My Town Monday: Hail to the Chief

DSCN0269 Chief Spokane Garry monumentIt’s a blustery day here and the wind chill is hovering near the freezing point.  If not for the sunshine and fresh air, I would have stayed inside.

Today I walked over to the monument erected in honor of Chief Spokane Garry.  This is believed to be very near the site where he held the first school in 1830. The monument reads that the building itself was 50 feet by 20 feet, constructed of pine poles and covered with with a roof made from mats of dried grasses woven together by the native women.  But the chief’s story begins earlier than 1830. It is believed that he was born in 1813; in 1825 (at approximately the age of 12 years) he was taken* by Sir George Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company to the Red River Missionary School near Winnipeg, Canada, where he was educated. Chief Spokane Garry was teacher and missionary to his people for sixty years.

* I don’t know if he was taken by force or by request. Sometimes I wonder…

click on pic to "embiggen"

click on pic to “embiggen”

The land near this site is considered by some to be an historical site. Those 12-14 acres are held in conservation and have been marked by the city as an undeveloped park since 1950. Some of the tribes send a crew twice a year to clean up windfall and work on the trails.

There is loud construction a few blocks away. Heavy machinery is chewing through solid rock. A developer is following through with long-term plans to build housing on the edge of a hill and in what we had thought was part of “our” park.  The large boulders that I had thought were there to keep out motor vehicles were really there to mark the boundaries between privately owned land (developer) and the city-owned park.  Since this particular park is one that was such a draw to purchasing our house, I am feeling downhearted about the development of the private land. The neighborhood banded together years ago to stop the developer from putting in a larger number of condominiums, but it was always his land to develop. I’m sure the new tenants will enjoy the park, too, but it will feel smaller to the rest of us. I am sad to see the loss of what I had originally believed to be undeveloped park-land in conservation.

I love to walk in the wilderness right here in the city — now there is a little bit less to enjoy. The wetlands in springtime will still be there but houses and people will be that much closer, and something inside of me fears pesticide and fertilizer contamination. Call me a pessimist.

I wonder what Chief Spokane Garry would think and say?

You can read/see more about this little park here, here, and here.

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6 thoughts on “My Town Monday: Hail to the Chief

  1. Your park sounds lovely. I know how you feel. Where I came from prior to living in the Kootenays there was a lot of land that was treed and just beautiful. About 20 years ago the started to take out the trees and develop the hill. It is now a place with several malls and a huge subdivision. I guess that is what some would call progress. What was really sad was seeing all the deer and other wild animals being lost and not know where to go from there. Their homes were destroyed as well as their feeding grounds.

  2. I feel your pain – we have lovely hills around us and the people who own some of the undeveloped land are fighting like crazy to overturn the laws against hillside building. Eventually the city will run out of money to fight and they will carve out our beautiful hills…

  3. Oh, man. I live in a little town chock full of builders and people who make a living off what developers do, so it’s hard for me to shout that I HATE DEVELOPERS. I understand that people need a place to live, but… there are already so. many. houses on the market that nobody is buying! Farmland, greenspace, everything is disappearing to make room for McMansions and condos.

    Didn’t mean to grump at you. I just feel for you and your loss!

  4. We live among farm fields, where the zoning is all 2.5 acres or more. One of the fields down the street is owned by a developer. Just before the recession hit, he was planning a subdivision –properties quite small, each with its own well and septic field. Money oiled his special exception to the 2.5 acre current zoning. The people living across the street from the field fought, although they knew in the long run they didn’t stand a chance. But then the recession hit, and currently there are signs along the field “Farm for Sale”. A reprieve.

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