A new chief and six councillors were sworn in for the Simpcw First Nation’s band council at a ceremony that took place in Chu Chua, May 31.
Shelly Loring took the honours as new chief and was sworn in alongside councillors George Lampreau, Tina Donald, Ron Lampreau, Edward Celesta, Alison Eustache, and off reserve representative Lori Eustache.
After an introduction of traditional drums and singing, members took their oaths with an eagle feather in hand, followed by a speech from the new band council leader.
“I would like to thank our elders for coming tonight to witness this ceremony—my heart is happy,” said Loring.
“One of the things I was thinking when I was driving up here was, I would like to see the elders lead us in; our elders represent the generations that are here now and the generations that have gone before us.”
She added the elders are the ones who’ve paved the way for Simpcw First Nation, going through the hardships and experiencing happiness as well as loss and struggles for their people.
They’ve been the ones who’ve fought for the privileges, the rights and the protection of their water and land and everything that walks upon it, Loring told the audience.
“And that’s how I look at the elders that welcome us in today; I have to raise my hands to (them) and say thank you, I will not forget you.”
Also during her speech Loring brought the significance of the eagle feather to attention, which each of the recently sworn in members held while they swore their oaths.
It wasn’t seven different feathers from seven different eagles, she explained, but one feather from one eagle, signifying that the new chief and councillors made the commitment together as one.
“One feather, one community and one council to work together no matter how hard it is,” Loring said.
“In this feather I also see my commitment to working together within the Simpcw Nation and with all the other First Nations across Canada; that was the commitment I made when I accepted this feather.”