Jingles From Skidegate: Welcome, Hazel! Haida Gwaii’s New Year’s Baby

  • Jan. 27, 2015 6:00 p.m.

In Anishnaube (Ojibway) and Haida teachings, winter is the time for storytelling and teachings. When I enter the home of Grace and Roy Jones Sr., I know I am going to have a few stories told to me. I like listening to the two fluent Haida speakers share their experiences. Auntie Grace celebrated her 86th birthday in early January. Auntie Blondie also had her birthday celebrated that evening. As I sat with Richard Hans and Blondie at dinner I was told stories about how Skidegate used to be 53 years ago like the time the Melodies sang “When the Saints Go Marching In” for the arriving Skidegate Saints teams. Richard was a member. His eyes glistened and he cracked a wide smile reminiscing. I also heard about how you could walk to the beach and harvest clams – “until the rocks were moved.” I was also told about how sliding at the Rec hall hill was “the best place to be on snow days.” Others at the table chirped in how Phil Gladstone filled up the skating rink behind the Rec Centre for kids to skate and play hockey on. There was light, laughter and some seriousness in the voices at this table and all I had to do was listen. The youth are also sharing stories. I was lucky enough to attend the Youth Assembly in May when I first arrived in Skidegate. I was not expecting the seriousness with which business was conducted. I sat enthralled listening to Haida history and reverence for past kilslay the youth shared with each other and those of us watching from afar. I sat in the balcony watching respectful future leaders act and create within a safe and nurturing environment. They learned and practiced Haida governance. These teachings were combined with entertainment and cultural knowledge. A new Yahgu’laanaas Raven clan member, Hazel Eloise Alsop, was born in the New Year. Proud parents are Cori Savard and Duane Alsop. Hazel was born after 13 hours of labour at 10:32 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2015 weighing in at 8 lbs 13 ozs and measuring 20.5″ long. Cori and Duane would like to thank Celina Laursen, their midwife. Look out for Hazel and her parents at the upcoming Annual Clan Tournament happening on January 22-24 at the George Brown Rec Centre. It’s the last tournament before the All Native in Prince Rupert. Hazel’s story is just beginning but I like to think that in 53 years she’ll be telling her grandchildren about how wonderful Skidegate was growing up rich in culture, with good governance, and a regained respect for one another and the environment. She’ll of course be a Saints supporter!   

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