Campers leave Juniper Beach Provincial Park before the First Nations’ gathering begins.

Campers leave Juniper Beach Provincial Park before the First Nations’ gathering begins.

No police needed at Juniper Beach gathering

After a rocky start, a weekend gathering of First Nations at Juniper Beach Provincial Park was carried out quietly.

RCMP were notified on Sept. 14 that there would be a First Nations gathering on Sept. 21-23 at Juniper Beach Provincial Park, 10 km east of Cache Creek, and that the event organizer had requested that all non-natives leave the park. As a result of that, there was a concern of public unrest and negotiations took place between the organizer, Bonaparte Band member Steve Basel and BC Parks and the Minister of Environment.

There was no eviction, but most of the campers left voluntarily. Between 200-300 First Nations were expected, but less than 100 reportedly attended. The weekend gathering was peaceful from the RCMP point of view, and they received no calls to attend the park.