Despite an intensive previous five weeks where members of the Xeni Gwet’in community were dutifully involved with the New Prosperity environmental review hearings, July 22 to Aug. 23, members of the community kicked back over the Labour Day long weekend for their 21st Annual Britanny Gathering at Henry’s Crossing.
This was the first year the Britanny Gathering has been held at the end of summer. Previous years it was always held in May.
What made the end of August so appropriate was the plentiful run of Chilko sockeye salmon coursing up the Chilko River next to the gathering site at that time of year.
One of several contests held at the gathering was the fish-gutting competition. This was the first year that perennial winner Minnie Charleyboy didn’t claim the top prize. That when to the younger and sprier Evans Stump.
Newcomer to the event was youth, Skem’cis Phillips, who stuck it out to clean both his fish even though the other competitors were done. He got some helpful advice from judge James Lulua and fellow competitors, Donald Haller, Evans Stump and Minnie Charleyboy. So next year look out.
Other events included lahal games, horseshoe pitching, archery, “Indian” bingo, and a talent night with performances by a range of contestants from 90-year-old Mabel Solomon to her five-year-old grandson Kaylem Solomon. Young Kalem placed third, but other results were not immediately available at press time.
Other performers included David Lulua, Ronnie Solomon, Bernie Solomon, Cherylin Laurent, Tamara William, Sierra William, Shenna Setah, Lottie Johnny, Jo-Ellyn Quilt, Chiotin Alphonse, Conway Lulua, Chief Roger William, Joyce Cooper, Ivor Myers and Nicole Martin.
Gene Cooper placed first in the archery competition, followed by his brother, Chief Roger William. Even the RCMP got involved, but couldn’t beat Gene or Chief Roger.