BC MLAs Express Support for the Alaska Highway Corridor Nomination
Pat Pimm, MLA, Peace River North and Hon. Mike Bernier, MLA, Peace River South have expressed their support for the Alaska Highway Corridor nomination. A copy of their letter to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is available here.
Yukon MLAs Pass Motion on Alaska Highway Corridor Nomination
“I think that’s a really great thing about this particular proposed designation to commemorate the highway – to recognize it as an evolving place, what it was and what it is today, and certainly what it will become in years down the road.” – Hon. Elaine Taylor
In November 2015, the Yukon Legislative Assembly passed a motion to endorse the nomination of the Alaska Highway Corridor as a National Historic Site of Canada. The motion was brought forward by Watson Lake MLA Patti McLeod, and multiple members spoke to the importance of recognizing the full history of the Alaska Highway’s impact on people living in the corridor, including First Nations. The full excerpt is available here.
With a grant from the British Columbia ׀ Canada 150: Celebrating B.C. Communities, the Fort St. John North Peace Museum is working with historian and author Julie Harris and the Alaska Highway Community Society on a book about the history and heritage of the Alaska Highway Corridor in BC. Through texts and images, the publication will focus attention on the story of a cultural landscape that has sustained and inspired people in the Northeast for millennia. The working title is From Valley to Mountains: BC and the Alaska Highway Corridor. The book will be launched in spring 2018.
The Peace Liard Regional Arts Council formally invites you to the August 11th unveiling of Emergence, a public art sculpture created through the modification of a Caterpillar Trencher used in the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 and donated by Roger and Christina Gregoire. Emergence, which recognizes Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation, the 75th Anniversary of the Alaska Highway, and 118 years of the Treaty 8 Agreement, seeks to reflect the history of the Peace-Liard’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and to emblemize a community moving together toward a deeper understanding of both.
Under the advisement of internationally renowned Indigenous artist Brian Jungen, regional artists took part in this innovative project with support from the Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter Grant, the Government of Canada, City of Dawson Creek, Celebrating BC Communities and their Contributions to Canada Fund, The McLean Foundation, Peace River Regional District, Northern Trails Historical Society, Trans Carrier Limited and Anderson Anodizing.
The invitation is available here. Please feel free to circulate to whoever you feel may be interested. Everyone is welcome to attend.
The unveiling will be followed by a wind-up celebration at the historic Rolla Pub with entertainment by Miss Quincy and the Showdown. Hosted by the PLRAC and the Rolla Pub.
For more information on the project and on the PLRAC, visit www.peaceliardarts.org or https://facebook.com/peaceliardregionalartscouncil.
“Alaska Highway Workers: ‘They showed up to work for different reasons, but they showed up just the same'” – By Lily Gontard
Check out Lily Gontard’s new piece written for Northern Public Affairs here!
Fort St. John North Peace Museum – Museum Happenings
Over the next six months, the museum will be working on a project to organize, scan, and catalogue almost 450 negatives that Rudy Schubert took of the construction of the Alaska Highway. These negatives were recently donated by Rudy’s daughter, Karla Marsh. An exhibit about the negatives will premiere in fall 2017.
Also be sure to visit the new exhibits currently on display at the museum:
“Damn Tough Going” Historic Trails of the North Peace Exhibit: Discover the historic trails of the North Peace from the Klondike Gold Rush to the Bedaux Expedition. The newest, permanent exhibit examines the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush trails, the 1898 RNWMP Trail, the 1905 NWMP Trail, the Fort St. John – Dunvegan Trail, the Fort Nelson Trail, and the Bedaux Expedition Trails. Experience life on these trails through photographs, artefacts, maps, and travellers’ recollections.
The Spread of Aviation to the North: History of the Fort St. John Airport and Its Community: Summer student Ezra Lainsbury has developed an exhibit on aviation in Fort St. John. Come learn about the humble beginnings of our current airport and what it was like to live in the airport community. This exhibit will be on display until May 2017.
The Royal BC Museum Returns to Northeastern BC
The Royal BC Museum is continuing to increase its reach to communities across the province. From Monday, October 3 to Friday, October 7, Dr. Richard Hebda, award-winning Royal BC Museum Curator of Botany and Earth History, Dr. Scott Cooper, VP of Collections, Knowledge and Engagement and Leah Best, Head of Knowledge, will be travelling throughout BC’s Northeast, delivering a series of free community talks and visiting schools from Watson Lake to Wonowon.
The visits are all part of the Royal BC Museum’s PEACE project, through which staff connect with people in Northeastern BC to discuss the region’s exceptional “living landscape” and talk about opportunities for stewardship and working together.
A key part of the outreach project is simply to listen: asking people what they have to say about the ecosystems they inhabit and observe. In past decades, Royal BC Museum researchers have visited many ecologically rich and diverse sites in the region on expeditions to collect examples of plants and animals.
Dr. Hebda’s talks will report back to residents about some of what he and other researchers have discovered in the Peace region, and how these findings can help all British Columbians understand the Northeast’s landscapes and life.
You can learn more about Royal BC Museum’s outreach in the Northeast, including a detailed list of all the October 2016 events, at royalbcmuseum.bc/peace-project.
The Vanishing Roadhouse
Lily Gontard and Mark Kelly have written about vanishing roadhouses and lodges along the Alaska Highway for the spring issue of Geist magazine. Read it here!
Google Trekker is coming to Northeast BC!
“Travelling through many parts of British Columbia can pose a serious challenge as much of the province consists of impenetrable terrain that no car, trike, trolley or snowmobile can traverse. But now, thanks to a relationship struck between Google, Destination BC and the Northern BC Tourism Association, British Columbians and visitors alike will be able to experience some of this province’s vast wilderness online.” Read more here.
The Alaska Highway Corridor: Notes on the Indigenous Geography of a Canada at War
In an article for Northern Public Affairs, Julie Harris shares some ideas that have emerged during the Alaska Highway Corridor nomination work on the impact the military and the construction of the Alaska Highway had on First Nations in northwestern Canada. Read her article here.
13,000 year old artifacts unearthed in BC
“A rare find of prehistoric artifacts in remote backcountry B.C. has been unearthed through cooperative efforts between First Nations communities and TransCanada.” Read more about it here.
Wonderful Women of the Alaska Highway
Dalex Auto, of Ft. Nelson, BC, wants to honour the spirit of the women of the Alaska Highway, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary in 2017, by featuring 12 wonderful women in a special calendar. For more information, check out their poster here.
Canadian Military History by Bruce Forsyth
If you are interested in learning more about the many historic Canadian military sites across Canada, be sure to visit Bruce’s website (link here).
Alaska Highway Heritage Society seeks community involvement for a new Alaska Highway Corridor website project
The Alaska Highway Heritage Society is currently gathering information about highway cultural experiences, and content to create a website for travellers along the Alaska Highway. For more information see their press release included here.
Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark joins all Global Geoparks in becoming a UNESCO Site
On behalf of the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark: The Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark Society (TRGGS) is excited to share the news issued by UNESCO today announcing that all 120 existing Global Geoparks, including the TRGGS, will now officially become UNESCO sites. The announcement comes after the 195 Member States of UNESCO voted positively to create the UNESCO Global Geopark label on November 17, 2015. Prior to this vote, UNESCO worked closely with the Global Geoparks Network, supporting the initiative to promote national geological heritage initiatives. UNESCO Global Geoparks have now joined World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves as an official UNESCO program under this formalization of the relationship between UNESCO and the Global Geoparks. For Canada, this means that both the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark and the Stonehammer Geopark will now be recognized and UNESCO Global Geopark sites.
For more information, please visit the official UNESCO site.
“In Pictures: Life in Prophet River”
“Photographer Ed Gold has recently returned to Prophet River, his fourth visit since 2009, where he has been documenting the First Nation community of the Dunne-za (Beaver) people.” Read more here.
75th Anniversary Theme Song Contest
Just one month to go before the November 30th deadline of the Alaska Highway Theme Song Contest! First prize is $1,000 and there will be a People’s Choice Award as well. Visit the Peace Liard Regional Arts Council website for more information.
Word is Spreading
Alaska Highway Corridor Nomination Submitted
The Alaska Highway Community Society (AHCS) in BC and the Alaska Highway Heritage Society (AHHS) in Yukon are pleased to announce that the nomination of the Alaska Highway Corridor as a National Historic Site of Canada was submitted to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada on 15 October 2015. Our Media Release is included here.
Keep an eye out for them!
Check it out!
The MP for Prince George-Peace River, Bob Zimmer, recently recognized the efforts of the South Peace Historical Society and Mile “0” Park Society. Read more here!
Check it out!
Recently our team came across some interesting videos on YouTube we wanted to share. You can view them via the links below.
Joining Forces for the Alaska Highway
In October 2014, the Alaska Highway Community Society (AHCS) in BC and the Alaska Highway Heritage Society (AHHS) in Yukon entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the Alaska Highway Heritage Project. The MOU signifies an agreement between the two organizations to work together to raise the profile of the Alaska Highway Corridor’s history and heritage, including joint participation on the nomination of the Alaska Highway Corridor as a National Historic Site of Canada and on planning and preparation for the 75th anniversary of the construction of the highway in 2017.
Bud Powell, Chair of the AHCS, said, “This MOU is a critical milestone on our journey to raise the profile of the Alaska Highway and get communities working together in a strategic manner for the benefit of residents and visitors.” Sally Robinson, President of the AHHS, added, “Yukon and BC see great value in working together. We know that businesses, local governments and First Nations in the corridor share an interest in protecting and interpreting heritage resources along the route. Cultural tourism is good for business and good for strengthening connections between our communities.”
AHCS Lower Post Community Meeting
The Alaska Highway Community Society will be hosting a community meeting at Lower Post on the 22nd of October to discuss the Alaska Highway Heritage Project and learn about stories and places of importance to the local communities. For more information contact April Moi (Ph: 1-888-785-2544).
Allison Tubman, a Kaska Dena researcher, has recently published a book on the history of the McDonald Family, entitled: “The McDonalds: The Lives & Legends of a Kaska Dena Family”. Visit the book’s website for more information on the author and a list of retailers: www.themcdonaldsbook.com.
AHHSY Community Meetings
The Alaska Highway Heritage Society Yukon is preparing to host a series of community meetings held at various communities along the Alaska Highway to share ideas about future heritage and tourism projects. For more information, visit their website: ahhsy.wikispaces.com.
Yukon Moving Forward
The Alaska Highway Heritage Society Yukon (AHHSY) is looking forward to the coming months, having been approved for the funding of four consultants and preparing to begin travel down the Alaska Highway to visit with communities and First Nation councils to promote the Alaska Highway Heritage Project. They have launched a temporary website, a wikispace that can be used to share information and bring together those along the highway in a collective discussion. You can find it at ahhsy.wikispaces.com.
National Aboriginal Day
Through the efforts of leaders, members and staff of Treaty 8 Tribal Association, National Aboriginal Day in Fort St. John on June 21, 2014 provided an opportunity for people to share ideas and learn more about three heritage projects in the region – the Alaska Highway Heritage Project, the Tumbler Ridge Aspiring Geopark and plans for Tse’K’Wa (Charlie Lake Caves). Each of these projects is a community-driven initiative that will contribute to the region’s heritage infrastructure for the benefit of visitors and residents. April Moi organized the Alaska Highway information booth; Dr. Jon Driver from Simon Fraser University, who is the archaeologist that led investigations of the caves, spoke about the site’s cultural and scientific value; and Dr. Charles Helm spent the day talking to people about the goals of the Geopark.
The AHCS organized an Aboriginal Tourism Gathering to supplement Aboriginal Tourism BC’s one-day strategic planning session. We were honoured to have Mona Polacca, Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa Elder and a member of the International Council of Thirteen Grandmothers, chair the sessions. Approximately 36 members from North East aboriginal communities attended the gathering and the workshop to discuss the Alaska Highway Heritage Project and other tourism-related projects that could be integrated into Indigenous tourism initiatives.
Bud Powell, April Moi and Julie Harris attended the sessions and took time to visit with many community members. A clear message coming out of the workshops and informal discussions was that First Nations want the description of the Alaska Highway’s cultural landscape to recognize its thousands of years of occupation and use by many cultures up to present times. Economies have changed, but the bounty of the land continues. Following this approach, Tse’K’Wa (the Charlie Lake Caves) is likely to be included in the nomination as a site of cultural significance.
AHC Tourism Workshop
Destination BC hosted an Alaska Highway Corridor Tourism Workshop in Fort St. John on February 25th, 2014. The twenty-four participants in the workshop discussed priorities for engaging communities in the heritage project and strengthening the tourism sector. A report from the workshop will be available in early March 2014.
December 2013-January 2014
Yukon Community Heritage Meetings
The Yukon Historic Sites Unit (Cultural Services Branch, Department of Tourism & Culture) has hosted two Community Heritage Meetings during the winter in Watson Lake and Teslin, with a third meeting planned for Haines Junction, YK. The meetings were aimed at increasing public awareness of local historic resources and the Historic Sites Unit’s programs and services. They also provided important feedback on sites and resources of importance to the communities along the Alaska Highway, and ultimately the Alaska Highway Heritage Project.
HCF 40th Anniversary Conference
In October 2013, Natascha Morrison (Contentworks Inc.) presented at the Heritage Canada Foundation 40th Anniversary Conference in Ottawa, Ontario.
Watson Lake Sign Post Forest Designation
Also in October 2013, the Watson Lake Sign Post Forest received official Yukon Historic Site designation. The Watson Lake Sign Post Forest was nominated for designation by the Watson Lake Historical Society. The nomination was evaluated and recommended for designation by the Yukon Heritage Resources Board, and supported by the Department of Tourism and Culture. It is the eighth Yukon Historic Site. For more information see: http://www.gov.yk.ca/news/13-247.html#.UwebLYWgZ0c
Alaska Highway Heritage Society Yukon
We are very pleased to announce that with the help of Yukon Senator Daniel Lang, the newly organized Alaska Highway Heritage Society Yukon (AHHSY) will be joining with the BC’s AHCS on the nomination of the Alaska Highway Corridor as a National Historic Site of Canada. The commemoration will serve as a firm foundation for raising awareness of the impact of the highway’s construction on the history of all communities in Yukon and northeastern BC. It will also provide a focus for communities, heritage groups and tourism operators in Yukon, BC and Alaska to work together in showcasing and promoting cultural and historic places and experiences in the corridor.
Senator Lang spoke to CBC Radio North on August 22, 2013 explaining the need for BC-Yukon collaboration in ensuring the project’s success, and emphasized the importance of the nomination in opening up future tourism opportunities for Yukon communities. Hear the interview: www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Local+Shows/North/ID/2402315434/
In July 2013, April Moi and Bud Powell of the AHCS met with Treaty 8 Chiefs to discuss the Alaska Highway Heritage Project and enlist their support for the nomination of the Alaska Highway Corridor as a National Historic Site. Treaty 8 staff have been helping the AHCS to understand more about other cultural heritage initiatives underway, including interpretation and education programs about the Charlie Lake Caves.
Also in July 2013, the US National Register of Historic Places listed a 2.5 mile (4 km) segment of the original Alaska Highway as a national historic place. The US recognition highlights the highway’s construction as part of their World War II defence program, and the role the highway played in providing an overland connection between Alaska and the continental US. Comprised of 225 acres, the old section of highway lies to the west of the current realignment, and 37 miles southeast of Delta Junction near Tanana River.
The US National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to organize and support both private and public efforts to identify, evaluate and protect US historic and archaeological resources. Similar to the Canadian National Historic Sites program, the US National Register is honorific only and places no obligations on property owners. Listing on the National Register enables opportunities for preservation incentives. Currently there are more than 80,000 properties listed in the US National Register representing almost 1.4 million individual resources. See: www.nps.gov/history/nr/feature/places/13000543.htm
Julie Harris spoke to delegates attending the Canadian Museums Association Conference in Whitehorse, YK in May 2013. Her presentation gave representatives of various northern museums and heritage institutions an opportunity to learn more about the Alaska Highway Heritage Project. At various events during the conference and in separate meetings, Julie spoke to people in the tourism and heritage sectors about potential opportunities to link the aims of the Alaska Highway Heritage Project with the cultural and tourism goals of Yukon organizations.
Julie was also interviewed on the Yukon’s CBC radio program A New Day. Hear the interview: www.cbc.ca/anewday/episodes/2013/05/30/should-the-alaska-highway-become-a-national-historic-site/
TIA Yukon Spring Conference
In an effort to continue garnering support and determine a Yukon champion for the nomination project, April Moi participated in the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon’s Spring Conference from May 2nd to 4th.
The Alaska Highway Community Society is now looking at ways to extend the project into the Yukon. The Alaska Highway Corridor crosses the BC-Yukon boundary, and approval from all parties (landowners, local governments and First Nations) affected by the nomination is needed for it to be considered by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and its administrative body, Parks Canada. Yukon response to-date for the project has been positive, with many individuals and groups expressing their support. An organization in the Yukon is needed to champion the project in collaboration with BC’s Alaska Highway Community Society. For more information on the project’s current status, please see our May 2013 Project Information Sheet.
Community Heritage Values Workshops – Northeastern BC
In early March 2013, the Alaska Highway Community Society in partnership with the BC Heritage Branch offered three Community Heritage Values Workshops in Fort Nelson, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, BC. General themes and places of heritage interest relating to the Alaska Highway Corridor Nomination Project were also discussed. A copy of the presentation is available here.
Our report on the March 2013 Community Heritage Values Workshops is now available. A copy of the report is available here.
In October 2012, April Moi (Alaska Highway Community Society) and Julie Harris (Contentworks Inc.) presented at the Heritage Canada Foundation Conference in Montréal, Canada. Their presentation is available here.