Wrong info in last letter

Editor: I was shocked and very hurt to read the letter to the editor regarding Burns Lake Band in the Lakes District News.


Re: Correction non-status

I was shocked and very hurt to read the letter to the editor regarding Burns Lake Band in the Aug. 22, 2012 edition of the Lakes District News. I feel as passed non-status Indian woman, I am being slandered again.

It took one Cree woman to take this Indian Act discrimination to court and won the court case throughout Canada.

The government had to remove all laws of discriminatory which included the Indian Act which discrimination against Indian women. The Canadian constitution states Indian, Inuit, Metis all have rights to be reinstated back to their original bands without discrimination not band members protocol as stated. The women and children moved back with Bill C-31 funding for houses, education and medical. After decisions to move back it became an issue, “Where are those non-status going to move to on our reserve?”

Thousands of women were effected by it and I am one of them. I am 72 years old.

How and why we became non-status women by department of Indian Affairs:1. By marring second world war veterans who lost status while in war for five years fighting for freedom in Canada. The aboriginal veterans have no place to return to, they became displaced persons. 2. Trapping, fishing and hunting off reserve to their territories. 3. Finding jobs off the reserve to survive.

I married a second world war veteran, I am Wet’suwet’en and he is Wet’suwet’en, not non-First Nation as stated. I lived in Telkwa, raised six children off reserve.

It made us determined to be strong, self independent and survive. I received a letter from the department of Indian Affairs four months after the marriage along with $27 (band fund revenue) and a blue enfranchisement card which stated I am no longer an Indian, not to trespass on the reserve, to visit my family and not to hunt or fish. I did not receive $500, case of liquor as stated. You stated our culture and traditions, you’re not following protocol, to use your late father on wrong informations, to slander all former non-status women.

The Wet’suwet’en Nation start from Hagwilgate to Burns Lake as the boundary line. One dialect. It took eight daughters of Burns Lake Tom to clear land by hand in 1914. The railway tracks were going through, my grandfather had one hugh log house by the lake where he raised all eight girls and two boys. We were told all these histories. My aunt married a non-Indian man and became non-status women and descendants was referred to on this letter. They’re all Wet’suwet’en. All bands and aboriginal members should teach the genealogies to the younger generations.  Where our ancestors originate from. And we are all the descendants. Usually our ancestors are buried where they originate from. It’s very important to update the members to eliminate any discomfort to elders.

We are finally at peace with acceptance of my band and family, working together as an elder.

I feel I can not sit back and let this kind of statement to the public, it made me feel better to make a correction.

Thank you,

Hereditary Chief Gillaghan, Rita George