June 11, 2016 - 4:08 PM
KAMLOOPS - Hundreds of friends, family and dignitaries came together at the Arbour at the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Pow Wow grounds to pay their respects to former MP, cabinet minister and Senator, Len Marchand Sr., today, June 11.
The ceremony included emotional speeches from Marchand Sr.’s friends and family, and comments from local Senator Nancy Green-Raine and federal Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as local MLAs and First Nations chiefs. B.C. Assembly of First Nations regional chief Shane Gottfriedson hosted the ceremony.
“Senator Len Marchand will always be remembered as one of Canada’s greatest trailblazers,” Gottfriedson said. “In the face of great adversity he persevered and was steadfast in championing the values that bind us in or common humanity.
Many spoke about Marchand's love of family and community, as well as his humour, laughter and humble nature.
Marchand’s children, Lori and Len Marchand Jr., read a eulogy for their father, sharing happy memories of their childhood and conversations with their father.
“My dad used to apologize to me for having given my sister and me such a hard life,” Marchand Jr. said. “I know he was apologizing for having been away so much for his work. I always reassured him that we knew he was doing important work.
“I’ve always been proud to be my father’s son, and now I’m equally proud to be my sons’ father,” he said. “And I hope to be the same kind of father to them that my father was to me. That would be the greatest thing I could do in my life.”
Marchand Sr. was a leading figure in federal and First Nations politics, becoming the first Status Indian elected to the the House of Commons. He was born in Vernon Nov. 16, 1933 and passed away Friday, June 3 in Kamloops at the Royal Inland Hospital.
The crowd mingles after the celebration of life for Len Marchand Sr.
(BRENDAN KERGIN /InfoTel Multimedia)
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