Indigenous celebration in Shuswap draws crowd

Indigenous celebration in Shuswap draws crowd

Beautiful day at Pierre’s Point to join national day to recognize Indigenous peoples

In the beautiful setting of Pierre’s Point, overlooking Shuswap Lake, young and old gathered under a blue sky and hot sun on Thursday, June 21 to recognize and celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.

The day included a welcome to the event from Bonnie Thomas and Adams Lake councillor Gina Johnny, an opening prayer, a welcome to the community from Adams Lake Chief Cliff Arnouse as well as many activities.

Young students scampered around the grass and participated in activities which included canoe rides, storytelling, dancing, and more.

Kenthen Thomas told stories, and Gerry Thomas explained how the chiefs always say his people are related to the mountain, because they get the material for their birch bark baskets from it.

“You look at the mountain and it’s our store,” he said.

He talked about the Secwepemculecw flag, which has 32 feathers on it. Those represented the leaders of the Shuswap Nation, but 15 are now gone, dying to disease many years ago, leaving only 17 leaders.

He also did a Bear dance, explaining that his grandmother presented him with the Bear.

Meredith Rusk spoke about the significance of the regalia First Nations dancers wear and the dances they do, which young Jayda Echeverria, who was wearing a jingle dress, helped illustrate with a lively dance.

Louis Thomas spoke about the land and his ancestors, how it was everything to them, and how things changed when they were forced onto reserves.

Nearly everyone present participated in a friendship dance, which meant forming a large circle to accommodate all the people there. People held hands and danced in a circle until one end broke off and snaked back to shake hands and warmly greet everyone going in the opposite direction.


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Indigenous celebration in Shuswap draws crowd

Indigenous celebration in Shuswap draws crowd