FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
You know about the river that bears his name. You’ve probably heard something about his journey. But what do you know about the man himself? Who was this blunt, tenacious Nor’wester and what drove him to trek from the Rockies to the mouth of the ferocious river we call the Fraser with the help of B.C.’s aboriginal peoples?
Now, 200 years after the epic voyage, journalist and poet Stephen Hume brings Simon Fraser to life in a series of public lectures from Prince George to Vancouver.
“As a fur trader working with powerful First Nations, Simon Fraser laid the foundations for modern B.C,” said Hume. “As an explorer he charted the still-wild river that’s been called the soul of the province.”
Celebrating the bicentennial of Fraser’s journey, the series is sponsored by the New Pathways To Gold Society (NPTGS), a community-based organization dedicated to First Nations reconciliation, investment in B.C. heritage and economic development. Partner organizations include the BC150 Secretariat, Harbour Publishing and the Vancouver Sun.
Hume’s tour is also made possible by many community organizations and bookstores that are providing venues, publicity and other support. NPTGS Co-chair Byron Spinks, Chief of the Lytton First Nation, said the lecture series is a response to an overwhelming demand for talks on Simon Fraser expressed by those communities.
“We held extensive community consultations from Hope to Barkerville in 2007 and discovered a huge appetite for information on Fraser and his journey,” said Chief Spinks.
“The people in the communities – especially the First Nations — also want to share their part in his extraordinary story.”
The series starts May 22 in Prince George and ends over 800 kilometres later in Vancouver. In-between, Hume will speak in venues as varied as a First Nations longhouse to a bowling alley in communities like Quesnel, Boston Bar, Soda Creek and Skatin (Skookumchuck).
Hume, the Vancouver Sun’s senior writer, will share the insights he gained from following in Fraser’s footsteps and canoe wake for four years. His research included interviews with the descendants of people who aided Fraser during the explorer’s arduous route across British Columbia’s vast and varied landscape.
“Hume is a beautiful, lyrical writer with a spiritual connection to the land who brings the heart of an adventurer, the commitment of an historian and the grit of an outdoorsman to the Simon Fraser story,” said Vancouver Sun Editor in Chief Patricia Graham.
“His dedication to this project was immense and his recreation of Fraser’s journey is a significant contribution to the history of this province.”
Tourism, Sport and the Arts Minister Stan Hagen said the lecture series shows how British Columbians from differing communities and walks of life can team up to celebrate the province’s rich past.
“This is a great example of communities, companies, heritage organizations and government coming together to celebrate the spirit of BC150,” said Hagen.
Tour co-sponsor Harbour Publishing has just published Hume’s latest book: Simon Fraser: In Search of Modern British Columbia.
“Hume weaves stories with a reporter’s eye for detail, the heart of a poet and a lyrical power based in his profound knowledge of the landscape and history of B.C.,” said Harbour Publishing President Howard White.
The NPTGS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through BC150, a Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts initiative. For more information on BC150 events and programs, please visit www.BC150.gov.bc.ca.