A historic ceremony to reconcile and unite the indigenous tribes of Russell islands in the Central islands province as one was formally staged on Friday.
Three of the four indigenous tribes were part of the event by coming together, reconcile and officially formed a united group known as the ‘Lavukal Tribe’ of people.
The historic ceremony was held at the Marulaon village in West Russell Islands.
It was planned and organised by the members of Lavukal House of Chiefs with the support of RIPEL management.
This is part of allowing investment happening back in Russell Islands after operations ceased many years ago due to a unresolved industrial action.
Last week’s event pulled together close to 2000 people including paramount chiefs, clan chiefs, village chiefs and the indigenous islanders, investors, RIPEL officials and other guests.
The Solomon Today Post has witnessed the event and it was truly a historic reconciliation ceremony that also allowed the people to be united.
Kaiselen tribe hosted the event and it was attended by tribal members from Keruval and Sevev.
Due to the current dengue outbreak the Solovui tribe including their tribal chiefs could not attend.
However they have expressed their full support for the event and a special separate ceremony will be arranged for them later.
The event was truly colourful, with hundreds of people arriving by canoe and bringing with them gifts to be presented as part of the reconciliation.
The atmosphere at the occasion was full of excitement as everyone gathered to witness the event.
Also witnessing this historic occasion were visiting friends and tribal chiefs from Fiji, member of the Ministry of Itaukei (Lands) in Fiji, the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Officer Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto, Australian team members of the LEMCO Management Group including CEO Troy Cassar.
The ceremony featured presentation of gifts and speeches by representatives from the three tribes, the RIPEL Management , the LEMCO team.
There was a big roar of applause at the end of the event.
It was an emotional moment for everyone when then the master of ceremony asked members of the tribes to formally meet, greet, shake hands and warmly congratulate each other for being united as a tribe.
Members of the RIPEL Management and the LEMCO team also joined in to congratulate, hug and shake hands with the tribal people.
The feelings of acceptance by all were truly overwhelming and many of the older folks and tribal leaders could not fight back tears because of the significant of the event.
That evening many tribal performances were conducted including women doing traditional dances and acts from each of the tribes, the Sevev boys group from eastern Russell Islands gave an amazing tribal warrior show, the 12 panpipe players literally blew everyone away with their music and songs.
It was a remarkable programme one that all those who attended would remember for the rest of their life.
One of the tribal members said, the importance of this reconciliation is that it opens up the way for all tribes to now work together as one united group for the benefit of the whole Russell Islands.
Chairman of the Lavukal Trust Board, Oliver Salopuka said, “this event is one of the most important achievement for the Lavukal house of chiefs that has been achieved successfully today (Friday).
“I thank everyone that attending including all our Lavukal Chiefs, RIPEL management, Australian guests and especially the Fiji Government for the registration program that has helped the Lavukal Trust Board House of Chiefs to unite together as one people with a clear purpose to make our lands great again.”
It was highlighted this unity will gain the confidence of new investment partners to work with them to re-establish a new coconut plantation development and other supporting industries including cocoa production, organic farming, cattle farming, and of course tourism.
By STEPHEN DIISANGO