Newly sworn in, Chief Rita Matthew of the Simpcw First Nation told Band members, “I will do my best to be the best that I can be. I love my community, and the people in it. We must work together to make the community the way that we know it can be. I believe that people can only be happy when they are no longer dependent on anyone. I look forward to being a part of this team.”
Matthew and six Band councilors took an oath of office in front of their community members at Chu Chua on Monday, May 28, with guests from Barriere, Clearwater and surrounding communities attending.
During the ceremony Simpcw drummers performed the Honoring Song and the Unity Song.
Outgoing Chief Nathan Matthew spoke about the Band needing to be strong due to the many challenges facing First Nations people in today’s world. He thanked the Band for its support and said, “It’s been wonderful to be a part of the community, and to be a part of all the really neat things we do here in Chu Chua. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Each of the newly signed in Band councilors spoke as well; saying they were happy with the new team, and they were all looking forward to working together to help their community.
Band councilor Shelley Loring said, “My heart is happy. We really care about the future of our community, and we support each other.”
Band councilor Joni Miller said, “I will work for the community and the people so we are not dependent on the government, and so we can be self-sustainable. The previous council has put the fingerprints down for us to work with.”
Off-reserve councilor Darrell Eustache said, “I look forward to bringing the experience that I have learnt along the way to the community.”
Elections were held on Apr. 15 for chief and on-reserve councilors. Elected were Chief Rita Matthew, and councilors Tina Eustache, Tom Eustache, Joni Miller, Shelley Loring, and Daniel Saul. The off-reserve councilor, Darrell Eustache, was elected on May 27.
Simpcw First Nation is now working towards the hosting of the 2012 Secwepemc Gathering on Aug. 17 – 19. The event will feature a powwow, ball hockey tournament, slow pitch tournament, and fastball tournament. Organizers say they expect too see approximately 400 people from a number of Secwepemc bands attend the gathering, which will be held in Chu Chua. They encourage the public to take part, and advise more information about the event will be available soon.
– Jill Hayward