Opinion

LETTER: We can all learn something from local First Nations culture

Editor:

I was fortunate to be invited to accompany a group of Japanese students and their teachers to the Skwah First Nation reserve at the top of Wellington Street.

I have lived in Chilliwack since 2006 and never realized what a beautiful part of Chilliwack this was. The river and the riverbank were so calm, beautiful and peaceful.

The students had such a good time learning about the Skwah culture and traditions from the entertaining Williams family. Mr. Williams Sr. and his extended family (sons, daughters, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, brother) all entertained us with traditional drumming and song.

One of the Williams sons also demonstrated his talent—he creates beautiful drums made from animal hide. Gorgeous drums.

They told of the tradition of the canoes and very proudly told of their family being medal winners at the Native games presently being held in Regina and spoke of other winners from their reserve.

The canoes were just amazing, seating more than 10 people at a time. The Japanese students were taken on a canoe ride down the river and loved every moment.  It will forever be part of their memories of their visit to Chilliwack and Canada.

I learned so much myself and know that the Japanese visitors came away with a real understanding and appreciation for the Skwah First Nation and their culture and traditions.

It was a very special day for me and I know that many in Chilliwack are unaware and unappreciative of the culture and tradition of these wonderful people. I learned so much, and have the Williams family to thank. I will be sharing the stories and traditions with my own family and friends.

A visit to the Skwah First Nation would make a very educational visit for everyone in Chilliwack and beyond. Keep up the good work and keep sharing your beautiful stories and traditions. We can all learn something.

Andrea Dunphy

Chilliwack

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