Grand Opening of the Daylu Dena Multi-Purpose Centre


Grand Opening of the Daylu Dena Multi-Purpose Centre

At the invitation of the Daylu Dena Council, I attended the Grand Opening of the Daylu Dena Multi-Purpose Centre in Lower Post, BC. For many years, the community used the former Lower Post Residential School as the community centre, but the memories associated with the school and the deterioration of the building necessitated a change.

The school, staffed by Oblates and Sisters of St. Ann, operated from 1951 to 1975 and was demolished on June 30, 2021. The new Multi-Purpose Centre was constructed. The Daylu Dena Council extended an invitation to OMI Lacombe Canada leadership to attend the grand opening, acknowledging our long association with the community, dating back to 1926, when Fr. Allard, OMI, established a mission at Lower Post.

June 21 was the day of the Grand Opening; it began with an official opening program. Deputy Chief Harlan Schilling welcomed those gathered and gave a brief history of the events leading up to the day’s event. Many chiefs from the neighbouring First Nations,  Taylor Bachrach, the local Member of Parliament, Mark Miller, former Minister of Indigenous Affairs, several local dignitaries and others brought greetings. The morning’s event ended with lunch.

The afternoon was given over to various traditional activities: the stick game, trapline challenge, moose calling competition, moose meat drying workshop, beading workshop, drumming and story telling. All through the day, people took advantage of the opportunity to renew friendships, meet new friends, catch up on the news and generally enjoy the company of others who gathered to celebrate.

I was grateful to be present at the gathering; it was another step along the journey to healing and reconciliation. It was also a time to reconnect with many people from Kwadacha; I had served that community for eleven years during my time in Prince George. That was a real blessing and we shared many stories and lots of laughs. One of the elders from Lower Post and I spent about an hour sharing stories and memories of the Oblates who had served the community, often marveling at the strength and perseverance of those men and giving thanks for having known them.

By Richard Beaudette, OMI