NORTHERN SECWEPEMC CULTURAL SOCIETY
P.O. Box 553
Xat'sull / Soda Creek
Esketemc First Nation
The purposes of the Society are:
- to gather and preserve information, records and objects of educational, historical and cultural value associated with the participating Indian Bands, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing.
- to establish and maintain a museum for the purpose of preserving, recording and exhibiting such materials for the education and enjoyment of the general public and for the general benefit of the members of the participating Indian Bands.
The story so far:
From early 2004 until May 2013, the five Northern Shuswap Indian Bands from Canim Lake, Canoe Creek, Soda Creek and Williams Lake and the Esketemc First Nation, worked in close cooperation with the 100 Mile House & District Historical Society towards the goal of building a First Nations museum and cultural centre on a parcel of land owned by the Historical Society at the 108 Mile Lake. In May 2013 it became clear that it would be impossible to reach an agreement on the terms of a lease, and the five Bands—incorporated in July 2006 as the Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society—subsequently developed plans to build on an adjacent two-acre site that they had been assembling for related purposes.
A topographic survey of the new parcel was then completed, and on December 12, 2013 the Vancouver firm of McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd. submitted its report containing a schematic design and provisional construction budget. In June 2014 a detailed business plan was finalized, and in April 2016 McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd. produced a Design Development Report that was approved by the Society, and laid the foundation for the next phase of their work, namely the Construction Documentation and final cost estimate that will permit major decisions to be made about moving forward with financing and construction of the project.
Not surprisingly, the business plan forecasts an annual operating deficit for the proposed centre, and by early 2015 four of the five member Bands had already approved a request for a 5-year commitment to shoulder their shares of the deficit. The Society hopes to commence negotiations with its fifth member Band during 2017.
On October 14, 2014, a two-year effort to prepare the alternate building site culminated in the execution of a 99-year lease agreement between the Society and the Cariboo Regional District. The event was marked by a simple ceremony that attracted widespread media publicity in the region, and is described in more detail on this page.
The path ahead:
In October 2016 we submitted an application to the BC Rural Dividend Program for funding to supplement the contributions of the Society for McFarland Marceau’s Construction Documentation phase. We anticipate learning the outcome of the application by the end of March 2017 and, if successful, our architects anticipate producing their final report together with its detailed final budget by the end of the year.
While that work hopefully is carried out, the Society will revisit the matter of securing long-term commitments for its proposed Centre’s operating subsidies in hope of securing renewed commitments from all five member Bands by the end of 2017.
Approval of our funding request by all five Bands will then pave the way for the Society to approach the two senior levels of government and the private sector for the funds to carry out construction of the centre.
We remain hopeful that the Northern Development Initiative Trust which has supported our project since 2005, will provide the initial $250,000 of what is estimated to be a $3.3 million overall budget. The formal application for that grant will have to await the successful conclusion of our efforts to secure the operational subsidy commitments referred to above.
If we succeed with all our fundraising efforts, we expect to be "shovel-ready" to proceed by the end of 2018, thus making it feasible for construction to begin in early 2019 and to be completed in time to open the new facility in May 2020.
LEASE AGREEMENT - October 14, 2014
On the bright sunny morning of October 14th, a simple ceremony was conducted on the site of the proposed cultural centre and museum.
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Our opportunity to express our thanks very publicly to numerous individuals and groups that have supported our Society throughout the past almost 11 years, all of whom have helped us reach the important milestone we are celebrating today.
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View of the site, looking south along Highway 97.