We Are Witset -- Village Celebration Planned
The transformation of Moricetown to "Witset" will take a major step forward early next month.
A village celebration is planned for the Multiplex on Saturday, May 5th, as the village continues to rebrand itself.
Witset is the original Witsuwit'en name of the community -- but it became Moricetown over a century ago, named in honour of a Roman Catholic priest who'd spent many years in Northern BC.
But last October, the Moricetown Band Council voted unanimously to change the community's name back to Witset, although it decided to implement the change slowly to give people a chance to get used to it.
This week, the local elementary school was re-christened Witset Elementary Secondary School.
The celebration on Saturday, May 5th, will begin at 10am at the Multiplex, and will feature speeches, shared stories, local music and even a "Bannock War".
== NEWS RELEASE ==
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Headline We Are Witset: a village celebration
Witset, BC - 5 May, 2018
As you know, the Moricetown Band Council voted to change their name to Witset
in October, 2017. As Lucy Gagnon proclaimed, “Witset is the name that our
ancestors gave to us and it is now returned to us.”
The Band invites everyone to join us in celebrating this historic act. On Saturday,
May 5 we will open the Multiplex to all, from 10 AM - 2 PM. The event will feature
speeches and shared stories, and local music, as well as many activities, like a
Bannock War and t-shirt painting; get your photo taken with the school display,
‘sggïgit k’in’a nïnt’ikh’ (fly like an eagle). Members are still planning, so more
activities will be announced in future. And, our Grades 5-7 class will be hosting
a fundraising BBQ, to support their upcoming trip to the Legislative Assembly.
Since October, various naming conventions have been turning over, the biggest
one being the Witset Elementary Secondary School (WESS), just this week.
Shortly, our website, our social media accounts and our email addresses will be
changing over: we have taken the slower, more judicious approach to allow our
partners, our members and our allies to become re-accustomed to the name
(because we understand that not everyone likes change!)
According to Chief Victor Jim, the word Witset means ‘first’ or ‘before anyone’
and the people from that village were known as Witset Wit’ene, or ‘the people of
the first village’. After our ancestors were forced to move further west to Tse
Cahk, Witset was referred to as Keyikh Wigit, meaning ‘old’ or ‘ancient village’.
We as a village are very proud to return to our original village name, in what can
only be described as a marvellous act of indigenous sovereignty. As a village we
say, “Dinï zeh; ts’ako zeh; tsky’ zeh!” (To the male chiefs, to the female chiefs,
to the children of the chiefs), which is our Witsuwit’en protocol introduction in a
traditional gathering. Please come and enjoy this celebration with us