Canim Lake Band celebrates from dawn to dusk

Members of the Canim Lake Band laugh as they play indigenous bingo on National Indigenous Peoples Day. The game involves each player rolling dice in search of a pair in a set time limit. The last person to successfully roll a pair wins the prize. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Members of the Canim Lake Band laugh as they play indigenous bingo on National Indigenous Peoples Day. The game involves each player rolling dice in search of a pair in a set time limit. The last person to successfully roll a pair wins the prize. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Ryan Christopher fries come hashbrowns on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Ryan Christopher fries come hashbrowns on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Lyndsay Dixon picks up some sausages for her neighbours in the Canim Lake Band. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Lyndsay Dixon picks up some sausages for her neighbours in the Canim Lake Band. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Kayden Radke (left) enjoys some breakfast with Carmon Pete and Adrian Archie on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Kayden Radke (left) enjoys some breakfast with Carmon Pete and Adrian Archie on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Macy Cunnigham paints a model canoe while celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day at the Canim Lake Band. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Macy Cunnigham paints a model canoe while celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day at the Canim Lake Band. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Bobby Christopher paints a model canoe while celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day at the Canim Lake Band. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Bobby Christopher paints a model canoe while celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day at the Canim Lake Band. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Dakota Boyce swipes his hand through a cloud of bubbles outside Eliza Archie Memorial School while celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Dakota Boyce swipes his hand through a cloud of bubbles outside Eliza Archie Memorial School while celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Joseph Archie, the Tsq’escenemc’s cultural enrichment worker, sings a prayer song during Tuesday’s celebration to mark National Indigenous People’s Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Joseph Archie, the Tsq’escenemc’s cultural enrichment worker, sings a prayer song during Tuesday’s celebration to mark National Indigenous People’s Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Canim Lake Band Chief Helen Henderson addresses several dozen members of the public during National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Canim Lake Band Chief Helen Henderson addresses several dozen members of the public during National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
100 Mile House RCMP Const. Jason Flett (left) attended Canim Lake’s celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day. Flett challenged community members to pop balloons using throwing darts in exchange for several prizes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)100 Mile House RCMP Const. Jason Flett (left) attended Canim Lake’s celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day. Flett challenged community members to pop balloons using throwing darts in exchange for several prizes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
100 Mile House RCMP Const. Jason Flett (left) attended Canim Lake’s celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day. Flett challenged community members to pop balloons using throwing darts in exchange for several prizes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)100 Mile House RCMP Const. Jason Flett (left) attended Canim Lake’s celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day. Flett challenged community members to pop balloons using throwing darts in exchange for several prizes. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

National Indigenous Peoples Day was celebrated from sunrise to sunset Tuesday at the Tsq’escen First Nation (Canim Lake Band).

Oshen Frank, the band’s wellness assistant, who co-organized the day with wellness manager Carmon Pete, said the full-day event was done in order to give every community member a chance to celebrate. From early morning sweat lodges for men and women to arts and crafts, Frank said there was something for everyone.

“It’s just a day of togetherness, both coming together as a community and also welcoming surrounding communities into our community,” Frank said. “It’s important to acknowledge where we are… our ancestors have been here for so many years and it’s important to acknowledge our heritage, that we’re Indigenous.”

The day included indigenous bingo, women’s bean games, a fishing derby, minigames, game tables and children’s bouncy castles. On the spiritual side, cultural enrichment worker Joseph Archie and program coordinator Tom Ned travelled an hour into the bush to offer prayer ties to Mother Earth, as their ancestors did.

“Mother Earth has provided us with so much and this is something we used to do a long time ago but now we’re getting back into those older ways of doing things,” Ned said. “When we take something from Mother Earth, it’s always nice to give something back.”

READ MORE: Public invited to Indigenous Day events in Clinton and Canim Lake

Ned said he’s hopeful that more band members will take up the old traditions when they hunt or forage in the woods. He added it’s nice “to get out on the land” to conduct ceremonies.

Chief Helen Henderson said she was happy to connect with the community on National Indigenous Peoples Day. Henderson said it was exciting to be able to gather and celebrate as a community again after two years of COVID-19 social distancing.

“In that isolation, we had a lot of time to reflect on our lives and what’s important to us,” she said. “Today is about healing, enjoying each other’s time and offering up our prayers to the Creator that we have a good summer.”

Part of the path to reconciliation, she said, is to celebrate days like National Indigenous Peoples Day and form new relationships with neighbouring communities. Henderson said she was proud that several members of the band were attending celebrations in other communities, including Williams Lake and Clinton.

108 Mile Ranch resident Catherine Davis, a Ministry of Forests strategic planning worker, was one of the non-Indigenous people who attended the celebrations with her daughter Macy Cunningham.

“It’s a pretty sensitive time right now but for them to invite us all in to be together is pretty important,” Davis said. “There are events at Macy’s school today but I thought being here means so much more. The Indigenous population is a very important part of who we are (as Canadians.)”



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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