The Burton Community Learning Centre (BCLC) hosted the first of its monthly film series on Jan. 8 at the fitness room in the Burton Community Library.
The BCLC had hosted film nights before, but had stopped. Now that the centre has a shared use agreement with SD 10, they will be able to start showing films again.
The centre decided to feature films and documentaries about the local area.
“We were looking for films, and Brenda said ‘We have this film, let’s do a film about the treaty, and it took off from there,” said Sue Marzinzik, of the BCLC. “We did not expect as many people to come out, but it’s an important thing that’s going on.”
The film, “The Reckoning” is a documentary produced by the CBC in 1974 about the Columbia River Treaty and how it affected members of the Arrow Lakes communities.
It started off with a brief geography lesson as to where each river in the treaty was is located, and where they flow to.
A brief history of the lead up to the Columbia River Treaty was also given.
Interviews from 1961 were shown of residents along the Columbia River, and their thoughts on the treaty, including one of Christopher Spicer.
The film went on to examine the impact the treaty had on things like the economy and the environment, and showed the contrast of life before and after the treaty.
The effects were pretty damning.
Because of the dams built as a result of the treaty, some of the best timber growing areas went under water. Potential farms were lost, and there was loss of wildlife, as well as a decline of fish.
“When I first came here, the Caribou Creek was just red (with fish) in the fall. You could just grab them with your hand,” said Hans Dummerauf. “It was the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. When I look today, the tears just come to my eyes. It’s just a handful here and there.”
Some of those who came to see the film were shocked by what they learned.
“We’re new here, we’ve only lived here since July, so we’re only learning about all of this,” said Diana Black. “We’ve heard little pieces here and there, little mumblings and grumblings, and when you sit and watch something like this, oh my goodness. How could something like this happen?”
That is something Brenda Buerge would like to know.
Buerge’s parents owned a farm along the river. Most of their 160 acres were taken by the treaty.
“They were 55. It killed them basically,” she said. “If you talked about it in front of my dad, he would go to bed for days.”
Buerge said it’s important for people to know about the history of the area, and how horrible this was for the community.
“It hurts, and I’m over it, but it’s part of the history of the valley.”