Esketemc Secwépemc gathering begins

The community of Esket will host a Secwépemc gathering this weekend.

The community of Esket will host a Secwépemc gathering this weekend.

Starting today, July 22, the Esketemc Secwépemc Gathering will run until Sunday, July 24.

Included in the three-day event will be the lighting of the Secwépemc Gathering Sacred Fire, as well as stick games, a powwow, ball hockey, fashion show, baseball, volleyball, paintball, triathlon, language fair, bingo, arts and crafts, dances and more.

Henry Johnson, Secwépemc Gathering co-orinator, invites everyone to attend the free event that takes place at Esket/Alkali Lake — 31 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake on Dog Creek Road.

“Everyone is welcome,” Johnson says. “Any and all colours and races, creed, religions ….  This year the Esket Nation has the privilege of hosting the 24th or 25th annual Secwépemc Gathering, and it’s something that each Secwépemc band has the opportunity to host.”

On Sunday, the Esketemc community will pass the staff over to the next host community, which will be a band south since north and south bands alternate as host each year.

The schedule of events is as follows:


6 to 10 a.m.: sweat at the sweat lodge

7 to 9 a.m.: breakfast

9 a.m. to 10 p.m. : sports

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: lunch

11 a.m. Lawrence Society Van.

noon to 5 p.m.: bouncy toy

1 to 11 p.m.: powwow, beginning with grand entry

3 p.m.: opening welcome ceremonies, lighting of the sacred fire

4 p.m.: cultural competition

6 to 8 p.m.: dinner

7 to 10 p.m.: sweat at the sweat lodge

7 p.m. to 1 a.m.: stick game

7 to 11 p.m.: paint ball

9 p.m. to 1 a.m.: youth dance


6 to 10 a.m.: sweat at the sweat lodge

7 to 10 a.m.: breakfast

9 a.m. to 10 p.m. : sports

9 a.m. to 10 a.m. : powwow warmups

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: powwow

1 p.m.: grand entry

1 to 4 p.m. bingo-hall

2 to 5 p.m.: powwow

4 p.m.: cultural competition

6 p.m.: dinner

7 p.m.: grand entry

7 p.m. to 2 a.m.: stick game

7 to 10 p.m.: fashion show

7 to 11 p.m.: paintball

8 to 11 p.m.: powwow

9 p.m. to 2 a.m.: dance


6 a.m.: sweat

7 to 10 a.m.: breakfast

noon to 2 p.m.: lunch

3 p.m.: powwow, closing crowning at the arbor, cultural competition, presentation, stick game award presentations, passing of the Secwépemc staff to the next Secwépemc representative, and closing by Chief Fred Robbins and council.


Other upcoming events are as follows:

Friday, July 22: CUSO-VSO presentation

The Canadian Universities Service Overseas will present at a potluck dinner at the Scout Island Nature Centre from 6 to 8 p.m. Topics will include health-related issues, including mental health, public health, disabilities, and education.

Tuesday, July 26: nature challenge at Scout Island

From 6:30-8 p.m. try your skills at catching bugs, finding nests and other nature challenges to lead you to a treasure.

Friday, July 29 to Monday, Aug. 1: ArtsWells

The eighth annual ArtsWells Festival of All Things Art takes place in Wells. Musicians, visual artists, dancers, and more will be included in the three-day weekend. Tickets are on sale now through; Island Mountain Arts at 1-800-442-2787 and at a number of retailers across northern B.C.

Tuesday, Aug. 23: Lake paddle at Scout Island

From 6:30-9:30 p.m. you can paddle the lake in a giant Voyageur canoe, then listen to Anna Roberts share her fascination with bats.  If the weather’s good, you might even see and hear (through Anna’s bat detector) the bats swoop down from their caves to feed over the lake.