In in the midst of a crowded Christmas dinner a brigade of helpers unloaded two pickup truck loads of food, toys, clothes and household items. Dinner guests clapped and cheered as the donations filled the administration office to bursting.
The Nawican Friendship Centre is a small building nestled just west of Dawson Creek’s downtown core. Started in 1967 by local activist Anne House and lawyer Peter Gibb, the Nawican was a nurturing environment for the community. Here local drop ins were welcome, aid was given to those individuals and families in crisis, and friendships between the native and European communities were kindled. Local youth were provided an activity centre to provide a constructive alternative to the sometimes desolate culture of the urban north.
This history was provided to me by Alex House, son of the late Anne House, while we waited for a magician to finish entertaining the crowd gathered for the celebration. The name Nawican, Mr. House told me, stood for Native White Canadian- symbolizing the founders’ wish for inter-community solidarity.
Mayor Dale Bumstead, MLA Mike Bernier and Councilman Mark Rogers helped in the unloading and then prepared to serve the multi-course feast to the many friends of the Nawican.
While the evening began with the large donation, the festivities continued with fellowship, reminiscences and a cornucopia of excellent Yuletide food made by Rhonda, dedicated chef.