Witset celebrated its name and identity last Saturday.
Formerly called Moricetown, named after a priest not known to be friendly to Wet’suwet’en traditions, the community’s name now means something akin to “first” or “the people of the first village.”
Speakers at the festivities included Chief Henry Alfred, Coun. Des McKinnon on behalf of the travelling elected Chief Victor Jim, Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach, and Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen. Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson also arrived to join in the celebration.
Children provided the music with violins and a prayer sang in Witsuwit’en by Amanda Lewis’s language class.
There was also a fundraising barbecue to send Grades 5-7 to the legislature in Victoria at the end of May, BINGO, and kids’ activities like a bouncy castle and colouring of t-shirts that read “We are Witset.”
The children also defeated the adults at a fun game of tug-of-war.
Families took the opportunity to take photos in front of a pair of handmade wings with the words “fly like an eagle” written in Witsuwit’en. The entire school contributed a feather for the wings, and images for the t-shirts. Stephanie Alfred’s design was chosen.