After four years of preparation, Yunesit’in began building the Gym in the summer of 2016 and is finished construction. The Grand Opening occurred on April 24, 2018. The construction included upgrading the school. The gym is utilized often by the school and community events. The gym is still a source of pride, giving carpentry trainees a chance to build their own community infrastructure under our program, the First Nations Construction Industry Education.
INDIGENOUS FIRE MANAGEMENT
(Above, from left to right: Edward Dick, Duane Hink, Russell Myers Ross, Jeffan Smith and Victor Steffensen)
In 2017, the wildfires affected much of Yunesit’in and the surrounding region. Yunesit’in and Xeni Gwet’in worked with Gathering Voices Society in 2018 to begin developing an Indigenous Fire Management Program modelled from those taking place in Australia. In 2019, Vic Steffensen joined the Yunesit’in and Xeni Gwet’in community by piloting prescribed burns near our respective communities, and despite the wet weather that dampened an autumn burn, there is a concerted effort to conduct further burns in the spring of 2020.
See the Gathering Voices Society website and video: https://www.gatheringvoices.com/tsilhqotin1
DAYCARE: GEX YAZ QUNGH
The Daycare is fully completed after more than a year of construction. On November 27, 2019 the community held an opening for the Daycare and named the space Gex Yaz Qungh (Baby Rabbit House) as a reference to the original place name of Yunesit’in, Gex Nats’inilht’ih. Gex Yaz Qungh is the space for the Headstart and Language Nest Program, also referred to as Nenqayni T’ox. Gex Yaz Qungh offers programming to children aged 2-4, is oriented towards immersion, involves Elders, art and outdoor cultural experiences and is geared to preparing young children for school.