A Blueberry River First Nations member has published a book retelling her great-great grandfather's creation story.
'First Beaver Story' was written by Tichia Davis for children in the community of Blueberry River and for newcomers to the area to have a fundamental knowledge of the people and lands they live and work on.
The 21-year-old comes from a long line of Dreamers, her great-great-grandfather being Charlie Yahey, who shared the story of creation with the Dane-zaa people. Dane-zaa translates to the Beaver People, and a Dreamer is one who is visited in his dreams or during a fast and gifted a vision, knowledge, a song or a message for his people.
With knowledge being lost as Elders pass on, Davis saw the need to document Dane-zaa people's stories, in both English and Beaver, to preserve knowledge and support language revitalization.
Davis wrote 'First Beaver Story' during a summer internship with Blueberry River two years ago. Her grandmother, Alvina Davis, provided the translation into Beaver and a pronunciation guide.
The book is being used as educational material in School District 60.
Davis says she and her publisher, Colleen Austin with Gamaats Consultants, have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the district and the community following the book's release.
Davis and Austin also facilitated three professional development days to guide teachers on how to use the book as a teaching tool in their curriculum.
"Our culture is so rich and beautiful," said Davis. "I want our youth to embrace Dane-zaa knowledge, language and stories. I want them to be proud of where they come from."
The pictures in the book feature Pink Mountain and other sacred places within the nation.
Currently, Davis resides in Kamloops, where she is a youth worker for the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc (Kamloops Indian Band). She recently completed her second year of Thompson River University's Bachelor of Arts program.
Davis says she enjoys learning about other cultures and sharing her own with the youth she works with.
"Every young person should know who they are and where they came from, whether they live in their home community or not. You belong," said Davis.
'First Beaver Story' is not Davis' only foray into sharing her pride in her culture and home territory.
In 2017, she took part in a music video highlighting Blueberry River youth writing and rapping about their hopes and dreams and what it's like to grow up in a First Nations Community.
Gamaats Consultants are releasing another book, "My Beaver Basics 1," written by another Blueberry River youth, Sydney Davis.
Her book will be launched next Wednesday at the First Nations' Culture Camp. All attendees will receive a free copy of both books.
Anyone looking to purchase the books is asked to contact Blueberry River First Nations at (250) 630-2800.
Kirsta Lindstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Energeticcity.ca