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Gathering Around the Fire, Welcome Speech

WRITTEN: August 10, 2012 - AUTHOR:

George Miller

Chair, Kaska Dena Council

Friday Night at the Kaska Feast

Daylu (Lower Post), British Columbia

Date: August 10, 2012

Good evening,

It is my honour as chair of the Kaska Dena Council to welcome you all to the Kaska Feast this evening.

This is an historical gathering that I am proud to be a part of, both as chair of the Kaska Dena Council and as a member of this community, and it is wonderful to see so many of us gathered together.

I want to extend a welcome to the Tahltan and Tlingit leaders and people.  In the years of discussion that we have had on reconciliation, we have all agreed that the residential school must be addressed and that healing is our priority.  This unites us now, and has brought us together in this historic way.

Welcome to Treaty 8 and Yukon First Nation leaders and people.  The impact of the Lower Post Residential School had a wide spread impact affecting our Northern Nations and we welcome you back to Lower Post to stand united with us in these next days.

I want to especially welcome the former Lower Post Residential School students.  You are the honoured guests of this gathering.

I want to recognize the courage and strength that it has taken for former students to come back to lower post and I want to recognize as well, the courage and strength that it took for those of you who chose to stay and live here.

It is your strength and courage that we will be honouring and celebrating over the next few days.

Welcome to all the families and friends who have made this journey to support those who were students in Lower Post and welcome to all of those who have come to witness.

Over the next few days we will also celebrate and acknowledge with pride our language, our traditions, our land, and our existence as First Nations.  Welcome to all of our drummers, dancers, musicians, and performers who have come to celebrate our culture with us.

Over the next few days we will enjoy our traditional foods prepared by Kaska, Tahltan, and Tlingit cooks, and I want to welcome all the cooks to this gathering.  I want to give thanks as well to those who provided the traditional foods.

Thank you to the Kaska cooks for the hours of work you have put into preparing tonight’s delicious feast for us.

We look forward to the feasts being prepared by the Tahltan and Tlingit cooks that we will enjoy on Saturday and Sunday nights, and I want to thank you in advance for the hours of work that are going into preparing those feasts.

Thank you also to the community of Daylu, for making this gathering possible.

In closing, I want to reiterate what an honour it is to be present at such an important gathering.  It is my hope that this gathering will be a significant step in the healing of our Northern Nation communities and former residential school students.

Mussi Cho

PO Box 9, Lower Post, BC V0C 1W0
Phone: 250.779.3181 | Fax: 250.779.3020