Recent Wet'suwet'en News
June 26, 2015
In the Spotlight
François Depey started working with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en (OW) in 1996 as a field worker, identifying cultural heritage sites within the territory. Most of the information collected was unfortunately lost in the fire that burned the Moricetown OW office in 1997. It was a good lesson, learned the hard way, as none of the data had been duplicated. When François accepted the position of Geographic Information System (GIS) Coordinator with OW in 2000, he kept this incident in mind and promised himself that no collected information would be lost again. In more than 10 years with the OW Natural Resources (formerly known as Lands and Resources) department , François started a new GIS, created spatial data, produced maps and educational posters, trained staff in GIS skills, and managed contracts with other GIS contractors. More recently he has been involved in a project related to the six new provincial parks recently created within Wet’suwet’en territory. He joined a multidisciplinary team that developed management plans for those parks with guidance from Wet’suwet’en membership and leaders, and he is currently working on the preparation of collaborative stewardship agreements that will set out the role of the Wet’suwet’en in park management. François also worked on Collaborative Management with Parks Canada and the Inuvialuit people in Western Arctic in 1999 and with BC Parks in 1994.
François’ French origins often lead Wet’suwet’en members to believe he could belong to one of the two frog clans. In fact, the pronunciation of his last name in Wet’suwet’en means “mountain sheep” (see: http://www.firstvoices.com/en/Wetsuweten/word/3334785374beb2b8/mountain+sheep). Appropriately, Francois prefers wandering on mountains of the territory rather than sitting in front of his computer.