Journey Through Secwepemculew - Secwepemc Leaders- Andy Chelsea

 

Andy and Phyllis Chelsea

Andy Chelsea was the chief of Alkali Lake Band beginning in the early seventies. At that time the Alkali Lake reserve was struggling with widescale alcoholism on reserve. The residential school system had affected traditional family values leaving a whole generation of people vulnerable to alcoholism. People who once were very hard- working now lived in a community that had deteriorated. Overall it appeared that Alkali Lake was in a hole and they could not get out.

The person to spark the the change that occurred was a 7 year old girl, the daughter of Andy and Phyllis Chelsea, Ivy Chelsea. After a weekend of partying, Phyllis Chelsea went to retrieve her daughter from her mother's house. The young girl refused to go with her mother until she stopped drinking, Phyllis quit drinking that day and Andy four days later. After quitting drinking in 1972 Andy was elected chief that year and quickly began to implement steps to slow the rampant alcohol abuse. Some of the steps included: banning alcohol sales on the reserve as well as job creation for sober people. By 1979 ninety-eight percent of the community was alcohol-free. Through traditional spirituality and the creation of jobs, Andy Chelsea was able to create a better place to live. In 1985 the film, "The Honour of All: The Story of Alkali Lake", was released to critical acclaim available at (http://www.fourworlds.ca/bookstore7.html#4).

Additional Links

More On Andy Chelsea full story... on First Nations Housing

The Honour of All narrated by Andy Chelsea ...

 

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