Salvation Army leaders were honoured guests at the 40th Annual B.C. Elders Gathering, which took place in Williams Lake, B.C., in July. The event was hosted by the Tl’etinqox, one of six Tsilhqot’in communities, along with their united support from the Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin), Secwepemc (Shuswap), Dene (Carrier), St’at’imc (Lillooet Nation) and Nuxalk (Bella Coola). The William Lake Corps, along with corps from the surrounding area, served breakfast to more than 3,000 participants all three days of the gathering.
The purpose of the event was to advance education in the histories, cultures and ways of Indigenous communities and in the experiences and contributions of community elders.
“The events included a totem pole unveiling, fashion show, Elder care, arts and crafts and an Elders talent show,” explains Major Shari Russell, territorial Indigenous ministries consultant. “The Gathering was an opportunity to build relationships, recognize contributions and appreciate the value that the Elders have to share with their youth.”
The Army’s delegation included Major Russell; Lt-Colonel Jim Champ, secretary for communications; Captain David MacPherson, corps officer, Nanaimo Community Church, and area commander, British Columbia Division; Captain Lisa MacPherson, corps officer, Nanaimo Community Church; and Jessica McKeachie, public affairs director.
“Being guests of the Elders was a great honour for us and a recognition of the special place the First Nations hold for The Salvation Army,” says Lt-Colonel Champ.