Kaay Centre celebrates first year in style

  • Aug. 24, 2009 9:00 a.m.

A couple of hundred people turned out in Skidegate Sunday to help the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay celebrate its first birthday. The day started at 11 am with the clan parade, followed by opening ceremonies and games and activities.Jason Alsop, operations manager of the centre noted that last year’s opening day is a difficult act to follow, and talked about how the centre’s role is to bring back old knowledge and to share it.”Intelligent foresight of those who came before us has led to some of our greatest innovations,” he said, “as we awaken, we are beginning to recognize our supernatural power. Our ancestors have set a standard we can strive for. The completion of Kaay is a true display of the pride we have to offer to the world. It is with humility and humbleness that we will be able to move forward”. Mr. Alsop also noted that the time has come for the Haida to make a strong contribution to the rest of the world.”It’s time now for us to give back what we know and to make the world a better place. We have an obligation to lead by example.It is now we must move to make our next vision-sustainability-a reality,” he said, adding that “we are poised to step forward. We are comfortable with our role and our place in the universe.Chris Collison acted as MC. He’s the president of the Haida Gwaii Museum Society, and reflected on Haida achievements in the recent past.”I look out here and see all the beautiful robes, the talking sticks.how far we have come in 40 years.” he said.”I think Willard (Wilson) said it last year and I echo his sentiment. You get the sensation of ‘wow’, Mr. Collison said.”It’s a great feeling to be Haida. It’s a great day to be Haida. I’m proud to be from Skidegate. This (centre) has been envisioned for many years”, Sid Crosby said. Nathalie Macfarlane is the director of the HG Museum Society. She said “this place is an example of how, if you can dream hard enough, you can make something happen.”What Kaay means for me,” she said, “is seeing the young people that are coming into this place and learning about their culture and are sharing it with the world. It’s a huge honour to (have been) part of it for 19 years.” After the ceremonies, there was delicious food, and games and activities including canoe races, unveiling the new Swan Bay Rediscovery pole, basketball, song and dance performances, the list went on. It all ended up late in the evening with fireworks.