I was born on Kwikwetlem territory and spent my early years growing up on what is called I.R. 2. I moved away, but all of my life I always knew I would come back. Now I have 28 great-grandchildren with number 29 on the way. There is great warmth here in the community, and it is good to see all of the changes and to see so many children playing on the reserve. I find my peace by the river. The Fraser River is my river. I feel happy to be home again.

When I was little, my family all lived in one big house. It had a wood burning stove and an outside washroom. There was no running water. We would get our water from a spring on I.R. 2, and keep the fresh water in a big pail inside. We had a big tin ladle. We’d scoop the water out of the bucket and all drink from the same ladle. Old Man (Chief) Williams, Mommy, Caroline, Bernie, Rona, Francis, me…we all drank using the same ladle. No one ever got sick. We weren’t worried about germs. You wouldn’t see that happening today. Whoever took the last bit of water from the bucket had to go to the spring and get more. You never wanted to be the last, because it was a fair walk to the spring from the house.