Monday, August 27, 2012: (LILLOOET) There were prayers for the dead and lessons for the living on a special rafting trip down the Fraser River commemorating the 150th anniversary of the devastating 1862 smallpox epidemic. Three members of the NPTGS Board of Directors took part in the five-day trip from Sheep Creek to Lillooet. First Nations Co-chair Cheryl Chapman, Secretary Brent Rutherford and Director Dr. Ron Ignace made the journey with about 30 other participants. They were joined by Secwepemc Elders, youth, community workers and tourists interested in the journey.
Organized by the Phyllis Webstad, Stswecem’c/Xqat’tem (Canoe/Dog Creek) First Nation, Irvine Johnson, Esketemc (Alkali Lake) First Nation and Fraser River Raft Expeditions, the voyage marked 150th anniversary of the catastrophic small pox epidemic that killed an estimated 60 per cent of B.C.’s Aboriginal population. Some put the death toll even higher. It was one of the most deadly epidemics in Canadian history, yet most people know nothing about it. Find out more on the NPTGS website.