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Powwow arbour under construction at Lhtako Dené Nation

Work on a longhouse is also underway
Logs are being hand-peeled by members of the Lhtako Dené Nation for a powwow arbour which is hoped to be completed this summer. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Logs continue to be hand peeled inside the Lhtako Dené Nation for what will be a powwow arbour.

The Indigenous community next to Quesnel has lacked an arbour for over a decade since the previous one was taken down.

A short walk through the muddy spring ground earlier this week provided a full view of members busily hand-peeling the logs for the yet-to-be-built circular structure. The arbour, located behind the Lhtako Dené Hall, is hoped to be completed by the end of July.

The logs used in the construction were donated by West Fraser Timber.

Nearby was the foundation of a longhouse which is on track to be finished at around the same time.

“There’s excitement in the air and quite a bit of pride,” said band manager Ron Rasmussen.

“We’ve got a lot of good things.”

READ MORE: Lhtako Dené Nation chief and council reclaim their seats in spring election

The nation is also expected to break ground this spring for a community health centre.

Rasmussen said the powwow arbour will be very similar to the one in the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN). The structure was entirely built by WLFN members and has the capacity to seat over 1,000 people.

It will feature carvings including a bear with a salmon in its belly, the symbol of the Lhtako Dené Nation, and the clans of the First Nation which Rasmussen said include the bear, frog, beaver and eagle.

“It was the imaginations of our people to do the carvings and set it up for our people,” Rasmussen said.

“It’s trying to recognize the families that we have within the nation.”

Another project anticipated to undergo construction soon is a lighted multi-use pathway that will safely connect the community’s main amenities.

(Note: This article has been updated after incorrectly identifying the new arbour as a first for the community.)

READ MORE: Feds, province announce $5.7M for 9 infrastructure projects in northern B.C.

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