On the bright sunny morning of October 14th, a simple ceremony was conducted on the site of the proposed cultural centre and museum.
Approximately 45 people gathered to witness the signing of a 99-year agreement between the Cariboo Regional District and the Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society, under which the Society will lease a two-acre site from the Regional District.
The ceremony opened with a prayer offered by an elder from the Canim Lake Band in both Secwepemc and English, and was followed by drumming and singing performed by a group representing all five Northern Secwepemc member Bands.
Chief Mike Archie of the Canim Lake Band then welcomed our guests to the Northern Secwepemc traditional territory and spoke warmly about the project that is being pursued by the Society with the full support of the five Bands.
Society President Irene Gilbert and CRD Chair Al Richmond then exchanged gifts, and each made remarks about the project and its significance to the aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.
Society Secretary Graham Leslie then publicly thanked the numerous individuals and organizations that have helped the Society reach this important milestone. Many of them were able to be present at the ceremony.
Irene Gilbert and Al Richmond then signed the agreement which was witnessed by our solicitor Larry McCrea, and the ceremony concluded with the unveiling of a large sign advertising the site as the location of the proposed future cultural centre.
Refreshments were then enjoyed by the guests, consisting of bannock provided by the member Bands, bottled water and coffee donated by McDonald's in Williams Lake, and fresh fruit donated by Save-On-Foods of 100 Mile House.
The whole ceremony was conducted beneath a tent and on chairs supplied by Arcada Rentals of 100 Mile House, and the coffee was kept hot during the ceremony with the kind assistance of Vidas Restaurant.