This past weekend, Peyal Francis Laceese, Stuart Kohut and Powell River filmmaker, Jeremy Williams, accepted MEC’s adventure grant award at the 19th Annual Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) held at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, BC. Pic Cred: unknown.
This fall the trio, along with a small support team, will walk 130 kilometres from Bute Inlet to Chilko Lake, Xeni Gwet’in Territory (Nemaiah Valley). The end result will be a documentary of their epic journey. Pic Cred: MEC.
Peyal, a member of the Tsilhqot’in First Nations, spoke of the nation’s history and the importance of making this journey during the group’s acceptance speech.
“This journey that we’re going to take on, this Tsilhqot’in land and coming in from the Homathco territory is going to be an amazing journey for us to express Tsilhqot’in title,” he said. “The Tsilhqot’in nation is one of the first and only aboriginals in the world to obtain title on their traditional lands.”
Over 150 years ago the Tsilhqot’in nation was drawn into a war with European settlers intent on exploiting the Tsilhqo’tin territory for gold. Six Tsilhqot’in chiefs were hung. “They were all fighting for what they believed in,” Peyal said. “It continues on for me, to be here today, to express that title, to show the world that we still live this way. We want to show the government what aboriginal title is; we want the whole world to know that aboriginal title exists.
The journey through the canyon will retrace history and explore the beauty of the Homathco River as it cuts through the coastal mountains. “We are planning to go in the fall when the water is low, so rivers don’t wash us away,” added Powell River filmmaker Jeremy Williams. “And hopefully, we will be back at the MEC awards next year to present our documentary of the journey.”