The Wet’suwet’en Tsayu, Beaver Clan, held a headstone feast Aug. 20 where Victor Jim raised the name Wigitimustol. The hereditary chief name was last held by Daniel Michell.
More than 100 people attended the feast in Moricetown, which began with the tug-of-war between the family and the community.
Pulling the headstone to the cemetery a year after the death of a loved one, the ritual allows the community to help the family release its grief and to free the soul of the one who has moved on.
During the feast that follows, the new hereditary chief oversees payment for the headstone and then raises up the name.
“This is a tradition in our culture since time immemorial,” said Jim.
Wigitimustol means Big Beaver Man.
Jim was supported at the feast by members of his family and clans of the Wet’sewet’en nation. Visitors included people from New Aiyansh in the Nisga’a territory.