Lots of singing, dancing and of course speeches highlighted the grand opening on Saturday of the Dakelh Education and Employment Society’s office at the College of New Caledonia in Quesnel.
Unfortunately, Premier John Horgan was unable to make it, as he was called away for a family emergency.
But young Adriana Alec, from the Nazko Nation, read a prepared statement on his behalf…
“The Quesnel Dakehl Education and Employment Society is a model of what can be accomplished when talented and dedicated people work together to make life better in their community. Too many people in BC are struggling and challenges are more acute in First Nations communities.”
Horgan made a commitment as Premier to take the next steps with the society.
The Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation and the Lhtako Dene Nation, the other First Nation partners in the society, were also in attendance along with representatives from the industry partners of West Fraser, Barkerville Gold and New Gold.
Karsten Henriksen, the CEO of the Society, spoke on behalf of Nazko Chief Stuart Alec as well as Lhtako Dene Chief Clifford Lebrun and Lhoosk’uz Dene Chief Liliane Squinas.
He says it was those three people that decided to take ownership of the challenges of First Nations peoples….
“To set a new path that supports the social, economic and education goals of our community members and addressing challenges and barriers. With the goal of ensuring that community members have full participation in society and the economy, with a goal of a stronger, brighter future for generations to come.”
Cariboo North Liberal MLA Coralee Oakes was also in attendance along with Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson, Former Mayor Mary Sjostrom, who is now a member of the College of New Caledonia Board, as well as Quesnel School Board Chair Gloria Jackson and Superintendent Sue-Ellen Miller.