PROPHET RIVER, B.C. — Prophet River First Nation (PRFN) celebrated its Treaty Days this weekend to gather, celebrate and educate individuals about Treaty 8 rights.
Treaty Days also provided a space for people to heal after multiple deaths in Indigenous communities over the past few months.
“The event aimed to uplift, educate, and heal the wounds of the Indigenous community, making them feel better after some tough times, significantly the recent increase in deaths within Indigenous communities,” said Devin Bellerose, Chief Administrative Officer at Prophet River.
The three-day event took place from August 25th to August 27th at the First Nation’s community grounds.
“For us, Treaty Days symbolizes the spirit of peace where we invite communities to experience our culture and traditions to form a cultural friendship,” said Belleorse.
He explained that it is essential for Indigenous youth to understand the historical significance of Treaty 8 agreements through an Indigenous perspective.
“Treaty Days celebrations weave the threads of unity by encouraging Indigenous youth to grasp the essence of Treaty 8, not merely as a legal document but as a sacred commitment to the land, animals, and fellow communities,” said Bellerose.
Among the activities organized were axe throwing, slingshot, moose cooking, and hand games. A Pow wow was also organized to celebrate the traditional singing and dancing.
Bellerose said participation in traditional activities has been identified as being important for fostering cultural identity and morale for First Nations.
Prophet River First Nation Chief Valerie Askoty said Treaty Days focuses on creating an environment of learning that allows Elders of the community to pass on their traditional knowledge to the next generation.
Bellerose said the youth received an education beyond textbooks during the celebrations, imparted by the community’s revered knowledge keepers.