From left: Saik'uz Chief Stanley Thomas

From left: Saik'uz Chief Stanley Thomas

National Aboriginal Day

On the first day of Summer, Vanderhoof children gathered at the Saik'uz band office to learn Aboriginal traditions and culture.

Schoolbusses filled with children arrived at the Saik’uz band office on Friday, June 21 to celebrate National Aboriginal Day on the first day of summer.

Chief Stanley Thomas, his sister Maureen Thomas and his son Raymond Thomas were there to greet everyone with traditional songs and wearing traditional headdresses.

Even Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen was in attendance.

“I very much appreciate the connection between Vanderhoof and Saik’uz,” said Thiessen.

Maureen Thomas told the gathered children a story about a young hunter who refused to share his catch with his sister who then died. The story is meant to teach people the value of sharing and that no one can get anywhere in life without sharing with friends and family.

This proved an appropriate story for the occasion, on that day Amrik Virk, minister of advanced education, announced that the B.C. government is investing $4.4 million into aboriginal post-secondary institutions.

“We want Aboriginal learners in B.C. to be able to access education and training so they have the same opportunity as other British Columbians to participate fully in B.C.’s economy,” said Virk. “The Aboriginal Service Plans help Aboriginal communities and post-secondary institutions provide education and training opportunities and focused services for learners where they live, work and go to school.”

John Rustad, Nechako Lakes MLA and Minister of Aboriginal Relations also wished the province a happy Aboriginal day.

“Today is a very special day across Canada, created to acknowledge and celebrate the many contributions of Aboriginal people – whether they are First Nations, Inuit or M├ętis,” he said in a press release. “I wish all those of Aboriginal ancestry in B.C. a very happy National Aboriginal Day and encourage British Columbians of all backgrounds to take the opportunity to learn more about our Aboriginal neighbours.”

Rustad also announced his plan secure 10 new non-treaty agreements over the next two years and to continue working to close the gaps that separate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.