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A meeting of Nations

Joining of flames represents shared aspirations, territory of Squamish and Lil’wat



The Olympic flame had one extra stop to make before coming to the Whistler cauldron last Friday.

A small crowd composed mainly of members of the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations gathered before the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. They assembled around a circle of drummers, among them Squamish Nation Chiefs Ian Campbell and Gibby Jacob, along with Lil'wat Chief Leonard Andrew and council member Maxine Bruce.

Holding candles and playing traditional songs, the Nations readied to welcome the Olympic flame in a special handover ceremony before it made its entrance into Whistler Village.

Waiting inside the circle was Dillon Sampson Bikadi, son of Greg, the former president of the Lil'wat Business Corporation. Dillon is a snowboard instructor who's also studying automotive theory at BCIT. Chase Lewis, nephew of Gibby Jacob and a student at Howe Sound Secondary School, met him in the circle.

A rush of energy slowly built within those assembled as the torch relay convoy arrived on Lorimer Road. Wranglers cleared a path among a throng of assembled media as Chase lit his path into the circle. There he joined his flame with Dillon's as the Nations together sang a welcome song.

The joined flames represented the shared aspirations and territory of the Squamish and Lil'wat, which have both seen unprecedented growth in the time that they've been involved as host First Nations.

Squamish Nation Councillor Julie Baker said the two young men are good role models for the youth of their respective Nations. Dillon's grandmother, Veronica Bikadi, says the Lil'wat torchbearer likes to connect with Mother Earth.

The crowd soon dispersed, elated at the arrival of the flame and the knowledge that they're soon to step out into a light a hundred times greater than the one they've just created.