Adams Lake Band Kukpi7 (Chief) Lynn Kenoras-Duck Chief speaks to teams and supporters at the Shaw Centre’s Spectator Arena in Salmon Arm March 20 about the Secwépemc territory and flag, as it now hangs in place with the other flags in the arena. She and others spoke during the opening ceremonies of the BC Tier2 U13 championships running until March 23. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Adams Lake Band Kukpi7 (Chief) Lynn Kenoras-Duck Chief speaks to teams and supporters at the Shaw Centre’s Spectator Arena in Salmon Arm March 20 about the Secwépemc territory and flag, as it now hangs in place with the other flags in the arena. She and others spoke during the opening ceremonies of the BC Tier2 U13 championships running until March 23. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

VIDEO: Ceremony celebrates Secwépemc flag in Salmon Arm’s Shaw Centre arena

Flag honoured by teams in Tier2 U13 provincial championships taking place through March 23

Much cheering and applause filled the Spectator Arena at Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm Sunday night, but not solely for the hockey teams.

Although a warm welcome was given March 20 to all the Tier2 U13 players participating in the Provincials, they also witnessed a special ceremony that marked the addition of the Secwépemc flag to those flags flying above the ice.

After all the teams filed in, representatives from the Adams Lake and Neskonlith bands, including Salmon Arm Minor Hockey players, joined them on the ice carrying a Secwépemc flag. Following a song and drumming, several people spoke.

Adams Lake Band Elder Lucy Williams welcomed the visitors.

Adams Lake Band Kupki7 (Chief) Lynn Kenoras-Duck Chief spoke of how large Secwepemcúl’ecw – the Secwépemc territory – is, pointing out that if people drove to Invermere or Williams Lake, they would still be in Secwepemcúl’ecw. She said there are 12,000 Secwépemc people with 17 bands in the territory. She pointed out the flag has 32 feathers, however, to acknowledge “the 32 campfires we had pre-contact.”

She thanked teams and parents for coming and for supporting the athletes, and volunteer coaches for teaching the players about teamwork and relationships. She gave a special shout-out to hockey moms “as I’m a hockey mom,” she said to extra applause, and also to goalie moms and goalies.

“Shake it off, reset and play,” she smiled.

Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison said it was an honour to see the Secwépemc flag in the arena, and gave an enthusiastic welcome to everyone.

“It’s great to have you here, in person, in Salmon Arm,” he said to cheers.

He thanked people for travelling to the community from all over B.C. – from Burnaby to Fort St. John to Cranbrook – and thanked organizers, referees and parents. He wished the visitors a wonderful time in the community.

Neskonlith Knowledge Keeper Louis Thomas also welcomed the players and said maybe one day they’d be in the NHL – “playing for the Canucks, I hope,” he said to laughter.

Adams Lake Band Councillor Joyce Kenoras, who helped organize the flag celebration, said earlier it’s her goal to ensure that Secwépemc players can see their flag when on the ice and be proud to represent – all as part of reconciliation efforts in Secwepemcúl’ecw.

The bronze and gold medal games are scheduled for 5 and 8 p.m. respectively on Wednesday, March 23.

See the BC Hockey U13 Tier 2 Provincial Championships on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/252316640355711

Read more: B.C. hockey tourneys start in Salmon Arm, Vernon

Read more: Spruce Kings slip past Salmon Arm Silverbacks



martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison expresses his appreciation Sunday, March 20 for the Secwépemc flag now in the Spectator Arena at Shaw Centre, as well as welcoming all the teams who have come from all over B.C. to participate in the Tier2 U13 provincial championships, ongoing through March 23. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison expresses his appreciation Sunday, March 20 for the Secwépemc flag now in the Spectator Arena at Shaw Centre, as well as welcoming all the teams who have come from all over B.C. to participate in the Tier2 U13 provincial championships, ongoing through March 23. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Little Enisa Billy, daughter of Allison Echeverria and Lanny Billy, appeared to be enjoying the ceremony honouring the Secwépemc flag on March 20 at the Spectator Arena. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Little Enisa Billy, daughter of Allison Echeverria and Lanny Billy, appeared to be enjoying the ceremony honouring the Secwépemc flag on March 20 at the Spectator Arena. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)