REPORTING · 27th February 2012
It is the celebration of the coming new harvest, the new years Oolichan arriving. The tradition speaks to the new crescent moon. If it is vertical or upside down the times will be tough. If on the other hand it is like it was this year or even more horizontal, like a large bowl, the bounty will be great.
Oolichan is the mainstay of the Nisga'a and most Northwest aboriginal harvest. anything with a bit of Oolichan grease tastes better. It was traded across most of Western Canada and was considered one of the more valuable trade items.
Hobyiee is the Nisga'a celebration of the New Year and the coming harvest of the Oolichans. This year the Nisga'a in the Nass Valley held their annual celebration in the Village of Gitlaxt’aamiks (formerly known as New Aiyansh) over two days, February 24 and 25th.
If you missed it or you want to experience it again, we recorded the final grand entrance and the lowering of the Moon to be passed on for next years celebration.Watch it by clicking here.
This 45 minute video is the "Grand Finale" of the event where the moon is taken down from the sky. The Oolichan Grease bowl is then presented and the Chiefs all drink from the ceremonial bowl.
Dr. Joe Gosnell, the most respected elder of the nation, addresses the gathering at the mid point of this video and announces the next location for 2013.
When watching the video a net can be seen hanging from the ceiling. This net, Dr. Gosnell described, was hand made by his grandmother. The net is made with a combination of cotton and linen. It was sent to the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and was returned to the Nisga'a with the other artifacts for their new Museum in Laxgalts'ap (Greenville).
Dr. Gosnell stated the holes get smaller and smaller as you get to the end. Sometimes he had to be pulled out quickly as it would get too heavy. It was made specifically for the Oolichan harvest.
Comment by Pat#1 on 28th February 2012
I LOVE the little fish..
I wish my kitchen was full of HOBYIEE happiness!!
This white girl says 'Happy New Year!'
Comment by Janice Robinson on 27th February 2012
Thank you so much for sharing your stories and wisdom. You make me feel pride in my Tsimshian ancestry.
Our people were always so happy when the oolichans finally came to us, up the Skeena River. When young, I used to wonder about Mom sometimes.... She was sooo happy frying up those first pans! She would fry up a pan for each of us, and then some, with a big pot of rice. "We made it through another winter!" Mom would happily proclaim. Something sweet and a cup of tea topped off the meal.
Oolichans were so plentiful, it was like you could walk across the river, on what seemed to be a carpet of silver. Oolichans hold the sunlight. During long, cloudy winters, the oolichan grease would be our source of the sun's gifts (eg. vitamin D).
Betty! Get out your frying pan. It will be singing soon! Why wah.
grand finale of hoobiyee
Comment by WFM on 27th February 2012
the video is all broken up when you play it
Depending on your connection you may need to wait for the video to load a bit. This is a large file so the video can be watch in HD. For slower connections the best method is to click on the play, let it start, then pause it until you see the grey bar on the bottom increase to at least half way across, then press play again. Enjoy!
Comment by Knowledge Seeker on 27th February 2012
The story about Clampson - Steel head came from a Tsimshian Mythology book.
Same literature spoken from Laxgalazap speaker. Was presenting.
They also spoke "Xpilla" the Raven Boy. About darkness to light.
That story is sound like Tsimshian Narrative about. The Raven who stole the light, were the raven seen a grandfather opening a box. His house was in the heavens, he the raven turned himself into a pine needle and landed into a water stream were his daughter ladled the water up with the pine needle, she drank it. Became pregnant.
A child was born, he was the spirit of Raven Taxem. The boy remembered when he visited his Grandfather home. Seen the light, he went after the box.
While the Raven Boy was taking the light from the Box. He went outside, were his mother and Grandfather are fishing. The grandfather chased him down the stream. He turned himself back into a Raven. Placed the light in his beak flew to the sky.
The grandfather cursed at him "you texem " Raven. Trickster.
The light got heavy burned his white feathers, that is why his feathers turned black. He dropped the light. This light remained our Sun.
Creation of night and day.
That is why you see. Raven crest with light in its mouth. Around town on people's clothes. That is the story.
According to Laxgalzap Speaker. He said the story is about Volcanic eruption, the world was dark for days. That a Raven boy found the light in a distance. That is how xpilla. Legend was born when the air cleared.
They are singing the song Xpilla " A new day".
From what I learned. There were boys playing down by Nass River. They were slicing up salmon putting fire coles in salmons back. Laughing about fire smoking out of salmons back. They continued to do this. Then elders learned about this and scorned the boys, informed chiefs. Great things will happen. Not good.
The mountain erupted and lava spilled out of its top. Killing hundreds, thousands of Nisg'a people. That volcanic eruption happened 300 - 400 years ago estimate.
This is why Lava beds we were taught not to touch a rock. Because it was sacred ground.
The rocks are like memorial tomb stones. A constant reminder on what burned Nass Valley. How it changed the North Coast.
The reality we are due for another major earth quake in North West. That time period is connected to Big Earth Quake predicted to be set off anytime in Northern BC, Connected to Alaska and Southern California.
Giant Masks - Clampson
These are the stories of human like Giants that roamed the earth. At one time, they were not all friendly. They did not just live in Nass Valley, they lived all over British Columbia.
Just like Goliath species in Bible. They existed 300 - 400 years ago before Volcanic eruption in North West.
I was taught from a Tsimshian Elder in Kitsumkalum BC . That Clampson had children. The children are brother and sister. So they mated with one another (Incest). This created half human and animal (Gats). Called Buckwass Monkey. That is why you never play with them. There lost children.
Clampson was a thief, he stole from Tsimshian - Nisg'aa - Gitksan. According to old legend.
Today the modern day. The History Channel calls them UFO.
The North Coast we call them supernatural.
According to some (real true elders). Who had serious respect for their land. From the Nass - Gitksan - Tsimshian territories. There was a story. When the First Contact came. From foreigners that were here to stay.
The elders sent ancient people away in the valleys. To save their way of life. One day will return and take the strong. Go back to there sacred place. God knows were that is. But this is the North Coast Pacific. If species can turn themselves into pine needles, and help bring light. Then anything is possible.
Remember Terrace BC - Prince Rupert BC colonization of North West BC is only 125 - 130 years old.
That is how new colonization is here.
From Industrial Indian Residential School. Subversive Indians into White Man ideology. The loss of language history, and ancient ties to old world (human mind oral memory). That connection was broken.
Now its all a threat once again. Enbridge and Industrial Development. Plays a major role in our future of Northern BC. Were mining, oil and gas projects.
Now you know the Hobiyee some understanding of the songs. They are legends. A trained person that sees them. Can bring some understanding. The songs are oral stories connected to one another.
My opinion is not about correction of ceremonial event. Its about sharing the oral narrative outside of Nass Territory.
Plus I love the Nass Valley. Proud of them. They are a Great People.
Comment by J on 27th February 2012
the true hobiyee moon, does not feature the hobiyee moon with the star at the bottom of the "spoon" it features the star directly on top of it, making it look like its sitting right inside it.