Assembly of First Nations (AFN), National Chief RoseAnne Archibald paid a visit to the Cariboo Chilcotin Sunday, Oct. 3, taking time to meet and visit with members of the Tsilhqot’in and Secwepemc First Nations.
The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) held a salmon ceremony at Farwell Canyon where Archibald attended.
“While in Tsilhqot’in title lands I was bestowed a beautiful shawl in a ceremony where they sang and drummed the ‘women’s warrior song’ as they placed the shawl around my shoulders,” Archibald noted on her Facebook page. “I was also gifted a bear claw necklace by Joyce Cooper who stated she had it for eight years and was told she would one day give it away and she would know who to give it to would come to her. Joyce is also the spokesperson for the Tsilhqot’in Women’s Council, which forms a part of the Tsilhqot’in National Government structure.”
Archibald said she was also humbled and honoured when Chief Francis Laceese gifted her his coat, literally off of his back as she admired the national government logo on his coat. As she left his son, Peyal, handed her his deer hoof necklace.
“I was grateful for the strength, kindness and generosity of the Tsilhqot’in People,” she noted.
Archibald’s last stop on the road that day was Williams Lake First Nation, where she was invited by Chief Willie Sellars to visit T’exelc.
Sellars gave the national chief a tour of their new administrative offices and toured a community sweat lodge site where WLFN women were building a women’s sweat. They also held a ceremony with her and the community’s elders.
“This small but mighty community is progressive and hold onto their traditions with much honour and humility,” Archibald noted.
“As we left the community, Chief Sellars brought me to the site of the former institute of assimilation and genocide known as St. Joseph’s Mission where the Chief and I put tobacco down for all of the little children who didn’t make it home and to those who did but suffered so much. I could feel the heaviness of the energy there and prayed those little souls who perished there will find peace.”
Archibald was elected national chief in July 2021 by the AFN Chiefs and proxies and is the first woman elected to the National Chief position. Previously, Archibald held the position of Ontario Regional Chief.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
Sellars said it was an honour to have the national chief visit the community.