A bear crosses the Fraser River east of the Agassiz-Rosedale bridge

A bear crosses the Fraser River east of the Agassiz-Rosedale bridge

Arms wide open at Cheam

Popkum area band welcomes fishermen to their territory

On the north side of the Fraser River, a small crowd gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new venture. The Cheam First Nation band is opening their arms wide to visitors in their territory — pushing aside past conflicts and animosity with other fishing groups — by opening the Cheam Fishing Village.

Everyone will be welcome. Everyone can stay and feel at home, said Ernie Victor.

On the south side of the river, almost across from the new campsite area, a bear gently glides into the Fraser for a swim. Everyone moves to catch a sight of the animal, barely visible as he crosses the water.

“It’s a good sign,” someone says.

“A strong spirit,” says another.

Everyone watches as he lumbers out of the water and across the sandbar, before disappearing behind trees and into the water once again.

They say if you want to find a fishing spot, just watch for bears, Victor says.

But all fisherman who call these reaches of the Fraser River home know that the area is a salmon smorgasbord. Now, they’ll enjoy unfettered access to a boat launch area and a reliable place to set up an RV, picnic tables included.

“People come to our community and they get taken care of,” Victor said. “This is taking it another step forward, we are opening our doors, our land, our sacred space.”

Following a traditional welcome song, council member Lincoln Douglas joined Ed George, vice-president of the BC Wildlife Federation, and Theresa Fresco from the Fraser Basin Council on the river’s edge. Together, the trio cast out a ceremonial line.

It was a symbol of their new partnership and willingness to work together, a concept that’s also the impetus behind a FBC initiative called Harmony on the Fraser.

For George, the campsite has been a long time coming.

“I’ve been going down here for years (on a boat) and saying I want a campsite right there,” he said. “And here it is.”

He is hoping to come back to fish for real, once the fisheries announces this summer’s opening.

The new campsite includes 45 sites, a fire pit, boat launch, day parking, riverside trails and picnic tables. It’s the newest venture among the 200 aboriginally-owned businesses in Sto:lo territory.

Staying at the campsite ranges from $25 to $40 a night, and will directly benefit the Cheam First Nation band.

Access to the site is via the eastern Whelpton Road, keeping east on Dyke Road. A short road has been upgraded to access the newly built campsite.

Cheam has also upgraded its Cheam Trading Post, a wholesale and retail outlet for salmon. It’s also a new place to pick up soft fruits grown in Okanagan Indian Band orchards.

For more information, visit www.cheamfishingvillage.com.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family homeless after fire rips through house on Abbotsford border

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read