Recovery Support for Tsideldel First Nation

Apr 23, 2024

Tsideldel First Nation, a community situated within Tsilhqot’in Title Lands, hosts their annual culture camp and gathering at an area called Gwetsilh (Siwash). Siwash is a traditional fishing and hunting area where families come to camp, harvest salmon, hunt, and prepare their winter food supply. It has been a traditional food gathering area during the salmon spawning run since time immemorial and is an essential part of the Tsideldel First Nation community and culture.

Every year, families either camp at this traditional fishing site or travel back and forth from Tsideldel to harvest salmon. Families living both on and off reserve choose to camp here as it is more economical to camp and prepare salmon and meat on-site.  

However, in the summer of 2023, a devastating wildfire tore through the Siwash area, and the community suffered a massive loss. Drying racks full of salmon and meat were either destroyed by flames or contaminated by the fire retardant used to extinguish the wildfire. Making matters worse, community members were unable to continue gathering food for the winter because the wildfire had destroyed camping equipment, dip nets, and dip net stands. These losses were immeasurable and would have taken years for families to accumulate.  

To help the community through this difficult time, First Nations’ Emergency Services Society (FNESS) acted as a liaison between both the provincial government and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to find financial recovery supports. Ultimately, FNESS was able to connect the Tsideldel with the Salvation Army, who provided financial support and enabled them to start rebuilding the Siwash area.  

Tsideldel is beginning to replace and rebuild what was lost. It will be a journey but one of the first steps they are taking is organizing a session on how to make dip nets so they can be used in the upcoming culture camp this summer.