Thousands of elders attended Tuesday’s grand opening of the 40th Annual BC Elders Gathering in Williams Lake.
“What a beautiful day it is to see all of our elders gathered in our own territory,” said Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Ann Louie, as she welcomed everyone inside the Cariboo Memorial Complex arena.
“How blessed we are to have you all here.”
Praising all the volunteers and sponsors, Louie said without them the event would not have been possible.
“Please have fun this week and enjoy visiting with our elders who teach us all that we need to know in our daily lives and routines,” Louie said.
Tletinqox Chief Joe Alphonse, whose community won the bid to host the gathering, took the opportunity to remind the audience of the Tsilhqot’in win of rights and title in the Supreme Court two years ago.
“It’s not just a Tsilhqot’in win, it was a win for all First Nations,” Alphonse said. “We would not have won that if it wasn’t for many First Nations challenging and saying this is not right, this is not acceptable, that we matter and we are going to stand up for what we believe in and continue to move our issues forward.”
The gathering goes until Thursday.