The City of Williams Lake and Williams Lake First Nation will be holding a naming ceremony for the Nekw7usem Bridge connecting the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island.
The 200-foot pedestrian bridge was completed in 2020 with the support of government grants and funding from the City of Williams Lake.
Williams Lake First Nation Chief Administrative Officer Aaron Mannella says Nekw7usem, pronounced neh-kwoh-sum, means Unity.
“Nekw7usem was selected in part of what it represents, that idea of one tribe or one family” Manella explains, “this concept of unity, which in 2021 as we continue to seek elements of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, it’s a critical concept, and truly this bridge will act as a symbol of what’s occurred in the past, but what optimally will happen in the future.”
According to Chief Willie Sellars, Scout Island was a sacred site for the Secwepemc people.
“In February 2018, the Supreme court of Canada ruled in favour of the Williams Lake First Nation by confirming our Secwepemc ancestors were displaced by European settlers,” Sellars says, “Our ancestors considered Scout Island a sacred site, a place of refuge, a resource for sustenance, and the location where spiritual healing occurred.”
CAO Mannella says the Williams Lake First Nation is proud, and grateful to the City of Williams Lake for designating the site, and allowing the naming to occur.