FORT NELSON, B.C. — Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) celebrated its Annual Celebration, formerly known as Treaty Days, this weekend to mark the historical significance of Treaty 8 and pay respects to their Elders.
The three-day event took place from August 11th to August 13th at Fort Nelson First Nation community grounds with the theme, “Honouring Our Elders.”
This event serves as a platform to showcase and celebrate Indigenous artistic expressions while also sharing the values and cultural heritage of the community, said Leah Mould, the event planner at FNFN.
The community has celebrated its Treaty Days for decades. The Annual Celebration originated as a community gathering to mark when treaties were signed between the Government of Canada and Indigenous people.
Mould explained that it is essential that Fort Nelson youth have an understanding of this historical treaty agreement and their legal rights as Indigenous people.
Mould said that this year’s theme, “Honouring Our Elders,” was chosen to recognize their sacrifices and contributions to the First Nation community.
“Elders hold a significant role in the First Nations community as they are the encyclopedia of knowledge and vital links to the past, making them an integral part of the First Nations,” said Mould.
Among the competitive activities organized were archery, axe throwing, target shooting, dry-meat making, and hand games.
The event also emphasizes reviving the traditional arts of Fort Nelson First Nation.
A traditional arts competition was organized on the sidelines of the event from August 12th to August 13th, focusing on traditional footwear, traditional clothing, and many other categories.
“The traditional arts competition is a way to educate and create awareness of Indigenous values to the future generations,” said Mould.
Members from many Treaty 8 First Nations made an appearance during the event, including Prophet River, Blueberry River, and Doig River First Nation.
Mould hopes the celebration will serve as a memorable occasion for the community by instilling a sense of pride in its rich history and Indigenous identity.