This is the first of our pieces updating supporters of the Voices: Indigenous Women on the Front Lines Speak project originally posted May 25th 2016 on our project blog. We've updated the ending so you can get involved in the work Christine is doing.
<3 beyon and wulf.
“Our people have been pulled away from their natural place. Pulled into a place so deep, generations deep now that they don’t understand what it’s really going to take to return”
“I hope that people find that they are worth healing.”
-Christine Jack, Ulluisc 2016
Christine Jack is a two-spirit St’at’imc life-giver and spiritual leader. In March of 2015 she was asked by her Elders to protect a place called Ulluisc. Since that moment, Christine became caretaker and made Ulluisc her permanent home. Ulluisc, “a place for the people to gather”, is high in the mountains nestled in the Yalakom Valley and is an ancestral village site where the St’at’imc, Tsilcotin and Secwemc people came together. The forests, creeks, and mountains of Ulluisc are a place where medicine grows, where the pines stand next to the cotton woods and shade the alders; where bears raise their cubs, deer find their shelter and eagles build their nests. The last time there was clear cutting in Ulluisc was 2015 the logging company responsible, intended to continue cutting through 2016 and beyond. Christine Jack has halted their progress, and as long as she remains it will never happen again.
On the 7th of May I travelled by bus and thumb through the Coastal Mountains to Ulluisc (Ooloosh), part of Xwisten territory, St'at'imc nation. Once at Ulluisc I had the pleasure to sit quiet among the Pines, Poplars and Cotton Woods with the sound of the river and winds around me. We harvested wild onions, t’seweta, arnica and pine tips, smoked and canned a deer hunted by Christine and Badger, and built additions to the outdoor kitchen and storage areas.
For a year and two months Two Spirit Spiritual Leader Christine Jack has been living at Ulluisc as caretaker of the territory at the request of her Elders. Ulluisc is the ucwalmicw (people of the land) name and means, “a place for the people to gather.” It was given this name, as it was a village site, meeting place and trading grounds for the Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in and St’át’imc people. Logging company Aspen Planers was attempting to enter the territory to clear-cut even more of the forests than they have already gotten their hands on and they built a road directly over an ishtkin site. Christine, her children and her supporters have put an end to the destruction of Ulluisc so that the people and the land may heal.
Christine and her family are currently working hard to put away enough preserves for the winter and welcome supporters to join them on the land to harvest and help winterize the camp. In addition Christine would like to invite spiritual people to seek her out and visit her at Ulluisc.
You can learn more about Ulluisc on their facebook page.
And if you want to learn more about the St’at’imc people the documentary “Spirit of the People” is a really wonderful documentary and you can watch a short excerpt here: https://youtu.be/tSFvqGWf_7o
If you are heading out to Ulluisc it is important to be mindful of how you are on the land and to be respectful as a guest there. This means taking nothing without consent and ensuring nothing you packed in is left behind. Bringing foodstuffs (particularly fresh fruit and veggies and if you have any food allergies- appropriate food for yourself) is a good idea and the weather can change rapidly in the mountains so prepare for the wet, the hot and the cool. There is no alcohol or violence tolerated at Ulluisc. Be prepared to work in reciprocity for all you will gain joining Christine in her work on the land, as there are many tasks to keep the camp running and everyone comfortable. Lastly, my advice is to listen and allow yourself to be open for we all have so much to gain and learn from one another.
To get to Ulluisc: Stay on the Yalakom road following the yellow kilometer markers go past the Ore Creek Campsite, go past the yellow 44km marker, go past the turn off to Lac la Mare (stay on the road that goes along the river), keep staying on the Yalakom road until just past the 50 km mark.
As far as accessibility goes the ground is rocky and uneven in places and structures around the camp are not accessible by wheelchair. There is a ramp up to the cabin, but I do not believe it is not wide enough for wheelchairs. There is an outhouse to relieve oneself. Dogs are welcome however it is integral that their human companions be responsible for them at all times! If people have questions feel free to contact us through our website.
To make monetary donations cheques can be mailed to PO Box 1188 Lillooet BC V0K 1V0.
Here are some suggestions for things helpful to Ulluisc:
Any meat, fish or produce you have preserved yourself either canned, smoked or dried <3
Any medicines (teas, tinctures, salves) you have made yourself (please include info. on ingredients and use)