Haisla Homecoming: Spirit of the Kitlop Dancers will perform

It's a relatively new tradition but the iconic Spirit of Kitlope Dancers will perform during the Homecoming.

As people gather in Kitamaat Village for the Homecoming celebrations, they’ll have the chance to enjoy one of the Haisla’s more recent but nonetheless iconic traditions.

The Spirit of Kitlope Dancers have been telling stories through dance and song since the 90s, when a group of youth spent time in the Kitlope Valley for a camp.

“The group originated back in the 90s, originated from the Kitlope where they had a rediscovery camp for the youth,” explained one of the current group leaders, Shelley Bolton.

Bolton has been with the dancers since 2006, and is among the 50 or so dancers the club currently has.

Yet defining what this ‘spirit’ is can be challenging.

We asked Bolton to explain what the Spirit of Kitlope is, and in short it’s a “you have to be there” sort of thing.

“Unless you come take part and sing and you dance, some people feel it, that excitement and feel that yearning to sing some more, like I felt years ago when I first started,” she said. “It’s just something that you feel.” The dances and songs themselves have a very particular structure.

For instance each dancer dances in their own clan line.

The Beavers, Ravens, Eagles and Killer Whales clans are represented, and the Beaver is always first up, because they are the highest ranking clan in the Haisla community right now.

The song and dance routines all tell a story, whether it’s to honour the women, or the men, or the dance could be as a strength competition for the men.

As for where these songs and dances actually come from, that’s a complicated one to answer.

“These songs come from another place,” said Bolton. “Some people say they come from our ancestors and the only way I can explain it is when I first started getting songs, I was told ‘there’s so many songs out there, floating around from our ancestors and they’re waiting for the right person to come down to hold onto it.’”

Bolton hopes their dances will reach out to people who attend the Homecoming.

“We’ve performed many times and we’ve always touched a few people,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll get  some interest when everybody comes home.”

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Kitimat registers biggest drop in property assessments

The residential property in the north with the highest value was $2.892 million

Former mayor Ray Brady passes away

“What I can say is that he was passionate about his beliefs and he would fight for them.”

CDC’s housing section looking for new home

CDC executive director says it has until Jan. 31 to move out.

Shames Mountain named one of the world’s Top 10 ski resorts

The UK magazine listed Shames alongside Whistler and hills in Italy, Japan and Austria

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read