Nisga'a Nation kicks off Hoobiyee celebration to mark new year
The Nisga'a Nation kicks off Hobiyee celebrations to mark its new year on Friday.
Hoobiyee is a tradition where the Nisga'a Nation marks a new season of harvest beginning with the arrival of saak, a breed of oolichan fish that is a staple of Nisga'a members' diet.
Laxgalts'ap Village of the Nisga'a Nation hosts the Hoobiyee event in Nass Valley, about 84 kilometres northwest of Terrace, B.C. Over the years, Laxgalts'ap and three other Niaga'a villages including New Aiyansh, Gitwinkshihlkw and Gingolx have been on rotation to host the annual celebration.
Laxgalts'ap Village starts off festivities with a traditional totem pole raising ceremony Friday morning.
WATCH | Nisga'a members celebrate Hobiyee:
Chief Coun. Donald Leeson of Laxgalts'ap village government says he's been attending Hoobiyee for 18 years and plans to mark this celebration with something new: Dancing.
"I didn't dance because I felt kind of…awkward," Leeson said. "And today I'm confident, I feel really good about getting on the floor now and dancing."
'Keep our language and culture alive'
The Nisga'a Nation says Nisga'a villages and neigbouring nations will continue to celebrate with songs and dances on Saturday.
On March 3 and 4, the Nisga'a Ts'amiks Vancouver Society is set to hold Hoobiyee celebration at PNE Forum in eastern Vancouver, which is a free-admission event.
Nisga'a Nation president Eva Clayton says Hoobiyee celebrations are critical in keeping the Nisga'a culture vibrant and strong.
"As we enter a new season of harvest, it is imperative we continue to make every effort to keep our language and culture alive," she said in a written statement.