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LETTER: Lhtako Dene Nation displeased over broken Quesnel deal

Indigenous government concerned over steam shovel backttracking
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The steam shovel that was to be sent back to its original home in Likely has been held in storage instead by the City of Quesnel. (Frank Peebles photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Editor;

Open letter to Mayor and Council, City of Quesnel

When we celebrated the announcement of the naming of Lhtako Dene Park and revealed the plans we’d created together for the park, the community of Likely was represented and spoke at that celebration. As those representatives noted when they spoke to the crowd, they were excited that the City of Quesnel had made a good faith offer to repatriate the Likely steam shovel to the bullion pit (historical preservation site) where it operated historically and where it rightly belongs today.

As you should be aware, repatriating artifacts and good faith partnerships are important to our Nation and the collaborative work we have underway with the City of Quesnel. So, we were very disappointed to learn that Quesnel city council has reneged on its good faith offer to Likely and has chosen not to repatriate the Likely steam shovel back to where it belongs, both historically and as a present day tourism attraction for Likely. We hope that this reversal is not indicative of how Quesnel city council will deal with other good faith agreements and partnerships it has supposedly committed the City to.

As a Nation, we believe that it does not matter how or why artifacts were removed from the communities they belonged to, it only matters that they be restored to their rightful place.

We respectfully ask that you follow through on your original commitment to Likely, it does not matter how the steam shovel ended up in Quesnel, it only matters that it ends up where it rightfully belongs. We hope Quesnel city council will prove itself to be true to their word when they make commitments to their partners.

Lhtako Dene Nation

READ MORE: Quesnel city council reneges on deal to give gold rush steam shovel back to Likely

READ MORE: The Likely story: steam shovel committee responds



Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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