The December 2019 opening of Little Rock Lake Lodge marked an opportunity to honor the past while celebrating the future. The workforce accommodation site will house up to 700 women and men working on Coastal GasLink and will be operated in partnership by the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, Horizon North and Falcon Camp Services.
Little Rock Lake Lodge is located on land that carries both a rich and painful history for the Carrier people; it is the former site of Lejac residential school. Its history was recently documented by local writer Frank Peebles. The presence of the Lodge on this site symbolizes a turning point for the Nadleh Whut’en as they build new opportunities to reclaim history and chart a new path for the future of the Dakelh (Carrier) people.
Mike Gouchie, a Construction Monitoring and Community Liaison Coordinator for Coastal GasLink, described experiencing a profound emotional response after spending a night at Little Rock Lake Lodge.
“My father went here. That’s where my siblings and I, we lost our culture, my father lost his culture. And through that, the language. All of that trauma and everything else just sort of fell over on top of me,” explained Mike.
“To recognize it, and for people to understand that, I think that’s a huge opportunity for everyone to move forward in a positive direction,” he added.
Workers staying at the Lodge will have the opportunity to learn about the rich culture and tradition of the Nadleh Whut’en people. In addition to building and operating the Lodge, Nadleh Whut’en members will also be part of Coastal GasLink’s team of Community Workforce Advisors who will work in the Lodgeto support a positive and respectful workforce culture. They will also support the implementation of community and cultural awareness activities for workers
“This grand opening signifies a major historical event — or a series of events — that Carrier Sekani people are experiencing. This is just a beginning,” added Stellat’en First Nation Chief Archie Patrick, who addressed members of the community at the ceremonial opening.
Since 2012, Coastal GasLink has taken a collaborative approach to engaging and working with Indigenous communities to ensure long-term, valuable opportunities to create lasting benefits for their members. All of Coastal GasLink’s workforce accommodation sites will be operated by First Nation-partnered businesses. Little Rock Lake Lodge is one example of Coastal GasLink’s commitment to creating an extraordinary legacy.