The community of Tsi Deldel (Alexis Creek First Nation) hosted the annual Tsilhqot’in Nation Gathering Aug. 25-27 at Siwash Bridge Flats also known as Gwetsilh.
Originally the gathering was slated for mid-July at Puntzi Lake but a devastating forest fire forced a postponement of the event.
People came from far and wide across the Chilcotin to celebrate and socialize. All six chiefs of the Tsilhqot’in Nation were there including host Chief Percy Guichon, Tletinqox Chief Joe Alphonse, Chief Russell Myers Ross of Yunsit’in, Chief Francis Laceese of Tl’esqox, and Chief Bernie Mack of ?Esdilagh.
People gathered to have fun and catch sockeye and spring salmon making their way up the Chilko River to their spawning beds. The Chilko sockeye run continues to be one of the strongest sockeye run in the Fraser River system, still vibrant this year despite dwindling returns from other runs.
The chiefs reminded the gathering that the biggest reason for their successful opposition to the Prosperity and New Prosperity Mine proposals was to protect the Chilcotin River salmon.
The chiefs also urged Tsilhqot’in members to vote in the upcoming federal election (Oct. 19).
“Our First Nations vote could make a big difference in the outcome of the election,” said Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) Tribal Chair, Chief Joe Alphonse.
Chief Joe introduced Carla Alphonse who has been hired by Elections Canada to help First Nations people register to vote. She explained what identification people need to bring with them on election day, and invited people to talk with her to find out more information.
“Have your ID ready when you go to the voting booth,” she told the gathering. “ID must show your photograph, name and address.”
Also introduced was Karen Jim, Victim Services worker based at the Alexis Creek RCMP detachment. Karen had a booth at the gathering to explain the work she does serving the Chilcotin area from Riske Creek to Tatla Lake.
“We provide a 24/7 first response crisis intervention program,” she told the gathering. “It is free of charge to anyone who has been a victim of crime.”
Karen said her direct phone number is 250-394-4011 or she can be reached through the Alexis Creek RCMP at 250-394-4211.
A variety of games and activities took place over the three days including bingo, lahal, horseshoe throwing, archery, the moccasin mile race, fish gutting, bannock making, youth craft and game activities and a talent show.
By far the lahal bone game tournament was the biggest draw with 15 teams competing for the championship. People of all ages competed.