Moricetown is a Wet’suwet’en village in Central British Columbia, on the west side of the Bulkley River between Smithers and Terrace.
This place is valued by the Francophone community for its association with Father Adrien Gabriel Morice, a missionary priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Morice was French Roman Catholic, an historian, author, ethnographer and linguist who took it upon himself to learn Indigenous languages. Father Morice adapted a Dene writing system of symbols to represent the Carrier language. He is recognized as being the first person to make extensive transcriptions of material in an Athabaskan language. Morice went on to name a number of natural features after himself, including Morice Falls, Morice Lake, Morice River and Morice Mountain.
While Father Morice’s linguistic achievements were celebrated in the past, more recently his use of fear tactics on Indigenous people to break their ties with traditional spiritual practise have come under criticism and Indigenous people are now feeling that Morice bullied them into Catholicism.
For local First Nations, this place is also important because of the darker heritage values associated with Father Morice’s use fear tactics on Indigenous people. A Wet’suwet’en initiative to revive the village’s traditional name, Witset, moves away from the past lived under colonial and religious hegemony.