Phyllis Chelsea (left) and Carolyn Parks Mintz signs books at the book launch in Williams Lake last month of Resolve—the Story of the Chelsea Family & a First Nation Community’s Will to Heal. (Contributed)

Shuswap author tells First Nations family’s story of resilience, leadership

Chase resident will hold book signing in Salmon Arm June 22, in Kelowna June 23 and Vernon June 29.

Chase author and journalist Carolyn Parks Mintz has long had a keen interest in many things, from therapeutic horseback riding for children to radio broadcasting to dragon boat racing – and, of course, writing.

Parks Mintz wrote The Eye of the Dragon—Women, Cancer & Courage, published in 2004, which tells the stories of the women of Sistership, her dragon-boat teammates.

The production of the book and her cancer support work would earn her a Woman of Vision Award.

Her latest literary undertaking, Resolve—the Story of the Chelsea Family & a First Nation Community’s Will to Heal, focuses on the biographies of Andy and Phyllis Chelsea and the story of their people, the Esk’etemc of Alkali Lake, B.C.

“Through per chance circumstances soon after moving to Chase in 2016, I connected with the Chelsea’s daughter, Ivy, a language teacher at the village’s elementary and high school,” Parks Mintz explained.

”On learning I was an author and journalist, Ivy told me she’d been looking for someone to write her parents’ life stories.

“This resonated with me as I had always been interested in Indigenous peoples and their cultures.”

Soon after, there followed a three-hour meeting with Andy and Phyllis during one of their visits to this area.

“I was so impressed with their accomplishments and those of their community—as well as sadly impacted by the parts of their stories I heard that day.”

Read more: B.C. woman behind Orange Shirt Day pens new book for teaacher

Read more: Former NHL player Theo Fleury visits B.C. First Nations community

Those meetings would lead a few weeks later to Andy and Phyllis choosing Parks Mintz to write their story.

The couple met during their years at St. Joseph’s Mission School, which operated from July 19, 1891, to June 30, 1981, near Williams Lake.

Like the thousands forced into the church-run residential school system, they are acutely aware of the lifelong difficulties experienced by most Indigenous people in Canada.

The couple married in 1964 but, unavoidably, the damage inflicted during their mission school years leached into their marriage.

Their 1971 decision to save their family by overcoming the multi-faceted, grievous harm done to them at St. Joseph’s sparked a lifetime of activism which took them across Canada, throughout the U.S. and to many other countries worldwide.

As well, they were an inspiration to their people as Alkali Lake was ready for change.

Throughout the 27 years Andy was chief and Phyllis served as social worker, education trustee and court worker, they worked to help eradicate alcoholism and took definitive steps to overcome the rampant intergenerational trauma which existed on their reserve.

Read more: Saving a culture: Teaching aboriginal culture

Read more: 2014 – History from a First Nations view

Resolve explores the harrowing journey of the Chelseas and their community.

By combining personal interviews and historical records, Parks Mintz shares their transition from residential school to state-sanctioned reserves to recognition of their direct action in the face of ongoing oppression.

A simultaneous celebration of strength and a condemnation of systemic racism, Resolve is a deeply moving story that calls for a closer look at the status of national reconciliation efforts from the Chelseas’ perspective.

Parks Mintz will attend book launch readings/signing sessions at Riverside Park in Kamloops on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21; at Bookingham Palace in Salmon Arm on Saturday, June 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; at Chapters in Kelowna on June 23; and at Bookland in Vernon on June 29, from noon to 2 p.m.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Chase author Carolyn Parks Mintz. (Photo contributed)

Just Posted

Serious injuries sustained in Highway 1 collisions west of Salmon Arm

Air ambulance needed at two accident scenes that closed highway Monday evening

Update: Lakeshore Drive open following single-vehicle collision

Traffic being diverted to 10th Avenue NE as emergency crews respond

Fines approved for Salmon Arm panhandling bylaw

Mayor and council stress fines to be issued as last resort

Salmon Arm council supports increase to development service fees

Bylaw enables city to recover more of the cost related to staff time

Salmon Arm students hone acting chops in Haney whodunnit

Local talent brings Mystery of Dutch Charlie to life at RJ Haney Heritage Village

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Central Okanagan motorcycle crash causes two impaired driving investigations

The driver’s injuries, although serious, are not believed to be life-threatening in nature

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

Kelowna baby snatcher pleads guilty

Harold Giffen Clarkson Nyren is sentenced to two years probation

BC Cancer Agency refuses to release audit’s critical findings, but discloses ‘positive’ findings

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions of cancer agency’s triage audit

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

LETTER: Diversity includes Canadians with views different from prime minister

Writer delves into Canadian beliefs, morality, family as foundation of society

Vehicle collides into Okanagan home and drives away

Fencing, landscaping suffer significant damage and minor injury to house on Vernon’s Okanagan Avenue

Big Wreck announces two Okanagan shows

The American-Canadian band will be playing in Vernon and Kelowna on Oct. 29 and Nov. 3

Most Read