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Indigenous friends, family drum outside Quesnel murder trial

Lake Babine Nation cultural ambassador drums for justice for his friend Carmelita Abraham

Carmelita Abraham danced in her ancestral ways during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremonies.

Wilf Plasway was right there beside her.

Carmelita Abraham busted out her modern rhymes for the governor general of Canada.

Wilf Plasway was right there beside her.

Carmelita Abraham died tragically young in a violent way, and now that a trial is underway to prosecute a man accused of her murder, Wilf Plasway is right there again.

“We performed at the Olympics, there was over 300 of us. We thought we made history by eliminating racism,” said Plasway at the entrance to the Quesnel courthouse, dressed in full regalia, drum in hand. He performed there in her honour, to give support to her loved ones as the trial winds down.

“It breaks my heart to see her family here. I considered Carmelita as my sister. I thank you all for being here in support,” he said to those gathered as they have been each morning during the six-week trial. “I will deeply miss my Olympic sister.”

Plasway and Abraham were both delegates to the Indigenous Youth Gathering, a pre-Olympic youth conference to learn of each others’ customs, demonstrate their respective cultures to one anther, take part in traditional learning, rehearse for the massive opening ceremonies spectacle in which they all participated, and perform for an estimated 3.5-billion people watching either in the stadium or on screens around the globe.

Plasway hails from the Lake Babine Nation and lives in Burns Lake.

Abraham hailed from the Takla Nation not far away from there, north of Fort St. James, and the culture of Plasway’s grandfather William West.

The two hit it off, through that process, and stayed in touch. He was always an appreciator of her talent.

“Carmelita rapped, performed, in front of Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean,” Plasway said. “It was breathtaking. I had goosebumps and right now I’m getting goosebumps because of what she has done. She was an amazing rap artist. I was hoping she’d make it big as an Indigenous rapper.”

Joseph Simpson of Quesnel is charged with one count of murder and one count of interference with a dead body.

He has been in custody since the remains of Abraham, 33, were believed to be discovered at the Willow Inn in Quesnel.

Carmelita went missing from Williams Lake on Dec. 27 or 28, 2021, where she had been staying at the Slumber Lodge. Her body was recovered Jan. 14.

The next in-person court date in the matter of her death is scheduled for June 7. Plasway plans to be back at the Quesnel Courthouse on that date.

READ MORE: Quesnel Courthouse ceremonies urged justice for Carmelita Abraham

READ MORE: Carmelita Abraham remembered as caring, unique by Williams Lake neighbour