QC council supports story project

  • Feb. 18, 2008 1:00 p.m.

Six women who lived on the islands in the early part of the 20th century will be featured in a series of children’s books, if funding can be obtained. Jenny White came to Queen Charlotte Council on Feb. 4 to make a case for the story project, asking council to support a Gwaii Trust application to fund the publication of the books. The stories, aimed at a Gr. 3-4 audience, were written in more than twenty years ago by Cathy Nelson, a former teacher on the islands. While on maternity leave, she obtained a grant to do the research and talked with the six women, still alive at the time, who had great stories to tell. Many islanders will remember these women, but may not know the stories featured in the manuscripts. Ms Nelson writes about Doris Richardson of Tlell and her job as a mail carrier in 1928 and 1929. Back then the mail was delivered on a Model T Ford truck that the Richardson’s bought for $150. Ms Richardson was one of the first young ladies on the islands to drive and the Model T was one of the few vehicles around at the time. Another story describes the crab cannery that Jessie Simpson and her husband Sam of Masset started in 1933. The cannery was situated in Naden Harbour on the same site that Sam’s father had run a cannery years before. The couple moved their family to that remote spot and lived and worked there for years. Ms Nelson also tells the tale of Sybil DeBucy and the bakery she and Mary Roberts operated on Hippa Island (on the west coast) in 1925. She writes of Agnes Mathers of Sandspit, who brought her brother and three sisters with her to fill out enrollment, when she became the teacher at Lawn Hill in 1929. Hedwig Ross is the cross-continent bride described in another tale. She travelled from New York state to the Queen Charlottes in 1923 to marry a man she knew from childhood, but had not seen for 11 years. Frieda Bastian and her family were the last people left in Sewall in Masset Inlet in 1920 when the mill closed and Ms Nelson’s story relates the joys and hardships of wilderness living. The Queen Charlotte Support Services Society is applying to the Special Initiatives in Education portion of the Gwaii Trust to fund the books. The six books will not be for sale, but copies will be distributed to the islands’ schools. The proposal amount is for $8632, which includes desktop publishing, pictures and printing. Queen Charlotte Council agreed to write a letter of support for the project. At the same meeting, councillors agreed to support several other groups. The QC Community Club is applying for a new food cooler and exhaust fan in the kitchen at the hall. The Masset Animal Helpline is seeking funding for a community spay/neutering program, the Tlell Advisory Committee is applying for Level 3 First Aid courses, the Sandspit Fire Department for training in aircraft emergency response and more, the Village of Port Clements is seeking funds for administrative training and software, the Queen Charlotte Support Services is also applying for funds to hold a retreat for people with mental health and addiction issues, and the Edge of the World Music Festival Society is seeking funding from the BC Arts Council.

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