Tsilhqot’in chiefs and youths are preparing to host a gathering at Fish Lake Aug. 25 to 26.
It will be an opportunity to meet chiefs, elders and community members, try horse-back riding, fishing, great food and witness a talent show, music, tournaments and more.
“The youth are hosting the gathering,” Xeni Gwet’in Chief Marilyn Baptiste says.
Protecting Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and surrounding area is something Baptiste describes as an ongoing struggle in light of the proposed New Prosperity mine.
“The youth are wanting people to hear from them and hear the reasons why the land is important to them, why their culture is important, and why we need to save our territory.”
Baptiste says choosing Fish Lake to hold the gathering will provide the area’s supporters with the chance to learn more about Tsilhqot’in culture and territory and why protection of other water bodies in the area such as Nabas (Little Fish Lake), nearby Yanah Biny and the Dasiqox (Taseko River) are vital to First Nations communities.
“Fish Lake is a part of our caretaker area and a part of who we are. I’ve gone there since I was young when my dad was chief and he brought us there. He taught us not only about fishing, but how our people used to use a fish trap and where they would set a fish trap in Fish Lake,” Baptiste says.
People from all walks of life will say the fish will practically jump into their boats, she adds.
“The loons are amazing. It’s beautiful, amazing, peaceful and powerful to be able to sit there and watch and listen. You can see osprey or eagles fishing.”
Fish Lake is located three hours southwest of Williams Lake. For more information contact TNG mining, oil and gas manager J.P. Laplante at 250-267-3759 or organizing youth at 250-394-7020.