A barbecue lunch followed by cake and music was held outside of the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s Negotiations Office in Williams Lake to mark the 15th anniversary of Denisiqi Services Society.

Taking part in the celebrations Friday afternoon was Tl’esqox (Toosey Band) Chief Francis Laceese who is also the acting president of the Society.

“I’m feeling great,” Laceese said.

“We have a very good board and all the staff, and the previous board and staff to get to this point today.”

Laceese said he has been involved with Denisiqi for about 13 years as a board member or sitting at the Chief’s table.

“It’s come a long way to where it is today,” he said.

“At present we are a delegated model which is working fairly closely with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, but just in the recent month or so there’s been legislation that has changed at the federal level so that we’d be able to push ahead as a Nation to take over the control and jurisdiction of children and families. That’s been what we’ve been working towards, but using the delegated model to build up our infrastructure and our staff and just the direction that we need to go as a Nation.”

Denisiqi Services Society’s purpose according to its webpage is to sustain, support, and enhance family and community life, thereby maintaining children in their own home, or when necessary, seeking custom care families to care for the children.

“It comes right down to the children of the Nation,” Laceese said.

“In order for a Tsilhqot’in person or child to be a strong person they need to have their culture, their language, and just to be out on the land and the rivers and the lakes. That’s what makes a person strong in our Nation and the best way to be that is as a child and to grow up knowing that, and after that, they can pursue if they want a career or come back and work for the Nation, but they’ll be that much stronger.”