Youth in the spotlight at annual Sto:lo gathering

Get ready for a chili and bannock contest, lunch served by the Chiefs, a dunk tank, tours, archery and slahal demonstrations and more

A traditional food contest for smoked salmon

It’s clear recognition that young people are the community’s future leaders.

“Honouring Our Youth” is the theme of this year’s Stó:lō Gathering, Saturday, July 26, on the Coqualeetza grounds in Chilliwack.

Organizers will put the spotlight on community achievements and will honour successes with a cultural celebration.

“The event is hosted by Stó:lō Nation Chiefs’ Council,” said Francine Douglas of Stó:lō Tourism. “It’s an opportunity for families and community members to see the chiefs in person and interact with them.”

Several chiefs from the 11 communities that make up Stó:lō Nation will be in attendance, barbecuing salmon or serving the public.

It’s the fourth annual Stó:lō Gathering, and they’ll be highlighting some success stories from around the territory.

The gathering starts with a traditional welcome song. There’s chili and bannock contest, lunch served by the Chiefs, a dunk tank, tours, archery and slahal demonstrations, crafts, and more.

Several young people active in local youth groups have taken on leaderships roles in the community, including one that provides traditional drumming and singing for special events.

“These youth have grown up in the culture,” said Douglas. “Everyone is proud of the work they are doing.”

There’s awareness that some will eventually step up to take on roles as chiefs, band councillors, and business people.

“Being submerged in the culture from an early age, it makes a difference, and we’re recognizing them for it.”

There are two contests at the July 26 gathering, one for traditional foods, including salmon, smoked salmon, chili and bannock, as well as an aboriginal art contest for kids. The public can have a vote for their favourites if they’re on-site early enough in the morning. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  See more at http://www.stolonation.bc.ca

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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