Canim Lake Band loses Elder due to COVID-19

Community is devastated, Chief Helen Henderson says.

A dream catcher was created at Canim Lake Band over the holidays by Victoria Frank, Colby Henderson and Mattias Godau. (Janice Franks photo - submitted).

The Tsq’escen’emc (Canim Lake Band) is grieving the death of one of its Elders due to COVID-19.

Chief Helen Henderson said the community is devastated by the loss and is surrounding the family with love and support.

“A loss of one Secwepemc is a profound loss to all Secwepemc,” she said in an email. “Our beloved Elder fought hard to the end. This is our first loss due to COVID-19 and this has hit our community pretty hard. She was our Elder, our language speaker, our knowledge keeper. We are deeply saddened by her passing but her loving words bring us comfort.”

Henderson said the Elder was “a true matriarch, protecting all of us right to the end.” She left them with the words: “Be safe, behave, don’t mess around…this is serious and bad.”

”Our Elder wanted everyone to know that ‘this is a terrible disease and appealed to everyone to stay home,’” Henderson said. “COVID-19 has proven that it has no boundaries, it has not discriminated, and it has no social preference. It has taken one of our own, please take this deadly disease seriously, we do not want to lose another.”

Henderson said the Tsq’escen’emc are grateful for the love and support.

The death comes as the band continues to put health precautions in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the community. As of Tuesday, there were 59 positive cases in the community, located about 40 kilometres east of 100 Mile House, which has been in lockdown since Jan 8.

One person remains in hospital, while four others were released from both the hospital and community cohort centre in Williams Lake. The Moderna vaccine was rolled out to members on Jan. 14.

“We are still in lockdown and our priority is to keep everyone home and safe. This will give the vaccine two weeks’ time to take effect,” Henderson said in an email to Black Press Media Tuesday. “This means meeting people’s needs at home so they don’t leave their homes. From food security, addictions, medical needs…we are doing quite well. More and more people will be coming out of isolation so we will have more hands on deck in our response.”

About 350 vaccinations were provided to all members and non-members over 18 years old in the community. Henderson said the band advocated for the vaccine, as 75 percent of the community’s population is in isolation and it “was critical for us to advocate for vaccinations to stop this outbreak.”

The Canim Lake Band (CLB) is now developing a contact list for resource information and will reach out to the community as necessary, to coordinate pick-up and drop-off points for supplies.

The CLB noted its core group of community workers are stretched to maximum capacity, but the transmissibility of the virus “greatly complicates bringing any volunteers or workers into the community.”

The band remains in close contact with the District of 100 Mile House and Cariboo Regional District to ensure a coordinated and effective response to the evolving situation in the area.

100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall said the district, along with the Cariboo Regional District, the local MLA and Interior Health have all been in close contact with Canim officials from the beginning of the outbreak. Staff, for instance, procured concrete barriers from Dawson Road Maintenance to help with traffic control.

“It’s things like this where we can best assist,” Campsall said. “We’re definitely 100 percent behind them. We’re pretty happy with the way they shut everything down and our heart goes out to Canim.”

Demian Pettman, communications officers with the CLB’s Emergency Operations Centre, said while the numbers of positive cases are still going up, it’s now at a slower rate of increase.

“It’s been nice to see the kind of support that has been coming from the community,” she said.

Henderson offered thanks to the District of 100 Mile, Cariboo Regional District, Canim Lake General Store, Canim Lake Resort, School District 27, RCMP, 100 Mile Free Press and “all other good neighbours for the outpouring of offers to support our community.

“Knowing that our friends and neighbours are with us ‘in thought’ helps in many unspoken ways,” she said. “Thank you.”

100 Mile HouseCariboo Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

The proposed renovations at the Quesnel Rec Centre. (CRD Drawing)
CRD approves Quesnel pool referendum date

Voters will be asked to approve borrowing $20 million to upgrade Quesnel Rec Centre

CNC’s Applied Research and Innovation had partnered with the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cariboo Agricultural Research Alliance and Mackin Creek Farm after receiving funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to research a number of solutions potentially extending northern growing seasons. (Photo submitted)
Ways to extend growing season in B.C.’s north explored by College of New Caledonia in Quesnel

Low-cost supplemental LED lighting appears to benefit plant growth

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read