Please refer to the front page story “Ashcroft Reserve resident wonders what moving forward looks like” in the February 1 issue of The Journal, as well as the column by editor Barbara Roden (“Breaking News (not)”) in the same issue.
Reading the paper this morning just after it came to my door, I was brought to tears as I re-lived again the fire from July 6–7, 2017, the evacuation, and coming home 11 days later. At least I had a home to come back to (I live in Cache Creek).
When the fire was raging through, the media were here (CBC and Global were most prominent). They took lots of video, talked to some people, and reported mainly on the ranchers who had lost fences and some outbuildings and who were blaming the firefighters for doing their job and making decisions on what to protect and what could wait (the firefighters are my heroes).
There was coverage of Boston Flats and a little on the Ashcroft Reserve. The media was always quick to put the camera in the face of someone who was breaking down, and who just needed a hug and some quiet time instead. I gave up watching the news because I broke down in tears every time the same picture of the same area was shown. There were never any constructive pictures or updates to give any of us evacuees information on what was happening at home.
We now have Angie Thorne trying to keep her family and her people together. She has had some help from Samaritan’s Purse and from ESS (Emergency Social Services), but nothing from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada or the band itself. I have not spoken to Angie; I have only read her story, more than once, and it moved me because I care.
I am not rich and cannot go build new houses or provide financial assistance, but maybe I can start by pushing someone who can help or knows where to get answers for Angie on why there is nothing happening to re-build their community. Even if some communication was started to inform everyone left homeless by the fire about just what steps are being made to bring them closer to a home to go home to.
There have been enough tears of sorrow and frustration. We need tears of joy, video on the news of people walking through their own front door again. We need people who care.
Someone in Cache Creek who cares
The Journal’s February 1 issue coverage concerning the acute problems that Ashcroft band members are experiencing should be a concern for us all.
People without homes, some of them seniors, six months after the disastrous fire last summer need answers. Assurances that they will have a home to go back to. Angie Thorne expressed the frustration and anxiety of many, I’m sure.
Pressure must be brought to bear on our MP, Mr. Sidhu, who visited the reserve six months ago and spoke to the Chief. This is not just a band problem. The continuous cost to maintain Ashcroft band members in other facilities such as rented houses, hotels, and motels, plus the added costs that go with this, must concern the Canadian taxpayer as well.
The Nlaka’pamux people of the immediate area have lost their homes, their furnishings, their domestic and treasured family items. Donations to the Band have been generous, but the need to restore some sense of belonging to a community in the way of actual dwellings is an imperative need. Fire and other equipment must also be purchased. The cost will be in the many millions of dollars.
In the meantime, communication at a time like this is crucial. I hope our federal government will be prevailed upon to fill the urgent requirements of the native community here.
The Alzheimer Society of B.C. thanks the people of Ashcroft and Cache Creek for their encouraging response to January’s annual Alzheimer Awareness Month and to our new social awareness campaign, “I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.”
Our campaign aims to spark conversations and encourage residents to see dementia differently. Stigma significantly affects the well-being of local people living with dementia. In order to build a dementia-friendly society, we need to move away from fear and denial of the disease, towards awareness and understanding.
This is a very pressing health issue for our aging population. Families across British Columbia are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Today, more than half-a-million Canadians have dementia, and that number is expected to nearly double in the next 15 years.
Though Awareness Month is now over, you can still visit ilivewithdementia.ca and find tips on how to be more dementia friendly, as well as resources to take action against stigma and be better informed about a disease that has the potential to affect every single one of us. You can also use the hashtag #ilivewithdementia to help spread the word.
We would like to thank our local staff and volunteers for their work. We also appreciate The Journal’s coverage of dementia issues. The stories help foster a better understanding of the impact this disease has on local families.
The Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s ultimate vision is a world without dementia; that vision begins with a world where people living with the disease are welcomed, acknowledged, and included. Working in communities throughout the province, we support, educate, and advocate for people with dementia, as well as enabling research into the disease. We are part of a national federation, a leading authority on the disease in Canada.
If your family lives with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, please contact our regional Alzheimer Resource Centre at 1-800-886-6946 or email@example.com for information on support groups and the many other services we offer to assist you. You can also call the First Link Dementia Hotline at 1-800-936-6033 and visit www.alzheimerbc.org.
Support and Education Coordinator
Alzheimer Society of B.C.,
Central Interior region
CORRECTIONS: In last week’s “The Rundown: Clinton News”, it was reported that the utility bills for the Village of Clinton cover water, sewer, and garbage. They cover water and sewer only.
It was also reported, in “Youth create new mural at HUB”, that the mural forms part of River Winwood’s application to Emily Carr University of Art and Design. It is Hannah Franes who is using the mural as part of her application.
The Journal regrets these errors.