The New Pathways To Gold Society is dedicated to promoting a grassroots reconciliation process between First Nations and communities based on a stronger understanding of our shared history. We hope this process will elevate the role of First Nations in building B.C. and lead to a better understanding between Native and non-native communities.
The NPTGS works with First Nations throughout the Hope-Barkerville corridor in holding events and developing programming. The Yale First Nation was a key partner in July 2007 in staging “Canada Day in the Canyon,” where former Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Iona Campagnolo, spoke of the need for Aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples to work together.
Another example of the NPTGS’s commitment to First Nations reconciliation is the Fraser River War Symposium, held Sept. 21-23, 2007 in Lytton. Over 120 people attended this groundbreaking symposium that looked at the conflict within the Fraser River corridor in 1858 from a First Nations’ perspective. The audience included attendees from a half dozen First Nations from the Cariboo, Harrison Lake, Fraser Canyon and Shuswap. They were joined by mayors from Logan Lake and Clinton, as well as other locally elected officials.
The symposium was capped by a joint presentation by the University of Victoria’s Dr. Paulette Regan and Brenda Ireland of First Light Initiatives, “New Directions toward reconciliation.”
NPTGS Co-chair Byron Spinks, Chief of the Lytton First Nation, says the symposium and other events staged by the society are important steps towards aboriginal reconciliation in B.C.
“Sharing our stories helps the reconciliation process and creates a better understanding between First Nations and other communities,” says Chief Spinks. “We have much to learn from each other.”
For instance, says Chief Spinks, most people don't know that Native peoples were the first discoverers of gold in BC and had been actively mining the resource years prior to the rush of 1858. They're also largely unaware of the courage the First Nations showed in choosing peace in 1858 in the face of great provocation by many of the miners.
Nor is the story of how Chief David Spintlum of the N’laka’pamux helped bring an end to open warfare during the summer of 1858 adequately celebrated. Without Chief Spintlum’s tireless advocacy for peace, many more lives would have been lost. Raising Chief Spintlum and other First Nations up as co-founders of modern B.C. is a key goal in the NPTGS’s vision for First Nations reconciliation.