Hobiyee is a celebration for the Nisga’a Nation that coincides with the waxing of the crescent moon in February. (Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

Hobiyee is a celebration for the Nisga’a Nation that coincides with the waxing of the crescent moon in February. (Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

Hobiyee 2019: Feeding a thousand people in Ging̱olx

Each year, the host village cooks local dishes for visitors as part of tradition

It was a symbolic ending to this year’s Hobiyee celebrations as eagles dove to feast on the oolichan that had finally arrived in the Nass Valley, marking the start of the harvest season.

From Feb. 21 to Feb. 23, the village of Ging̱olx hosted the Nisga’a New Year and as part of “golden hospitality,” fed more than 1,000 people that came from afar for the festivities.

“People are away from their own homes and we make sure they’re being fed for energy,” says Rose Oscar, matriarch in Ging̱olx and head cook. “It’s made with a lot of patience, a lot of care and loving thought.”

As travel can be far between the four Nisga’a villages, the locals take pride inviting visitors in and offering their food. Oscar says that there is an emphasis on having plenty available to ensure no one is left hungry, especially as the days are filled with lots of dancing and drumming.

“You can have anything you want from the sea or from the surrounding, you don’t see that often anywhere else,” says Oscar. “Here, there is an abundance… and my favourite part is that whenever it happens here, I’m in the kitchen [and when I step] out to watch the children make their moves, it’s beautiful and I love that.”

READ MORE: Salmon, oolichan given new life in Terrace art exhibit

Hobiyee is a celebration for the Nisga’a people coinciding with the waxing of the crescent moon in February. The name stems from the Nisga’a word Hoobixis-hee, which refers to the bowl end of a wooden spoon.

The moon, which can be seen hung above the hall over the ceremonies, is passed on annually to the next host village who is then also given the responsibility to feed everybody.

This year in Ging̱olx, the matriarchs came together with many helping hands in the kitchen to put on a multi-day feast. On Friday, Feb. 22 fresh clams and crabs were served as the main dish and to close off the festival on Saturday, Feb. 23, it was Nisga’a stew.

Oolichan would also be traditionally served, but since the fish didn’t arrive until the final day — there wasn’t enough time to include them on the menu.

READ MORE: Northwest Coast Art from Freda Diesing students showcased at Terrace Art Gallery

“We [had] beef stew, sometimes we use moose, and vegetables,” says Lavinia Clayton, also a matriarch in Ging̱olx and head cook. “The whole community usually gets together to prep, we’ve been prepping since Wednesday.”

She says that this year, they cooked approximately 180 gallons of stew for the festivities and that it took one cow to provide all the meat for the dish. She adds that years ago, food was made in one old black iron cast pot on top of a fire and that was enough to feed everybody. For the band elders, they’re often fed separate dishes that are specially prepared for them.

Throughout the day, there was also plenty of fruit, snacks and beverages available for anyone that needed to keep their energy going.

To celebrate the harvest moon, dancers performed the stories of their ancestors and of life on their land to the beating of the drums, the shaking of handmade hoof rattlers and the reverberating sound of the conch. Their clothing was worn in tribute to their heritage that grasped the deep-coloured elements of nature and embodied the animals of the Nass — with some showcasing bear and wolf skins, eagle feathers and necklaces made of claws.

Alongside the cultural dances from Ging̱olx, Gitlax̱t’aamiks, Gitwinksihlkw and Lax̱g̱alts’ap, the Gitmaxmak’ay dancers from Prince Rupert and Port Edward and the Gitlaxdax Nisga’a dancers from Terrace made an appearance. There was also a performance by the Gitleeksa’aks-Metlakatla from Alaska.

As the matriarchs of the village, both Oscar and Clayton say that seeing the crowd enjoy their homemade food brings them a lot of joy and that it makes them feel that they’ve fulfilled their roles.

“You know that they love it, you can tell that we did good and that they like the food,” Clayton says. “We cook with all of our love — you can’t beat that.”


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

Just Posted

This image shows the Kitsumkalum community hall. The First Nation is about to head to the polls to elect a new council. (Brittany Gervais/Terrace Standard)
All-candidates forum planned for Kitsumkalum election

Virtual meeting set for evening of Feb. 8

Kitselas First Nation received a round of COVID-19 vaccine shots. (Kitselas First Nation image)
Kitselas receives COVID-19 vaccine

Delivery of vaccine was expedited after cluster of cases in community

Northern Health has issued COVID-19 exposure notices for Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School in Terrace. (COVID-19/ CDC Image)
Two more COVID-19 exposure notices issued for schools in Terrace

Exposures took place at Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read