Over the years, many celebrities have graced the small town of Alert Bay, British Columbia. However, it hasn’t experienced such a widespread commotion sparked by the arrival of Oprah Winfrey.
The award-winning host of The Oprah Winfrey Show is considered to be one of the most famous women in U.S. history, recently topping the power list of Forbes and ranking number 1 on the roster of highest earning celebrities. Given her popularity, news spread like wildfire when the residents of Alert Bay learned that she was in town last Friday.
Winfrey took a trip on a 150-foot, white-carpeted yacht, The Nova Spirit, belonging to British Columbia-based billionaire Jim Pattison, who was also her escort that day.
Pattison, whose endeavors include medial, magazine distribution and entertainment, and an unidentified female friend accompanied Winfrey as she strolled the streets of Alert Bay without security. Naturally, residents instantly flocked the 53-year-old celebrity, who was in a casual brown sweater and brown pants, as she posed for pictures with the townsfolk, signed autographs and exchanged small talks.
Winfrey, along with her companions, went to the U’Mista Cultural Society, a center dedicated to the preservation of Kwakwaka’wakw culture. Soon, news about her arrival in town reached Namgis First Nation Chief Bill Cranmer, who was conducting a two-day ceremony at the town’s Big House. He immediately drove up to Winfrey and asked her to address the assembled throng, an invitation rarely extended to a woman.
In turn, she accepted and shared a few brief words with approximately 1,000 people in attendance. The host of the Oprah Winfrey Show spoke for about five minutes, opening with a small joke and then giving her sentiments on what she had read about the potlatch.
“You’re really fortunate to still have your culture,” Winfrey, who was inspired by the indigenous tribe, said in her speech.
-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of MSN)