Lory and Judy Campbell, an Ahousaht couple living in Port Alberni, are hosting an informal feast at the Alberni Athletic Hall on Feb. 11. They are relying on donations and volunteers to help with this major undertaking.
Lory said that he was talking to his wife about wanting to do something to bring joy to the people after months of tragic losses in all Nuu-chah-nulth communities. “We had fundraisers for Anita and Squeak, then we lost them to cancer; we’ve lost a lot of people and we’re losing elders,” said Lory. He said he loves all people and just wants to find a way to help turn things around.
He said he told his wife he wanted to have a dinner and she told him, don’t just talk about it, let’s do it. And so, back in November, the Campbells sent out messages on Facebook that the dinner would be happening and they need help.
“We told them that it’s open to everybody; it’s going to be a fun event with dinner, culture and no politics,” said Lory.
It wasn’t long before people and nations began stepping up with donations. Tseshaht has donated sockeye; Huu-ay-aht donated elk, deer, fish, juice and water for the dinner. Someone from Nuchatlaht called to ask what was needed. “I told them we needed potatoes and other vegetables so they sent a $250 purchase order to a local grocery store,” said Lory.
The Port Alberni Friendship Center donated the use of their kitchen for the dinner.
Other nations have promised to get back to Lory and Judy with support for the event.
Some individuals have also pledged support. Lory said that Bella Campbell is donating homemade bread; the Seitcher family is donating homemade baked chumus.
Tseshaht and Hupacasath will be acknowledged as the feast will take place in their traditional territories. Federal MP Gord Johns and BC MLA Scott Fraser will be in attendance along with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s President Deb Foxcroft and Vice President Ken Watts.
Even though there will be politicians there, the dinner will not be about politics, said Lory. “This is about fun and culture, we want to try turn things around for the better,” said Lory adding that when speakers want to talk, he’s asked them to make it about how we can make our communities better.
“Back in the day we shared everything and didn’t fight over territories; let’s get together and share, like we used to,” said Lory.
The dinner starts at 5:00pm.
The Campbells need more supplies like disposable plates, cups and cutlery. They also need volunteers for set up/clean up of the hall, cooks, and servers.
They’ve used a lot of their own money to pay for things needed. “My wife and I are just spearheading this thing, we’re not the ones doing it all; all of us are doing this for each other,” said Lory.
If you would like to donate to the event please call Lory or Judy at 1-778-421-4535 or 1-250-731-9759. There is a Facebook Group called Nuu-chah-nulth Nation Community Dinner.