Protecting the Torch

Wed. Mar. 3/10
Protecting the Torch
Cultural Event
Mark Kiemele

Martie Wyse of Snuneymuxw had the honour of being one of the 11 First Nation keepers of the flame as its spent more than 100 days traveling across Canada.

He protected the flame along the route and got to run alongside sports stars such as Sydney Crosby and Steve Nash. But perhaps the highlight came on the torch made its final appearance for the opening ceremonies. Martie was responsible for Wayne Gretzky’s flame during the festivities and he used a special key to turn off the torch after The Great One lit the cauldron on Vancouver’s waterfront.

Martie still has that key and all the special memories of his three and one-half months.

Torch visits Tsawwassen and Sliammon nations

On Day 103, 14-year-old Nic Gurniak carried the torch through his community to a large crowd gathered in front of the longhouse where elder Ruth Adams delivered a special blessing that included a prayer for “the future Olympians of Tsawwassen First Nation”.

Chief Kim Baird said she was pleased the torch visited the new nation and said: "We really focused today's events on our youth and tried to inspire them to achieve the very best for themselves," she said.

Waneek Horn-Miller, a member of the Mohawk Nation who competed for Canada in water polo at the 2004 Sydney Olympics, handed out participation medals for the young TFN athletes.

On Feb. 3, members of Sliammon First Nation gathered for the start of Day 97 of the torch relay. The Nunkum dancers performed before the torch’s arrival as did Albert Hackett and his guitar. Eugene Louie gave the blessing on the torch and SFN’s first torchbearer, Lucinda Louie.

Later, during celebrations in Powell River, SFN Chief Clint Williams and elder Elsie Paul joined dignitaries on the stage with Elsie giving a traditional welcome prayer.