Elder Elmer George

Talking stick tradition comes to B.C. legislature [with video]

Totem symbolizes Coast Salish tradition of respectful listening, with little effect on ill-tempered debate in Victoria

Aboriginal elders brought a Coast Salish talking stick into the B.C. legislature this week, in a solemn ceremony that had little lasting effect on the heckling and interruptions of political debate in Victoria.

A replica of the totem pole on the grounds of Government House, the ornate stick represents the right to speak and receive a respectful hearing in aboriginal tradition. It was carved by Songhees artist James Delorme and presented to former Lieutenant Governor Steven Point in 2011 at a ceremony to mark the official naming of the Salish Sea.

Current Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon was on hand May 11 to present the stick to B.C. legislature Speaker Linda Reid, with a ceremonial prayer in the SENCOTEN language by elders Elmer George and Mary Anne Thomas.

“We present it to everybody this House but also to everybody that may come through these doors in the future,” said Chief Ron Sam of the Songhees Nation.

Reid said in a statement the talking stick will remain in the legislature until the next election in May 2017.

After the ceremony, Reid continued her struggle to maintain order in the rancourous debate of question period, which has declined more frequently into shouting matches as the next election approaches.

 

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

Just Posted

Column: Grade school students don’t have a voice during COVID pandemic

As adults weigh pros and cons of returning kids to school, is anyone asking kids what they think?

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Chilliwack Salvation Army to give away free laundry detergent and more at drive-thru event

They will be handing out Tide detergent, toothpaste and eggs to anyone who is in need

SLIDESHOW: Chilliwack firefighters battle large blaze at Rosedale chicken barn Friday

Majority of birds saved but buildings on Castleman Road destroyed by fire

Chilliwack Fair kicks off tonight with local talent

Todd Richard and Appaloosa to hit the stage for drive-in concert at fairgrounds

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Twister at the Chilliwack SPCA

Small animals like rats are one of the first to be surrendered and last to get adopted

University of Victoria, rowing coach sued over alleged ‘fat shaming’ and verbal abuse

Lawsuit says Barney Williams subjected coxswain Lily Copeland to offensive and belittling language

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Fraser Valley Bandits fall to Edmonton in CEBL final

Bandits lose 90-73 to Stingers in Sunday’s Summer Series final

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

Most Read