Saik'uz First Nation
Saik'uz First Nation (translated as "on the sand") or Stoney Creek is a Dakelh nation whose main community is located on a reserve 9 km (6 mi) south-east of Vanderhoof, British Columbia along Kenney Dam road.
The Saik'uz First Nation has a number of amenities, including a band administration office where Chief and council make decisions on issues like housing, education and forestry. The new band office is located in the new subdivision, that was previously an elementary school.Beside the bandoffice is a Daycare. The multiplex community hall is a building for traditional native dancing and annual general meetings (which all members of the community may attend). It is also used for extra-curricular activities like volleyball, basketball, floor hockey and other social gatherings. Saik'uz First Nation is also home to local health station, which provides the community with drug and alcohol counseling, parenting programs, and a community kitchen. The reserve also has a volunteer fire hall in case of emergencies, and a convenience store called G&F market. It has a gas bar, and sells canned goods, pizza, snack foods, and fresh milk as well as locally produced native crafts. There are three water pumps located in various parts of the reserve where community members found water before electricity. Today, water is stored in a Green water tower on the reserve. The reserve also honours its veterans with a memorial park to commemorate their service in the two world wars and the Korean War. Saik'uz also has a baseball field and holds many tournaments and is home of the "RD boys" and "the Tigers".
There are currently twenty-one elders living on reserve. One of the nation's most famous elders was Mary John, Sr. Her 1989 memoir "Stoney Creek Woman" won the Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Historical Writing, and she was also the recipient of the Order of Canada. Another well-known elder was Sophie Thomas, known for her expertise in herbal medicine. The late Celena John was also a prominent leader among the Carrier Sekani people.
The two largest sources of employment are the forest products industry and the band government. As in many First Nations communities, the unemployment rate is high. The band also operates several businesses.
The Saik'uz potlatch house was built by the Stoney Creek Elders' Society on the shore of Nulki Lake. The potlatch house is a large log building which can hold 200-250 people, big enough for holding weddings, dances, meetings, and education courses. The Potlatch house is more than a building, as it serves important ceremonial purposes including governance, economy, social status, and other spiritual practices. Upstairs are the main hall, a small kitchen, and two bathrooms. Downstairs are a larger kitchen and several offices.
Aside from the house itself, surrounding facilities consist of eight cabins, a shower house, a boat launch, a smoke shack and a workshop. There are six people hired year round to keep the camp ground and potlatch house running smoothly, including a manager, a bookkeeper, a cook, a cook's helper, and two campground maintenance men.
One of the sources of revenue for the potlatch house is Bingo which is held every Wednesday. The Bingo night was started in the late 1980s by two women from the Saik'uz reserve. Past jackpots have included a truck and cash prizes up to $20,000. Other sources of revenue are the campgrounds and the boat launch, which hold an annual fishing derby which usually happens on May Long Weekend in the spring. In 2006, the 16th annual derby offered the highest prize to date: $5000. Other prizes are donated by various business in Vanderhoof and surrounding areas.
Saik'uz is a member of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.
- Moran, Bridget and Mary John, Sr. (1988)Stoney Creek Woman. Vancouver: Tillacum Library.
- Moran, Bridget (1990) Judgement at Stoney Creek. Vancouver: Tillacum Library.
- Poser, William J. (2008). Saik'uz Whut'en Hubughunek (Stoney Creek Carrier Dictionary). Stony Creek, British Columbia: Saik'uz First Nation. Fifth edition.
- Young, Jane and Alex Hawley (2002)Plants and Medicines of Sophie Thomas: Based on the Traditional Knowledge of Sophie Thomas, Sai'kuz Elder and Healer. © Sophie Thomas.