Huu-ay-aht celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day | Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper

Huu-ay-aht celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Anacla, BC

A blanket of fog and a chilly breeze swept over the beach as volunteers built a fire so that they could barbecue salmon the traditional way, on cedar sticks over an open fire. Meanwhile, children played on the river bank building sand castles and flying kites as the sun slowly burned off the fog

On June 21 Huu-ay-aht citizens and their friends gathered at their campground to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with culture, barbecue lunch, stories, dancing and togetherness. There were plenty of activities set up for the children to play while elders mingled at the picnic tables.

Edward Johnson Jr. served as master of ceremonies and got things off to a proper start with a prayer for the family that lost a loved one the day before.

Knowledge Keeper Qiic Qiica (Robert Dennis Jr.) acknowledged the Huu-ay-aht Beach Keepers, thanking the Peters women for allowing the people to gather on their beach for the day. He told the story of how the great earthquake and tsunami of 1700 devastated the Huu-ah-aht people and their home.

“That was the first time it came into the authority of a woman,” said Qiic Qiica.

Generations later, the Peters women, including Stella Peters, are recognized as Huu-ay-aht’s Beach Keepers.

“This is her beach, this is our home…it is paradise,” Qiic Qiica stated.

Guests were kept entertained with dances and stories before filling up with barbecue hotdogs and traditionally cooked salmon.

Elected Chief John Jack and his young son performed a bear dance for the return of a drum that he had misplaced. The Bear Dance, said Johnson, belongs to the Williams family.

Qiic Qiica also had to dance for the return of his walking stick.

While these dances are fun and entertaining, it was pointed out that dancing for the return of lost items teaches us to be more careful with our belongings.

Share this: