First Nation to help carver rebuild

Kwanlin Dun looks after their people, says councillor and current acting Chief Ray Webb. A fire on the First Nation’s land down Long Lake Road destroyed a small shack that wasn’t even completed yet. It needed drywalling before Shawn Johnnie could move in.

Kwanlin Dun looks after their people, says councillor and current acting Chief Ray Webb.

A fire on the First Nation’s land down Long Lake Road destroyed a small shack that wasn’t even completed yet. It needed drywalling before Shawn Johnnie could move in.

The humble home was a collaborative effort on the part of Johnnie’s friends and family who said they wanted to give him a solid place to live to help him stay on track.

Johnnie has been trying for a year now to stay clean and turn his life around.

Carving helps him do that, he said.

His one, big goal is to have a small carving studio out on his mother’s land.

To raise money, he’s been doing nothing but making and selling his art for months.

Pooled efforts and donations helped the team build the shack over the Christmas holidays.

But last Wednesday, it was one donation – a secondhand oil stove – that left everything in ashes.

The news didn’t sit well with Webb, who said he couldn’t stop thinking about it all weekend.

“Once Kwanlin Dun’s name was mentioned,” he said, “I think it takes us to the next level – that we need to help.

“The bottom line is I am going to make it happen. He’s trying to change his life around, he’s an awesome carver and that’s the only place he has for a roof over his head. Now he’s out couch-surfing again.

“The bottom line is Kwanlin Dun is in a position to do this and I’m going to make sure we do it.”

After discussions with Jessie Dawson, Webb went to Canyon City Construction, the First Nation’s construction company, and Energy North Construction. Both are happy to be involved, he said.

The First Nation will purchase the materials, Canyon City will donate the labour and Energy North Construction will donate its time and insulation for the walls and roof, said Webb.

“We’re just going to go do it,” he said. “We’re willing to step up to the plate to do whatever it is we can to help him get another shack out there ASAP and, hopefully, we can have it done within a few days.”

Webb is trying to find Johnnie and tell him the news, he said.

Construction is expected to start tomorrow or Wednesday.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

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