Our Heritage

The Yekooche Band traditional territory is located about 85 km northwest of Fort St James British Columbia. It comprises 4 reserves on a total of roughly 180 hectares. Most of our band members live in Reserve #3 (Yekooche) located along the northwest arm of Stuart Lake, where Nancut Creek drains Cunningham Lake into Stuart Lake.

Currently the Yekooche First Nation is not affiliated with any other tribal councils or treaty groups.


Shas Mountain
   

Stuart Lake is very important to the Yekooche people. It's a place to catch fish, and it's a link to the other villages. Over the years the water level has gotten so low in the lake and nearby Nancut Creek that we must go to Lake Babine to get our winter supply of fish. We smoke the fish, preserve it and jar it.

Our traditional lands are very important. Since the 1800's we have used the land to support our way of life with hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, gathering of medicinal roots and herbs and berry picking.

   

Part of our heritage is the Bannock recipe, a type of bread which has been a mainstay of our diet for many years. Bannock is still prepared in most homes.

Click here for the recipe

Our People

Our Mission Statement:

We are rebuilding our heritage of arts and crafts, creating a new foundation by building the skills of our youth for the future of our nation.

Yekooche First Nation currently has about 227 members with approximately 120 living in the village and the rest living in Fort St. James, Prince George and in other areas.

The Yekooche First Nation is governed by Chief Partner Schielke and the Band council which includes three Yekooche members: Dean Joseph, William Joseph and Hilda Schielke.

General elections are held every 2 years with the next election scheduled in the fall of 2009.


From left: Curtis, Allan

The Elders

The Elders are an important part of Yekooche culture. They are important for their knowledge, wisdom, story telling, language, and teaching of traditional culture. They know the medicine and won't let it die out, they'll keep it going and pass it on. They have their own way of taking care of something without harsh punishment and are often consulted for advice on important issues.

The Elders are strict in the potlatch system. The potlatch is important to Elders, and they are passing it on to the young people to know which clan they belong to. Potlatches are held for different reasons. We have potlatches to pay whoever takes care of a person who has passed away and their family. Sometimes a potlatch is held for someone that's changing clans or as a welcome for someone who is joining our Band as a new member.

  Elder Alfred Joseph

The Children

The Jean Marie Joseph School is a Band operated school which is not affiliated with any School District. Built in 1994 the school is the center of the community where all workshops, meetings, seminars and most community events take place.

The school offers instruction to approximately 20 pupils from kindergarten to grade 9 using the BC Schools Curriculum as a guideline with modifications for our special needs pupils. Our pupils are divided into 3 small classes, primary, intermediate and secondary so that individualized instruction is possible.

For children under 6, there is a Head Start Program which acts as the family daycare with approximately 8 children attending on an occasional basis.

The Yekooche school has a computer room with 12 computers that are connected to the Internet. Each class has scheduled time in the computer room as do adult members in the community who benefit from internet access time and the computerized instructional programs.

The school provides a breakfast program each day for the children. The kitchen also provides meals for large community gatherings and other events.

Success of the program has been amply demonstrated by four of our students who have continued their education at Fort St James Secondary School, two of which were consistent honor roll students and graduated in June 2005.

Due to the isolation of our village and the lack of educational opportunities we have endeavored to broaden our student's experiences through the use of field trips and guest speakers. These have included visits from the D.A.R.E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and tours of a pulpmill, forestry greenhouse and Exploration Place in Prince George as well as trips to Rockness Ranch and Camp Living Water.

One of our most important school programs is our cultural program which employs a Carrier language teacher offering formal instruction to each class for 30 minutes each day.  We are currently working on transitioning to a fully integrated Carrier School.

In September 2004 Yekooche implemented a community recreation program which includes a new weight room.  This program has been very successful.

Future plans are to build a new recreation facility in the village. This will provide our youth and other members of the community with more opportunity to enjoy physical activities and promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.







 

   
 

Yekooche First Nations is located in North Central British Columbia
See our Contact page for Finance and Band Office Info or email.