PHOTOS: WLFN hosts Indigenous Peoples Day, opens new trail

Elder Edith Wycotte, left, Thomas Schoen, Chief Willie Sellars, James Doerfling, David Archie and Arial Billyboy officially open the Cucwell Te Melamen trail. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Elder Edith Wycotte, left, Thomas Schoen, Chief Willie Sellars, James Doerfling, David Archie and Arial Billyboy officially open the Cucwell Te Melamen trail. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Arial Billyboy, 16, is a member of Williams Lake First Nation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Arial Billyboy, 16, is a member of Williams Lake First Nation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Watching the unveiling of the new trail at Williams Lake First Nation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Watching the unveiling of the new trail at Williams Lake First Nation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Viewing the opening of the new trail at Williams Lake First Nation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Viewing the opening of the new trail at Williams Lake First Nation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Guests enjoy trying out the new trail. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Guests enjoy trying out the new trail. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Edith Wycotte, 71, pauses for a photograph at the lookout on the trail. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Edith Wycotte, 71, pauses for a photograph at the lookout on the trail. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
A viewing platform is located about one kilometre along the new trail at Williams Lake First Nation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)A viewing platform is located about one kilometre along the new trail at Williams Lake First Nation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Charlie Ash, Hayley Swanson and Olivia Ash from Little Chiefs Daycare. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Charlie Ash, Hayley Swanson and Olivia Ash from Little Chiefs Daycare. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Rhonda Johnson, left, and Cecilia de Rose were selling some of their crafts. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Rhonda Johnson, left, and Cecilia de Rose were selling some of their crafts. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake RCMP officer Kevein Neufeld makes bannock in the shade of the pow wow arbor. He is wearing a special shirt his mother-in-law Bette McLennan made for him that represents his Metis heritage. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake RCMP officer Kevein Neufeld makes bannock in the shade of the pow wow arbor. He is wearing a special shirt his mother-in-law Bette McLennan made for him that represents his Metis heritage. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
RBC’s Cici Sterritt and Cor Van Horn donned orange shirts for the occasion and were handing out free swag for children. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)RBC’s Cici Sterritt and Cor Van Horn donned orange shirts for the occasion and were handing out free swag for children. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cody Wilson of Cody’s Bannock was busy making bannock the last few days. He said he prepared it for the TNG celebration held Friday, June 18, for Walmart on the weekend and he was here at Williams Lake First Nation on Monday, June 21. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Cody Wilson of Cody’s Bannock was busy making bannock the last few days. He said he prepared it for the TNG celebration held Friday, June 18, for Walmart on the weekend and he was here at Williams Lake First Nation on Monday, June 21. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
There were lots of activities for children to enjoy. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)There were lots of activities for children to enjoy. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Alice Billyboy enjoys a visit with Jacinda Bowe and her daughter Janeera Bowe. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Alice Billyboy enjoys a visit with Jacinda Bowe and her daughter Janeera Bowe. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Julie Doerfling and her four and a half month old son Ryder enjoy some shade on the trail while RCMP Const. Adam Hildebrand looks on. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Julie Doerfling and her four and a half month old son Ryder enjoy some shade on the trail while RCMP Const. Adam Hildebrand looks on. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake RCMP Constables Hildebrandt, left, and Bos. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Williams Lake RCMP Constables Hildebrandt, left, and Bos. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Velva Tenale prepares sxusem (soap berries) as part of the food she was serving, which also included salmon burgers. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Velva Tenale prepares sxusem (soap berries) as part of the food she was serving, which also included salmon burgers. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
The celebration was very spread out to make it possible for social distancing. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)The celebration was very spread out to make it possible for social distancing. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Under blue skies and brilliant sunshine Williams Lake First Nation hosted a National Indigenous Peoples Day celebration on Monday, June 21.

Held at the Chief Will Yum RV Campsite and Arbor, the event included vendors and activities, but also the grand opening of the new biking and hiking trail -Cucwell Te Melamen – which translates as “medicine trail.”

Cultural advisor David Archie thanked everyone for attending the ribbon cutting.

With help from siblings Charlie and Olive Ash from the Little Chiefs Daycare, Archie placed tobacco on the pathway at the 1,750 metre trail’s entrance. He also led a drumming song.

Elder Edith Wycotte gave an opening prayer where she asked that everyone be safe.

“As we bless this trail I ask the Creator to look after us all,” she said.

Chief Willie Sellars said it was uplifting to hear Wycotte find her voice and be able to speak in front of everyone and the cameras.

“There’s a part of healing in just that alone given the history of First Nations people in this country,” Sellars said. “We have been silenced for so long and there are so many steps we need to take in our healing.”

Aside from signify healing, the new trail will help create role models for healthy living and discussion, he added.

“Even walking this trail you will be able to take in some medicines.”

James Doerfling of Jimco Services who helped build the trail said he was excited for everyone to try it out.

“Thanks for letting us on your land. I hope you guys enjoy it,” he said.

Thomas Schoen of First Journey Trails Consulting thanked WLFN and the community for inviting he and Doerfling to help build the trail with them.

“You have been the original trail builders on this continent. You have been building trails for tens of thousands of years,” Schoen said. “We are hoping we can build a partnership where we learn from you and you can learn some of the technical aspects from us.”

Schoen thanked Brock Smith from Smith Timber Works for building the wooden structures on the trail, including a large viewing platform that is at the 1,000-metre mark of the trail and overlooks the valley.

Schoen shared a story about the Canim Lake community, where a grandmother told him and Doerfling that her grandson lost 30 pounds since they built a trail there a year ago.

“She cannot get him off the trail, he bought a bike,” Schoen said.

Read more: WATCH: Williams Lake First Nation breaks ground on multi-use bike trail project



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