For the first time in three years, thousands gathered in Vancouver for First Nations performances marking the Nisga’a New Year.
Hoobiyee was held March 3-4 at the Pacific National Exhibition grounds, bringing an estimated 12,000 to watch cultural performances from over a dozen First Nations, including groups from Tseshaht and Ahousaht. The annual event was not held at the PNE since March of 2020, days before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and widespread societal restrictions took hold.
In 2023 the Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society brought back the event in hopes of revitalizing cultural celebration among the First Nation’s people as well as from visiting Indigenous communities.
“We know culture plays a significant role in maintaining our mental health and we want to restore the roots that run in our bloodline by breathing life back into our culture,” said Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society CEO Tony Robinson in a press release announcing the event.
Over 500 dancers participated in the weekend event, with more than 70 vendors selling Indigenous crafts, clothing and art.
A Hoobiyee celebration marks the Nisga’a New Year, coinciding with the waxing of the crescent moon, a time when oolichan begin their return to the Nass River in Nisga’a territory.