Witset violin group performing at a fundraiser April 12. Contributed photo

We Are Witset: a village celebration

The Band formerly known as Moricetown invites all to celebrate the name change to Witset May 5.

As you know, the Moricetown Band Council voted to change their name to Witset in October, 2017.

As Lucy Gagnon proclaimed, “Witset is the name that our ancestors gave to us and it is now returned to us.”

The Band invites everyone to join us in celebrating this historic act. On Saturday, May 5 we will open the Multiplex to all from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The event will feature speeches and shared stories, and local music, as well as many activities like a Bannock War and t-shirt painting; get your photo taken with the school display, ‘sggïgit k’in’a nïnt’ikh’ (fly like an eagle).

Members are still planning, so more activities will be announced in future. And, our Grades 5-7 class will be hosting a fundraising barbecue to support their upcoming trip to the Legislative Assembly.

Since October, various naming conventions have been turning over, the biggest one being the Witset Elementary Secondary School (WESS) just last week. Shortly, our website, our social media accounts and our email addresses will be changing over. We have taken the slower, more judicious approach to allow our partners, our members and our allies to become re-accustomed to the name (because we understand that not everyone likes change!)

According to Chief Victor Jim, the word Witset means ‘first’ or ‘before anyone’ and the people from that village were known as Witset Wit’ene, or ‘the people of the first village.’ After our ancestors were forced to move further west to Tse Cahk, Witset was referred to as Keyikh Wigit, meaning ‘old’ or ‘ancient village’.

We as a village are very proud to return to our original village name, in what can only be described as a marvellous act of Indigenous sovereignty. As a village we say, “Dinï zeh; ts’ako zeh; tsky’ zeh!” (To the male chiefs, to the female chiefs, to the children of the chiefs), which is our Witsuwit’en protocol introduction in a traditional gathering.

Please come and enjoy this celebration with us.

– Submitted article

 

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