Gathering at the river

Our First Nations neighbours to the west will host a Secwepemc Traditional Gathering in celebration of World Rivers Day at the Salmon River Delta Sunday, Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Critical asset: Gerry Thomas looks at the Salmon River

Our First Nations neighbours to the west will host a Secwepemc Traditional Gathering in celebration of World Rivers Day at the Salmon River Delta Sunday, Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

And the whole community is invited.

Unlike today’s more commercial powwow, Bonnie, daughter of the late, much-loved elder Dr. Mary Thomas, says her mother remembered traditional Secwepemc gatherings.

“My mother told me about going to Kamloops to meet once a year, a trip that took one week by horse,” says Thomas of the gathering of the Shuswap Nations. “There was drumming, singing, games, story-telling and my mother said one of the things she remembers was people would get up and speak.”

That is what will be recreated Sunday, with a focus on water.

Experience traditional Secwepemc ceremonies, legends, dancing and their deep understanding of the land.

Learn about the delta and a major restoration plan that includes cultural values and traditional uses.

Sunday’s celebration will also provide an opportunity to learn what community partners are doing corroboratively to monitor the Salmon River delta environment toward better protection and sustainable river use and the exciting economic eco/cultural tourism initiative benefiting the entire Shuswap region, says Dorothy Argent, co-chair of the Switzmalph Society and co-ordinator of Sunday’s event.

Numerous groups, organizations, and river experts will be on hand to celebrate the spectacular Salmon River heritage.

Displays and vendors will be set up beginning at 11 a.m. and visitors are invited to bring a dish to share in a community pot-luck lunch between  noon and 1 p.m. Salmon and bannock buns will also be available for purchase.

The weather is expected to be great, making for ideal tours along the Salmon River delta trails.

Following lunch, the formal part of the proceedings will begin with an opening prayer at 1 p.m.

Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson, and Chief Wayne Christian of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council will be on hand. Other presentations and a fundraising duck race will follow until 4 p.m. Visit info@switzmalph.com or call 250-253-4007 for more information.

 

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