It is amazing the amount of food that Skidegate makes for teas or feasts — often seven or eight tables full of food with more left in the kitchen to replenish the spread as guests serve themselves. When Nuni E’s Girls are cooking at community events you know that you are going to be well fed.
When your baked goodies, your sandwiches, or your cooked casserole is brought to the kitchen your name is marked down on a list for the hosts as part of the protocol associated with the event. When you leave you can also count on having a clean dish to take home because of the work done in the kitchen.
To have so much food is a blessing. It is something to look forward to for sure. Sometimes the meal happens before the business is conducted. Other times a meal happens afterwards to help celebrate and give thanks to those who have witnessed a ceremony. If the meal is delayed it is usually a given that you have eaten beforehand especially if you are diabetic or need to stave off hunger pangs and a noisy tummy.
I have been fortunate to cook with Nuni E’s Girls of the Raven Wolf clan: Vi Husband, Dodie Zeller and Heda Kelly and their daughters and friends. They do not take payment for their skills because they cook for the love they have for the community. They have it down to a science and make it look easy but it’s hard work that begins in each lady’s home days prior to any event.
It is always nice to hear Uncle Roy bless the food with a Haida prayer. Elders — like Auntie Pearl and Auntie Lorna (thank you both for your encouragement and support for Jingles) — are invited first to serve themselves or are served by younger members of the community. There are often over 150 community members to feed. Once the meal is over there are sometimes only one or two cakes left. It’s nice to see people leave the hall with a meal or dessert with tea for the next day. It’s always a sign of generosity and wealth in the community.
I am sure that Nani E is always in the kitchen watching over her girls and loving how the community comes out to take care of each other. Howa’a to the cooks!