At the 37th annual elder’s gathering in Prince George last week, the Penticton Indian Band was selected to host the 2014 version of the event.
“We worked really hard to pursue that. It was a team effort from our elders and myself,” said PIB Chief Jonathan Kruger, adding that the ceremony handing over responsibility was an amazing experience.
“We hosted an elder’s gathering back in 1997, where Joey Pierre and Caroline Pierre were the king and queen. And now we have a new king and queen, that’s Emory Gabriel and Vera Gabriel,” he said. “There is so much work that has to be done. Right now they are celebrating and when they get back the work starts. Already we are getting sponsors together. This is such a big event that we might have to get a coordinator to help us.”
Kruger estimates there were about 3,000 elders from around B.C. and other parts of Canada at the Prince George gathering, but expects there will be even more in Penticton.
“Because Penticton is so beautiful, I am estimating probably 4,000,” said Kruger. “We got a huge standing ovation and they were all so happy. We already booked the Trade and Convention centre for July 7,8 and 9.”
Kruger expects the elders will come together with the PIB youth, administration and the other bands of the Okanagan Nation Alliance will come together to make the 2014 gathering a grand event.
“We want to knock everyone’s socks off,” said Kruger.