Galore Creek has been proudly providing educational bursaries in support of Tahltan students since 2006, supporting a broad range of education and career aspirations. The bursaries are a commitment of our Participation Agreement with the Tahltan Nation and a key element of our relationship with Tahltan community members.
In 2021 we introduced the Ann M Ball bursary program in honour of Ann’s lasting contributions to the Galore Creek project, the mining industry, and the Tahltan Nation. The new $5000 bursary supports emerging and active leaders in the community. For this year’s spotlight we are pleased to interview and feature Westin Creyke, the 2022 bursary recipient.
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us today Westin. As the recipient of the bursary award, we wanted to reach out and learn more about you and what inspires you.
To get us started, please tell us a bit about yourself:
I currently live in Prince George where I am completing my MSc in Biology at UNBC studying physiological stress in Stone’s Sheep. I lived in Dease Lake until I was twelve then moved to Smithers for high school then to Prince George for my Undergraduate degree. I have a 1-year-old dog who makes sure I get out of my office for some fresh air every day.
What do you love about being at home in Tahltan territory?
I lived in Dease Lake until I was 12. Additionally, I moved back to Dease Lake for a year and a half after completing my undergraduate degree before returning to start my Masters program. What I enjoyed most about living in territory was the access to on the land activities. Most of my weekends were spent hiking and scouting for wildlife. Furthermore, I was happy to be close to family that I would otherwise not be able to see very often.
Your drive to be a role model and mentor to Tahltan youth is evident in your application essay to us. You clearly work to inspire and educate Tahltan youth. What motivates you to do this, and how do the youth in turn motivate you?
As somebody who spent most of my childhood in Tahltan Territory, I am aware that the opportunities for youth are limited. However, Tahltan’s are blessed to have relatively undisturbed land. While living in Dease Lake, I aimed to show the youth a way of enjoying this by taking them on the land and teaching them about predator management and wolf trapping. I intend to present my master’s research to high school students and to take some students out to help with my field work. I hope to inspire some youth to pursue some form of post-secondary education. Our youth are our future and I saw a lot of potential when working with them. As somebody who is still considered to be youth, I am motivated to provide a better future for our nation.
Recently, you were the acting Wildlife Director for Tahltan Central Government. Tell us a bit about your time there. What are some highlights from your time in that role?
Highlights for me as Wildlife Director were when I could get out of the office and into the field. This included wildlife surveys, captures and predator management – especially because it allowed me to see areas of Tahltan territory that I would otherwise not be able to see.
Importantly, what do you like to do in your free time?
I prefer spending most of my free time hunting and fishing and return to the territory to do so whenever I can. Along with my passion for the outdoors, I love to cook and am always looking for new ways to use the meat and fish from my hunting and fishing trips. I don’t have much access to the outdoor activities I enjoy while I’m in school, so my free time usually shifts to strength training and running. I also play in a rec hockey league in PG.
Thanks very much Westin, we appreciate your time! We here at Galore Creek wish you all the best in your ongoing studies and future endeavours.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your fellow peers, or your community?
First, I’d like to say thanks for awarding me this bursary. Second, I want Tahltans to know that there are other bursaries like this and plenty of opportunities for Tahltans to further their education to benefit their community. The more people that take advantage of these opportunities the better.