Reflecting on the loss of Roy

To my own discredit I didn’t know Roy Morris, or Chief Woos, very well.

I had met him on less than a handful of occasions in the short time I’ve even been in this region.

Now only too late do I realize that it would have been to my benefit to have known someone who has obviously made such a big impact on people’s lives.

Where I had seen him is at official openings, where he’d wear his traditional clothing and offer blessings.

After talking to his cousin Rita George, following his death, I learned so much more about him.

A skilled fisherman and trapper, he had the amazing skill to be able to live off the resources of the land.

And a true gentlemen, it was knowledge that he passed to younger generations.

You may read in our story this week that he was excitedly looking forward to a cultural workshop that would have continued his teachings about his culture and history.

Over time and talking to members of the Wet’suwet’en I often wonder how the culture will be preserved in the coming years. I ask myself that after being told that the young generation has little attention for their heritage and traditional ways of life and culture.

I enjoyed the conversation I had with Rita last week as she talked about Roy, and as I learned about the traditions that follow someone’s death, I found there is a lot of knowledge that is just waiting to be shared.

People like Roy who not only teach about their culture, but in fact relish the opportunity to pass on knowledge, are treasures to everyone.

Like I say, I can’t claim to have known Roy, but I certainly have nothing but respect for the knowledge he carried and shared.

It’s people like him that will  keep knowledge and tradition alive. It’s part of the wonder and diversity of our collective community that we have people like that around.

 

Cameron Orr is the editor of The Interior News.