From left: Louisa Gray, Henry Bob, Hazel Nyce, Diane Smith, Marlene Robinson, Stephen Ward, and Maryanne Stanley in Winnipeg for the 2019 National Gathering of Elders from Sept. 9-12. (Maryanne Stanley contributed photo)

Northwest B.C. elders travel to Winnipeg for national gathering

Eight Nisga’a and Gitxsan elders joined thousands of Indigenous elders from across Canada

The Terrace Nisga’a Elders Association met with other First Nations, Inuit and Métis elders from across the country at a national gathering in Winnipeg this week.

“The gathering is similar to the provincial gathering of elders, but it’s huge,” says Nisga’a elder and group president Louisa Gray.

The 2019 National Gathering of Elders brings thousands of elders together to build ties and discuss collaboratively on a variety of topics, including missing and murdered Indigenous women, cultural preservation and traditional knowledge. The conference goes from Sept. 9-12, and is to be held every two years — the first one took place in 2017.

READ MORE: Kitselas holds first elder knowledge gathering event

“It means so much to us,” Gray says. “We get to witness different cultural events, we get to watch the dancers from different cultures like the Cree Nation and Nations from Ontario. Even provinces like New Brunswick — we don’t have an opportunity to meet other Nations unless it’s at the National Gathering. ”

Gray travelled with seven other northwest B.C. Nisga’a and Gitxsan elders, including Henry Bob, Hazel Nyce, Diane Smith, Marlene Robinson, Stephen Ward and Maryanne Stanley. The association began raising money two years ago to attend the gathering this week, collecting between $10-15,000 through several community events.

“We’ve had a lot of support from our families, they’ve just been incredible.”

The chance to meet with thousands of Indigenous people from across the country and participate in various cultural activities with them is a huge opportunity, Gray says.

READ MORE: Nisga’a Terrace Urban Local establishes as Gitlaxdax Society

The Terrace Nisga’a Elders Association first started out with 25 people, but due to tragedies and death, a lot of them dropped out, Gray says. With the amount of knowledge elders carry with them, it’s all the more important to have gatherings like this to bring people together from across borders.

“The opening ceremonies, the parade of Nations, is just breathtaking,” she says.

At the gathering, elders usually exchange gifts and souvenirs that represent their Nation with each other. Gray says the group brought Nisga’a pins for any elders they meet to remember them by.

And before the group left, Gray says she looked forward to meeting Nisga’a members living in other parts of the province.

“Some of them have always lived in Vancouver, and so we don’t see them that often. We’re pretty excited.”


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Prince Rupert’s ferry issue is a North Coast issue, MLA Rice

Prince Rupert not alone in fight to save ferry to Ketchikan: Alaskan Rep. Ortiz

Brand new vessel for Massett Marine Rescue

The Tagwaal was unveiled to the public Sept. 6

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Council Briefs: Village of Queen Charlotte

Child care and clean-ups on the agenda

Power restored to 120,000 customers after northern B.C. transmission failure

Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the outage, says BC Hydro

On the Wing: Small Yellow Flying Things

by Margo Hearne Distance doesn’t seem to deter migrating birds; they travel… Continue reading

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Largest driving factor is the province’s complex stumpage system that results in high fees, expert says

20 day search for missing Labradoodle in Princeton, B.C. ends with tears of joy

The search brought out bloodhounds, and groups hoping to find Mordy

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

Most Read