Indigenous taco truck owner provides Westside Road community with wildfire updates in lieu of food while evacuated
An Indigenous taco stand owner who was evacuated due to the wildfire decided to continue communicating with his community in an entertaining way while waiting to return home.
Okanagan Indian Band member Shane Miller, owner of BannockSlap Burgers and Indian Tacos, was evacuated due to the White Rock Lake wildfire last month so he decided since he couldn’t provide his Facebook group with updates on food, he could give updates on the wildfire.
Sept. 2 was hopefully his last update, he said in a Facebook Live, to his following of more than 2,000 people in his BannockSlap Burgers and Indian Tacos group.
The series of live videos were also accompanied by humorous posts and memes throughout the summer.
“Three, two, one, action,” he said in a video published Aug. 26 while waving a cardboard movie clapboard that reads BannockSlaps News. The post gathered 90 reactions and comments thanking him for the laugh.
“The group is my business and with (Westside Road) being shut down and the highway being shut down, it was hard being able to operate the food side… A great number of my supporters are Westside Road people and with them being evacuated and not really having any tourist action, it made more sense to close down,” he said.
Sometimes little communities in Killiney Beach, and Westshore past the Okanagan Indian Band land are left out of the loop, so he wanted to ensure they received updates on the wildfire situation.
Since he was going to be at his food truck every day, he thought the wildfire updates might provide some relief to folks, he said.
“I believe people loved it,” he said.
As of Sept. 3, Miller was still under an evacuation order in the Six Mile area but his taco truck along Westside Road wasn't under an order recently so he was able to provide updates from there, he said. The property was on and off an evacuation order, he said.
Miller has been staying at SilverStar for the last month along with other OKIB members who were evacuated.
August would have been his peak time for his business and also his one-year anniversary, “but it’s out of your hands, what can you do? You can get angry, you can get mad, you can get sad, it’s not going to help the situation,” Miller said.
He originally started cooking as a way to share his culture’s food as a backup plan when being a carpenter didn’t work due to health issues.
“I’m still trying to keep everybody hanging on to my page so they don’t lose interest… this time last year I was having people drive two or three hours to try my burgers or my tacos,” he said.
He’s also won an award for the 2021 Tourism Business of the Year award by All Nations Trust Company. He plans to have a big celebration once he’s able to return home since his birthday was also “quashed” due to the evacuation.
The White Rock Lake wildfire is currently classified as being held, meaning the B.C. Wildfire Service doesn’t think the fire will grow outside of its existing boundaries. No changes are expected with Central Okanagan evacuation orders and alerts over the weekend, according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre.
This weekend, he’s cooking for some friends in Chase and has given evacuees free meals while at SilverStar.
The Regional District of North Okanagan has rescinded some of its evacuation order and the Okanagan Indian Band has rescinded an order South of the Mudhole to Pinecrest Road including Qui Qui Tasket Road, excluding the Mini-Shadows Road today.
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