REPORTING · 8th May 2010
Today the Kitsumkalum Nation formally presents their new Feast Hall; Waap Galts'ap, a representation of the former Central Authority of the Tsimshian Nation. These buildings were called long houses by the English settlers likely due to the expression when they first encountered them, 'Wow, what a long house.' These were outlawed and the carvings were forbidden by the English authority of the day as they represented every aspect of the Westcoast Matriarcial First Nations culture. These were the buildings where the feasts occured, the law was proclaimed, names were aquired and authorized; recognized.
Potlatch was another term applied to these festivities. The white settler claimed the natives had give away parties, which left the families who held them in poverty. The foundation of these events were the transfer of the authority of a name representing thousands of years of social culture. It was the normal and expected practice of these nations much like the Throne Speech in the Federal Parliament where the Queens representative and others knock on the door with an ornate mace. All the pomp and ceremony, the unusual dress and gowns are nothing different in representative context than the Governing Feast Hall of the Tsimshian, Gitzsan, Haisla and other West Coast First Nations.
Today at 1 pm the Kitsumkalum Tsimshian are inviting one and all to witness a rebirth, a reawakening of a culture. The official ceremonial event begins at 1pm today Saturday, May 8, 2010. There are inside and outside ceremonial seating areas. There are Crest Poles to be raised and, true to form, a huge feast is planned. Rest assured there will be plenty of food and gifting. The past has come back to show the future.
It is located at the NWCC (Northwest Community College) on Kalum Lake Drive (The Nisga'a Highway) just a mile north of Highway 16 at McConnell, in Terrace.
The Terrace Daily will be live stream this event.
Watch it by clicking HERE
Inside seating and the crests displaying the Eagle, Raven, Killer Whale/Blackfish and Wolf
The feast hall
Outside seating with TV monitors
Crest pole waiting to be raised
Dear Maureen Atkinsen
Comment by Janice Robinson on 2nd September 2010
Did we meet at the opening of Waap Galts'ap? Maybe not.
While reading your profound comments, I could not help but notice a melancholy note in your contribution. Why so sad?
The house is a gift to the many dozens of people (Native and non-Native) who, despite national and philisophic differences, brought the idea from concept to reality.
And yes, the project involved the best there was to offer by all the First Nations here in the beautiful Northwest B.C. That was a feat in itself. Northwest Community College is NUMBER ONE when it comes to exercising diplomacy among First Nations in this area. I salute out-going President Stephanie Forsyth, and all her staff, for this unequalled educational and cultural feat. I thank the Wolf Clan, from Kitsumkalum, for asking for our contribution....and inviting us to the celebration. What a good day it was to be Tsimshian!
I hear you Maureen, and I can safely say....yes, Waap Galts'ap is for EVERYBODY.
It also represents the incredible adaptibility, racial inclusion and wisdom of the Tsimshian culture. Tsimshian culture will adapt and adjust to everything this Earthly life presents to the Tsimshian.
Do not worry. It is all good.
A Waap for everyone
Comment by Don on 12th May 2010
Congrats goes out to everyone involved in this kewl project. As i have said to many people in the past, there is a open invitation to participate and not just learn about FN, but to be with the people is a far better way to get to know FN moraes than just reading it in a book. It was a good mixed crowd this weekend with people from everywhere. Thank you NWCC for all your hard work and contribution
big house isn't it for everyone
Comment by Maureen Atkinson on 9th May 2010
Thanks for the terrific photos of the Feast Hall, although I do believe that it is open to all peoples as a community gathering place. Although the college lands rest on Kitsumkalum territory, and chiefs and matriarchs were present to bless the building, according to the college website the Waap Galtsa'ap is a structure for students and wider community as a gathering place and a place to exchange ideas and support.
"Sanctioned by representatives of the Tsimshian leaders of the Kitsumkalum and Kitselas Bands and NWCC's First Nations Council, the longhouse will be a very special gathering place for student, college and public ceremonies, functions and celebrations. "
Clearly the intent of your write up is about empowering Kitsumkalum, yet this community house is meant to be for a much wider purpose and vision.
Thanks for the terrific photos as well!
Comment by bill(braam) on 9th May 2010
I am very impressed with this, congratulations too all that made this possible.