To the Editor,
Saturday, Sept. 7, I went down to the Bridge River fishing rocks with my husband to his fish camp he shares with his family.
When arriving at the beginning of the trail, the monitor on duty stopped me by yelling down from the upper trail, “Do you have status?” I replied “What? No I do not but my husband does and we’ve been coming out here for 30 years…We’re going into his camp.” He replied, “Shamas are not allowed down here; if you’re not status, you need to leave.”
My first response was shock, then disgust and then anger. Of course I gave him a piece of my mind and went back to the truck and waited for my husband, niece and her daughter to return from the camp.
I have lived in Lillooet since I was 16 years old. I have been married to my husband who is a status native for 32 years…we have two daughters who also have their status - and have spent numerous days down on the rocks learning how to fish the traditional way. I have numerous native family and friends. I have never been more insulted in my life.
My husband has paid the Bridge River Band his fee to fish there every year. He has been helpful to others down there, by sometimes even fishing for people that are having trouble and always keeps his area clean and takes his garbage out and garbage that has been left behind by band members.
“Native Pride” – I sometimes wonder what that really means? Why doesn’t the monitor ever pick up garbage down there?
When questioned since about when this rule applies, he yells down to us, “It’s new.” So my question is “New? As in right now…spontaneous?”
Because literally one week ago my husband and sister-in-law witnessed the same monitor allowing a group of people from Vancouver, who were unknown to anyone there, to fish the river.
When asked why, he replied, “Well, there’s no one else fishing right now and there’s lots of fish.” He didn’t question their status?
Maybe the Bridge River Band should have a booth set up at the trail entrance and be consistent by telling Everyone the “new rules.”
I also feel the need to mention while sitting in my truck waiting for my husband, my sister-in-law and I both watched tourists walk into numerous camps, taking pictures. No one was at these camps and no monitor questioned their presence.
Lastly, I would like to know how they can have tourists pay to go on their fishing rocks tours or pay to use their concession stand if non-status people are forbidden to go on their land? Money talks, I guess.
Texas Creek Road,