Building Hopes and Dreams on the Strength of our Nation is the theme of Hobiyee this year, and was chosen by the whole community.
Gerald Robinson, who is in charge of 2016 Hobiyee, says the theme was derived from discussions with different people in a coffee room.
“We asked for some input and we had some from the community, we had some from administration, others came in just to have coffee with us and we started discussing ‘what do you see as this community’s strengths?’” he said.
“One of the things we came up with was there is training happening, a lot of training activities going on in the piping industry and other industry out there that people are seeking employment through.”
There is also the healing for people affected by residential schools and other issues by building on their strengths.
Add into that the fact that the history of the Gitlaxt’aamiks Ceremonial Dancers stretches back to the 1970s and continues as young directors take it on after older ones leave, the canoe journeys where youths go back to the land and spend 14 days travelling from community to community along the coast which continues every August and includes elders who can make the trip.
There are programs to help ladies with sewing skills and the sewing club who is helping those who do not have regalia and are looking to have new regalia made.
“We talked with the elders about the true meaning of Hobiyee and will be teaching that at this coming Hobiyee with regards to the Darkness to Light ceremony that will be performed,” said Robinson.
“It basically tells the story of when the volcano erupted and when the light left us. Today we call it an eclipse, but back then the light had left us.”
This year will also be the first time the dance has been done in almost 20 years, he adds.
It is set to be performed after the Grand Entry and welcoming by the chiefs of the communities.
“We’ve been in existence here a little over 50 years in this community since we moved from the old village to this site. We’re young and we wanted to look at what we can do for this community into the future.”
About 12 dance groups are scheduled to perform during the two-day event, meals are provided and it is all free because the community is covering all the costs.
At the tribal picnic, you can sit with whichever tribe you want, he adds.
Visitors will get to experience some of Nisga’a traditional foods such as eulachon, smoked salmon, seaweed and more.
“We invite everyone to come and experience Hobiyee,” said Robinson.
“It’s a huge opportunity and event for this community to host again,” said Robinson.
At the conclusion of Hobiyee on Saturday night, which is not a set time but just whenever it ends, the moon will be handed over to next year’s host Gitwinksihlkw.
Hobiyee 2016 Building Hopes and Dreams on the Strength of our Nation celebrates this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27, at the Gitlaxt’aamiks Recreation Centre in New Aiyansh. Free.
The complete schedule is on the Hobiyee 2016 Facebook page.
Participants can contact Cynthia on Facebook at Hobiyee 2016, phone 250-633-3100, fax 250-633-2271 or email Cynthia@peopleofthegrizzly.com.