B.C. First Nations elders gather on the Saanich Peninsula

39th Elders Gathering sees thousands of aboriginal communities represented through their elders.

Elders Gathering King and Queen Doug and Kathy LaFortune (form left) join Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation and Rebecca Harris of the Pauquachin First Nation greet elders from across the province during the grand entry on July 7.

Hand held aloft in traditional greeting, the King and Queen welcomed an estimated 2,500 elders to the WSANEC territory for the 39th Elders Gathering.

Doug and Kathy LaFortune are the Gathering’s royalty this year, representing the host nations of the Tseycum, Tsawout, Tsartlip and Pauquachin – all on the Saanich Peninsula. Chiefs Don Tom, Rebecca Harris, Harvey Underwood and Vern Jacks joined them on the main stage at Panorama Recreation Centre’s tennis facility to offer traditional greetings and help get the Elders Gathering started.

The event takes place over three days, starting today and continuing through July 9. The Elders Gathering is a celebration of First Nations elders from across the province. They are here to take part is a variety of workshops, health care activities and clinics, education, crafts and fitness. It’s also a large social gathering. Chair of the organizing committee Perry Lafortune has said for many of the elders, the event will be rolled into their summer vacation. He added there are excursions and activities planned for the elders, their families and caregivers through the Capital Region.

“We have to value our elders,” said Chief Vern Jacks (Tseycum) during the grand entry ceremony, “and talk to them with our hearts. To our visitors, First Nations and especially to those here who are non-First Nations, you have lots to learn from us. We really do respect one another.”

“It’s a great day to be alive,” said Chief Don Tom (Tsartlip), welcoming the thousands of elders and approximately 500 volunteers who will be working over the three days.

The arenas and parking area at Panorama Recreation Centre are filled to capacity with dining areas, First Nations arts and crafts displays and booths, a vendors area and a main hall (tennis facility) that will host a variety of speeches, events and entertainment in the evenings. Off site workshops takes place at Kelset School, across from Panorama.

Learn more about the 39th Elders Gathering and get a full program of events at bcelders2015.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Police respond to petition for new police agency on Lindsay Buziak murder case

Petition asks Public Safety Minister to to help find justice for slain realtor

North Saanich man fears tougher moorage policies could cost him his home

Stewart Jackson has been living on a boat off Lillian Hoffar Park for about four years

Grave site at Ross Bay Cemetery vandalized overnight

Graffiti found on grave of Sir James Douglas

Sidney dogs lose a beloved companion

Dozens gathered in Beacon Park to remember Sidney’s ‘dog whisperer’

Petition calls for suspension of Victoria councillor Ben Isitt

Isitt says petition ‘does not provide a reliable barometer of public opinion’

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Canadian Premier League announces 2020 home dates for eight-team circuit

Pacific FC hosts FC Edmonton on April 11 in Langford

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Most Read