(Prince George, BC) – BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry was invited to present as a dignitary to the 37th BC Elders Gathering Conference in Prince George, BC at the University of Northern British Columbia earlier today. There were approximately 1000 elders from mostly First Nations communities but there was Métis representation.
The conference was hosted by Lheidli T’enneh Nation which is a First Nation community near Prince George. The conference brings together elders from throughout British Columbia who attend workshops and celebrate and share stories. There were a number of Métis delegates in the audience who attended primarily from Prince George. President Henry was requested to speak about how he honors his journey in life today.
BC Metis Federation President Keith Henry stated, “This was an emotional day for me. My grandparents were special in my life so I shares a bit about my history and story. I made a number of points about how I honour my journey and what I see as a vision where First Nations and Métis find more ways to work together while honouring protocol and support one another.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added, “It was interesting to see an MNBC representative attend and speak about her story but I was left feeling confused about the message of this organization. Her message was about incorrect interpretations in the recent Daniels Case and Métis rights, improperly quoting Tom Flanagan as “Jim” , calling the recent Manitoba Métis Federation land claim victory which we know today is not the case, and other political messages that I did not feel were necessary here. On a more positive note she shared a compelling message about her life story and I applaud her strength and perseverance.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry further added, “My message to encourage the elders from First Nation communities throughout BC to understand the importance of working together appeared well received. I provided examples of how the BC Métis Federation respects First Nation protocols and how we have supported First Nations on a number of fronts. I stated that one of my most proud moments was signing the Save the Fraser Declaration in December 2012 as the only Métis organization invited to do so in British Columbia. I also let delegates know how our organization and members stood together with Musqueam during the issued at the Marpole Midden in Vancouver last summer.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “It truly was an honour to address the hundreds of delegates. Thank you to Lheidli T’enneh Chief Frederick(Domo) for the kind invitation and support. Thank you to Union of BC Indians Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip for letting me know that he really appreciated my presentation, vision, and story about how I honour my journey each day. We need to ensure more of our Métis elders participate in future BC Elders Gatherings because it is the Elders who ensure our Métis culture is alive and thriving today. Thank you to all Métis elders, especially our Métis Silvertip Swingers, you all make me so proud to be Métis.”
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
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[ilink url=”wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Press-Release-July-11th-2013-Elders-Gathering.pdf” style=”download”]Elders Gathering Press Release[/ilink]