Haisla Homecoming: A rundown of some of the events

The Haisla Homecoming marks the return of a tradition that died off in the 80s.

It will be a densely packed weekend of activities for those who attend the Homecoming events in Kitamaat Village.

All are welcome, First Nations or non, at this event, brought together by a dedicated group of volunteers who have been hard at work behind the scenes making sure everything goes smoothly.

Kimberley McKenzie, one of about nine members of the Haisla Homecoming Committee, says it’s excitement, and not nerves, which is being shared by everyone in the days leading up to the big event.

“There’s tons of excitement. Everybody is thrilled and that’s all everybody’s talking about now,” said McKenzie. “It’s been a long time coming, we need a celebration in our community right now.”

This year’s Homecoming revival came about simply from people’s recollections of the earlier events, said McKenzie.

People, she said, were reflecting on older days and the Homecoming came up.

“It was brought up about how they had a Homecoming weekend and it was a big celebration and it was a place for families to get together and set all their animosities aside and just come and have fun and to show the kids that adults have fun too,” she said.

Being the first time in decades one has been held, she’s expecting maybe one or two hiccups but everything appears in order for a great turnout.

“It’s been a lot of hard work but we’re working well as a team and it’s all going great,” she said. “The hardest part is finished now.”

The events begin at 6 p.m. on August 9, with a welcoming prayer, followed by other messages and speeches, including the youth welcome and the elders welcome.

On Saturday, the Nee N’Wagilas Elders Centre will have free fried bread, coffee and juice, while starting at 10 a.m. at the soccer field people can buy tickets for six minute helicopter rides.

At the bay area starting at 9 a.m., until noon will be canoe races.

At 5 p.m. at the health department people can buy a plate of potato salad and it’ll come with BBQ salmon and crab.

A community bonfire will take place at the soccer field at 8 p.m.

On Sunday will be a fried bread contest from 7 to 10 a.m., and closing remarks will take place at 3 p.m.

A smoke house demonstration will take place at 209 Kitlope in the Village as well, from 1 to 3 p.m.

See page 8 for a complete schedule.

Among those making the trip to Kitamaat Village is Trevor Martin, who will be bringing his three-year-old daughter with him.

Martin himself never lived in Kitamaat Village but both his parents did.

Today he tries keeping connected with the Haisla Nation and he said he loves hearing how friends and family are doing.

“Being raised by my step-mother and father in Alberta, I didn’t have access to our culture or our heritage,” Martin wrote to the Sentinel.

He’s been to Kitamaat twice in the last 15 years but both for sad occasions, yet the community and people made him have a feeling of home he never had before.

Now for his daughter Eleanora’s visit during the Homecoming, he wants her to connect to Haisla friends too, and hopes “it is the first of many trips back home over the coming years.”