The Haisla Recreation Centre will host a three-day cultural festival aimed at fostering closer relationships between people throughout the district.
Called Guatlap Days, the cultural festival will run from Friday, June 21, through to Sunday, June 23, with all activities taking place at the Haisla Rec Centre.
Haisla Nation Council community cultural coordinator Teresa Windsor said the word Guatlap (pronounced “Gyah-wat-lap”) means ‘to help one another’ in Haislakala (the Haisla language).
“The festival is designed to bring our communities together and follows the cultural belief that nobody is left behind,” said Windsor. “We want to remind people who have made the district their home that our doors are always open.
“We also want to pull everyone together. There is already a disconnect which needs to be bridged before more people come into the area.”
The first event of the Guatlap Days festival, the Walking for Strength parade on Friday, June 21, starts at 11 a.m. The parade will start from the Haisla Rec Centre.
”Our communities have been hit hard with a lot of troubling times and losses. Let’s walk beside one another as a community to build our collective strength,” said Windsor.
She said the children from the Haisla school will lead the way, singing traditional Haisla songs they learned in school.
“The kids are learning the language – they are truly leading the way. Our children are the answer,” said Windsor.
After working up an appetite, lunch will kick off at noon and consist of Indian tacos – fried bread with taco toppings –followed by cultural dancing from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
At 5 p.m. a community potluck dinner will be held. Windsor said that while Kitimat LNG will be supplying barbeque burgers, hotdogs, chips and salad, she encouraged people to bring a main dish or dessert to share.
The dinner will be followed by cultural dancing and lots of activities for the children, including face painting and the ever-popular H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Star Lab sponsored by Kitimat LNG.
Kitimat DisABILITY will have a sensory friendly tent available and the HNC will have program information tables.
On Saturday, June 22, starting at 9 a.m., the Haisla Lightning Women’s Soccer team will host a pancake breakfast, followed by a reading by Haisla author, Joseph Starr, of his work titled Day School Research.
Refreshments will be served between noon and 1 p.m., after which the ever-popular soap berry making contest will take place.
At 5 p.m. the Guatlap dinner will be held, with feast stew on the menu (Windsor asked that anyone coming for dinner bring a bowl, utensils and a cup with them).
At 6 p.m. the Guatlap awards ceremony will honour language teachers, followed by a performance by Haisla musician and recently elected councillor, Arthur Renwick.
On Sunday, June 23, LNG Canada will sponsor bus transport between Kitimat and Kitamaat Village for the screening of the movie Totem: The Return of the G’psgolox Pole, which runs for an hour and ten minutes, followed by Totem: Return and Renewal, which runs for 23 minutes.