We, the Tsáá ché ne dane, dream of a future where our community is healthy, strong and prosperous. As original people, we will continue to practice our Treaty rights and protect the land while using our Dane-zaa language, stories and cultural traditions to prepare our future generations for their pathways in a modern world.
In 2020, we developed a Cultural Spaces plan, which includes 20 different on- and off-reserve cultural spaces throughout our territory. Establishing quality cultural buildings and gathering spaces supports the vision for our community and is identified as a priority in our Comprehensive Community Plan. To support this vision, we continue to develop and maintain community and cultural infrastructure for our members.
The cultural spaces in our plan are vital, connected part of our larger infrastructure needs and come from a longstanding history of engagement with our members. Our plan includes development of and/or improvements to a variety of trails, gathering spaces, the cemetery and recreational areas for on-reserve lands. There are also plans to improve access, camping areas and trail development in off-reserve parcels. Additionally, there are plans our new urban-reserve area at Old Fort as well as at Tse’ K’wa (Charlie Lake cave), our jointly owned property.
On-reserve plans identify walking trails with interpretive signage as well as multi-use trails for ATVing, horseback riding and cycling. There are plans for shelters and rest areas as well as vegetation management zones to ensure we are better protected from forest fires. Last winter, we also created cross country ski trails and acquired grooming equipment for trail maintenance.
Our plans for a Tea Dance Arbour, washrooms and picnic tables are almost complete (spring 2021). We just have to finish developing this area with fire pits and lighting as well as an entre feature/gate to welcome visitors and create a sense of arrival at this special place.
Improvements to existing infrastructure spaces including the ball diamonds, our new church property and the cemetary are also identified in the plan. We anticipate adding better lighting, washrooms and a playground area at our ball diamonds.
Our church building is now complete and a playground has been installed on the property. We plan to enhance the grounds with landscaping and a toboggan hill east of the building.
We have plans to make improvements at our cemetery including a parking area, pathway system and interpretive signage including information on protocols for this sacred space.
Our cultural gathering space adjacent to the rodeo grounds is slated for improvement such as more camping spaces, meat drying racks, and picnic areas.
There are plans to expand and add improvements to the current outdoor rink area. We would like to construct a roof over the rink, convert it into a skateboard park for summer use and add a fire pit and gathering areas for both summer and winter months.
We have many special areas throughout our territory, but a few, specific ones have been identified in our Cultural Spaces Plan as priorities for improvements. These areas, along with our K’ih tsaa?dze Tribal park will benefit from improvements such as access and trails, meat drying racks, cabins and camping areas and in some cases, grave identification.
Our Cultural Spaces plan includes information about our plans to turn our jointly owned Tes’ K’wa (Charlie Lake cave) site into a cultural heritage and visitor education centre. We purchased the cave site property, which contains evidence of use by our ancestors from at least 12,500 years ago, with West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations in 2012. Our plans include construction of a visitor education centre with exhibits showcasing our history, culture and traditions. Additionally, we plan to develop the lands surrounding the cave site with camping areas and walking paths to the cave as well as interpretive signage.
Urban reserve plans
Through the Additions-to-Reserve process, our Nation acquired land in the Old Fort subdivision near Fort St. John. Our intentions are to convert some of this land into a camping and cultural tourism location. Additionally, we will develop rural residential lots for members. We have a partnership with BC Hydro to develop a Cultural Interpretive Centre on this property to showcase Dane-zaa culture, artifacts and history. The centre can also be used as a for-rent venue space for weddings, conferences and other large gatherings. More information on our urban reserve plans can be found here.