the store on Alexander Street in downtown Salmon Arm since 2000, but began working with the Salmon Arm clothier two decades prior, when it was Beer’s Department Store, started by Clinton Beer. Beer’s first Salmon Arm clothing store, the Quality Store, opened across from the Montebello Hotel on Alexander Street on Aug. 21, 1921 (located in the building that is currently home to the Shuswap Pie Company and Hidden Gems Bookstore).
• Cooler temperatures and some rain slowed the White Rock Lake wildfire’s activity, but as of Wednesday, Aug. 18, it was estimated at 81,139 hectares – 3,000 hectares more than reported the day previous. Several communities, including Fintry, La Casa, Spallumcheen, some around Monte Lake and portions of the Okanagan Indian Band land, were allowed to return home as local municipalities downgraded evacuation orders.
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