Skidegate prepares for Qay groundbreaking

  • Jul. 14, 2003 7:00 a.m.

Skidegates cooks and bakers are working overtime as the community prepares to host a huge crowd for the Qayíllnagaay Heritage Centre groundbreaking ceremony and feast next week.n
All islanders are invited to the ceremony, says Skidegate band adminstrator Babs Stevens, who is coordinating the event with over 35 band employees and community members. n
After the groundbreaking, Skidegate will host a feast for between 700-1000 people. A traditional Haida dinner is planned, says Ms Stevens, including crab, ghow, smoked fish, stew and chowder. Four groups of women have been contracted to bake 140 pies and 140 cakes for dessert.n
Federal Minister of Indian Affairs Robert Nault has accepted an invitation to attend the ceremony. Hereditary Haida chiefs and representatives from the communities of Old Masset and Skidegate will also attend.n
The ceremony will be the culmination of many years of dreaming, planning and fundraising by the Skidegate community. Serious planning for the heritage centre began in the early 1990s with the creation of the QayÃŒllnagaay Heritage Centre Society. n
The $19.2 million heritage centre will include an expansion of the existing museum, a performing arts centre, teaching centre, gift shop and cafeteria. Attached to one end of the building will be a canoe shed and carving shelter. A separate administration centre will house the QayÃŒllnagaay Heritage Centre Society, Gwaii Haanas office, Gwaalagaa Naay Development Corp. and Haida Watchmen Program.n
A mortuary house for ancestral remains found during construction will be blessed during the ceremony. n
The groundbreaking ceremony begins at 3 pm July 24 at Second Beach, and the feast begins at 5 pm at the George Brown Community Centre, which workers are expanding to hold the crowd. Organizers ask people attending the feast to being their own cutlery, plates and bowls.