Museum captures oral histories of the valley

Sonja explores two grant-funded projects taking place in Smithers until March 2022

Across the Valley - Sonja Lester

Across the Valley - Sonja Lester

A true story about our community is evolving right now.

The Bulkley Valley Museum has a New Horizons grant for oral history and is using it with seniors interviewing seniors.

There is also separate funding to have an oral history intern on staff for five months. Ryan McKenney, from Prince George, was brought in as the intern for these projects and he has been capturing stories through conversation, all done within the safe protocols of COVID-19 and with most being held at the Old Church.

Ryan graduated from UNBC in 2017 with a history degree and went on to work on a historic site, the Hubble Homestead, an old farm house from 1912, 30 km north of Prince George, taking tourists around and in the winter providing an educational program.

He has also been a research assistant in Tokyo, gathering information about Japanese people who immigrated to South America.

Although Ryan came to Smithers in early November 2020, the first part of the program stalled because recording hardware didn’t come in until later in January. The grant for the senior-to-senior project is good until March 2022 and Ryan’s oral history is only until March 2021.

“The senior’s will hopefully begin “in the spring or summer,” said Kira Westby, museum curator.

The oral history interviews are well underway and Kira is delighted with the interviews done to date with “current and former local politicians, as well as teachers, lawyers, artists, activists and homemakers to name a few.” And she went on to say that they represent a diverse range of ages, backgrounds, experiences and length of time in the valley.

While he is in the valley Ryan has worked with a SSS class to introduce the students to oral history: how and why it is important work for historians.

My daughter and I often ponder the meaning of a word. Our latest is discipline.

The first meaning Google turns up is: a punishment to correct disobedience.

We like their second meaning much better: a branch or knowledge, typically one studied in higher education.

She is a music teacher so proficiency to her is a discipline. I was considering being a daycare worker when my kids were little and I took a child psychology course and it was all about logical consequences.

With COVID-19 it is harder and harder to stick with the protocols but the logical consequence is daunting if we don’t use discipline combined with the knowledge we have and it flourishes.

I am looking forward to the oral history of our valley. It’ll be intriguing!

Email or call 250-847-4414 to share an item.

Oral and digital history is the new normal but it’ll still be good to get it in a hard copy.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mabel Todd, 83, of the Nak’azdli First Nation, leads a group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as they walk along the so-called Highway of Tears in Witset. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Province, feds fund full cell service along ‘Highway of Tears’ following years of advocacy

A ‘critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies’ after at least 10 Indigenous women murdered, missing along the route

Dianna Plouffe, right, with Mayor Gladys Atrill in front of Town Hall following the announcement she will be the new CAO> (Facebook photo)
Director of corporate services named Smithers CAO

Dianna Plouffe replaces Alan Harris who is retiring at the end of April

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Volunteer Robbie McKnight works the screening table at the Coast Mountain College COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Smithers. (Deb Meissner photo)
UPDATE Smithers clinic expands vaccine eligibility to ages 55+

Community members born in 1966 or earlier can now register and will be notified when they can book

Pembina Prince Rupert Terminal shipped its first vessel full of liquefied petroleum gas on April 9, just less than three years after breaking ground at the re-purposed pulp mill site on Watson Island.
Pembina ships first vessel of LPG out of Prince Rupert

More than $12 million spent to repurpose Watson Island for the LPG export facility

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Most Read