The Kitselas Treaty Office is offering an interesting, hands-on work experience for two summer students.
Caledonia Secondary School students, Charles Swanson and Hayley Wells have been hired to help organize the summer culture camp and teach youth about the Kitselas treaty.
“It’s one of the best jobs I could possibly ever have because I get more contact with my community and my community is who I am,” 17-year-old Wells said while sewing a crest onto a piece of felt that she is fashioning into a jacket for her dog.
Wells said she assumed she would be doing administration work when she applied for the position, but “I got so much more out of this than I expected,” she said.
The two summer students started earlier this month and they said that already they’ve learned so much about their culture, the history and what treaties can do for them.
“The fact that we are working for our community rather than Dairy Queen or something and to know that it will benefit not just us but the people around us,” Swanson said was one of his favourite parts about working for the treaty office.
The position is a paid position, plus these summer students are also getting credit for school that goes towards the grad transitions program—a mandatory program that requires a specific number of volunteer or work hours.
“This helps teach our younger generations about the treaty and what it can do for us, but also what it means to be a Gitselasu,” senior summer student Cyril Bennett-Nabess said.
A total of five students have been hired to work over the summer it a variety of departments and in August two new students will have the opportunity to work in the treaty office.
Wells said that the best part of working in the treaty office is being able to gain work experience while inspiring members of the community.
“We’re working with and for the community,” Swanson said.
“They will be running programs to engage the youth of Kitselas to give them an opportunity to hear from the youth as to their understanding or lack of understanding as to what’s on the table for Kitselas,” Kitselas official, Glenn Bennett said in an email.
The summer students will be attending meetings, contributing to the Canyon Current—the Kitselas newsletter—and planning activities for the culture camps in their pursuit to acquire knowledge about the treaty in order to teach and inspire youth in the community.
“If we can teach these children then we know that we know enough,” Wells said.