Author Carolyn Parks Mintz will be holding a book signing at Nuthatch Books in 100 Mile House on Oct. 25.
Resolve: The Story of the Chelsea Family and a First Nation Community’s Will to Heal by Parks Mintz explores the lives of the Chelsea family and their community.
Parks Mintz said the book signing will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
After struggling with their own alcoholism, the Chelseas chose sobriety and then worked to eradicate alcoholism and overcome intergenerational trauma in the community.
“It’s been a real learning experience and a very emotional journey for me about all First Nations in general, but particularly this family, that I became close to.”
Parks Mintz moved to Chase, B.C. in 2016 with her husband from Ontario and soon afterwards an author friend contacted her because he was writing a play about a community like Chase and wanted a few lines of the play developed in the Secwepemc language.
“I asked around town and found out that Ivy Chelsea taught the language at both schools in Chase and got hold of Ivy. I connected her with the playwright, she did the translation.”
Parks Mintz and Ivy hit it off and eventually, Ivy told her she was looking for someone to write her parents — Andy and Phyllis Chelsea’s life story.
“I’ve always been interested in First Nations culture and people — long story short — I met with her parents for three hours down here in Chase and I was totally impressed with them and saddened by what I heard.”
The Chelseas sent her away with an assignment to come up with a structure of the book.
“I came home and it was all there,” Parks Mintz recalled. “I wrote the introduction and then I met with them a couple of weeks later. It was so moving when Andy said to me, ‘you are the one. You will write our truth.’ I’m not Indigenous, but through this, the family and I became very close. In fact, I had to step back from it sometimes to write objectively.”
Parks Mintz said things the Chelseas told her were very personal and troubling and some nights she struggled to fall asleep.
“But we had to tell the story and the story of their village and how they saved themselves. The Chelseas never took all the credit.”
During the time she was working on the book, Andy was dying of cancer, but Mintz got all his interviews done by phone an hour or an hour and a half at a time. She completed his section, which, she said he liked and approved of.
Parks Mintz saw the Chelseas in April and May of 2017, even putting him in her guest room with a blanket one day in May so Andy could have a rest.
“While he rested I did some more interviews with Phyllis and then we lost him the next month on June 27, 2017. I hope the book will educate and illuminate people about what has happened to our First Nations and what continues to happen in our country. I come across people who know nothing about it.”