Heritage Centre to celebrate its first year on Sunday

  • Aug. 19, 2009 7:00 a.m.

The Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay is celebrating its first anniversary on Sunday (Aug. 23) – and everyone is invited to the party. Jason Alsop, operations manager for the Kaay centre, said the day-long celebration will kick off with a clan parade from Jags Beanstalk cafe to the centre. Clans should start gathering at Jags around 10 am and the parade will start at 11 am, Mr. Alsop said. “We want to encourage as many people as possible to come out with their regalia,” he said. “We had over 300 last year and we want to beat that.” Last year’s clan parade, held to mark the opening of the Kaay centre, was the first time such an event had ever been held, Mr. Alsop said. But it proved so popular that everyone was eager to do another one this year. At noon, there will be a small ceremony at the centre with several speakers, including political leaders, who will talk about the importance of Kaay Llnagaay. This will be followed by a staff performance, Mr. Alsop said. Staff will be dancing some of the old pieces from the museum collection. The day is designed as a Haida clan games day, promoting healthy competition between the clans, and games will take place throughout the afternoon. Events include mixed team canoe races (teams must have at least three women), and traditional games like gambling sticks, the laughing game, a dice game, canoe breaker toss and the slippery stick game. Some of these will be demonstrations, and others will be open for participation. There will also be fun events promoting the Haida language such as a spelling bee and a scavenger hunt with all clues in Haida. The spelling bee words won’t be too challenging, Mr. Alsop said, but “we’ll see who’s been brushing up on their Haida!” Charlie Mack will be setting up an archery demonstration in the area across the highway from the parking lot, and there will be three-on-three basketball games going on at the end of the parking lot. There will also be tug-o-war and Indian leg wrestling contests, Mr. Alsop said. To round off the afternoon, there will be men’s and women’s competition dances. Mr. Alsop said the men’s competition would probably be organized so that the last man standing won, while the women’s competition would have a panel of judges evaluating the dancers and choosing a winner. Haida games are constantly evolving and include modern favourites like basketball and poker, Mr. Alsop said. A Texas hold ’em poker tournament will be held at the centre towards the end of the day. The day is not just about fun and games – there will also be food. A variety of food vendors will be on site providing all sorts of tasty treats. Menu items will include barbecued salmon burgers. The day will be entertaining for people of all ages and cultures, Mr. Alsop said. “Everyone can participate, so come out and have fun,” he said.. Anyone who wants to sign up ahead of time for events is welcome to call the centre at 559-7885 ext. 237 starting Thursday.. The centre is still accepting applications from food vendors for Sunday’s celebration – call 559-7885 if you’re interested.