The latest Tsilhqot’in National Government project, the T7 Cultural Ranch, was recently completed and had it’s grand opening last month.
Chief Joe Alphonse said plans for the off-the-grid ranch in the Alexis Lake area were initiated four to five years ago.
“We got things moving about three years ago. It takes a long time to get projects like that off the ground. It took a lot of work and coordination but we now have a facility to house up to 30 people.”
Alphonse said they want to utilize this ranch to enhance some of the community plans the TNG has.
“Our horse equine program, education for our schools, we want to provide on the land base training education that includes wilderness survival and cultural outdoor education, and also to be a safe house. We have aspirations to take over, manage, control, our child-family agency. When we’re in that situation if we need a safe place for kids then we have a facility that’s safe and that’s away from the community but still within the territory.”
Alphonse noted that the community is pretty happy and it gives the young people opportunities for education, for recreation, and give them a better knowledge of how to be with nature in our backyard.
“Our intent is to keep it open year round. During winter months our people relied on trapping and ice fishing so we focus on winter activities like that, then in the summer we shift. That’s the hope and intent and we’re looking to bring on a full time manager to help create a long term plan.”
Alphonse said people are welcome to come by and check it out and hopefully this coming summer it will be in full swing with enough horses out there for anyone who wants to connect with them and nature.