Storyscapes Chinatown: “Know Where You Come From” – Rhonda Larrabee
This is my cousin Rhonda Larrabee. Actually she is my mother’s cousin. I knew Grand Uncle Art since I was a child, but I never met Rhonda until we started preparing a family reunion in 1999 for the Rev. Chan Yu Tan descendants. Previously I had heard of Rhonda, and that she had created a family tree, as I had similarly done. It was inevitable that we should meet, and
instantly like each other tremendously.
Rhonda is incredible. She has singlehandedly resurrected the Qayqayt First Nations Band. When she first applied for her Indian status, she was denied and was told that the Qayqayt “didn’t exist anymore.” Disappointed, she was shocked because clearly she existed, and her brothers existed, and her mother’s siblings still existed. A few years later… she applied again and was granted status. She was told “I guess you want some land now too.”
Rhonda was the subject of the award winning National Film Board documentary “Tribe of One,” directed by Eunhee Cha. It is the story of Rhonda and how she discovered her First Nations heritage at the adult age of 24, and how she claimed it, and became elected band chief.
There are some pictures of family attending the “Three Chinese Pioneer Families” photo exhibit at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives in 2002.
I am proud of Rhonda… and she is proud of me. We enthusiastically support each other in our endeavors, and especially with the Rev. Chan Legacy Project, and family reunions.