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FROMTHEPRESIDENT Hobiyee! Greetings, Ladies and gentlemen boys and girls, respected elders; First of all, I would like to thank the Creator for bringing us together to share in the Hobiyee, Nisga’a New Year Celebration! Our community of Ts’amiks has been working together for several years to create a stronger community that contributes not only to the health and prosperity of our own community, but to the wellbeing of others who live in Southern BC.


Nisga’a Ts’amiks 2475 Franklin Street Vancouver, BC, V5K 1X3 Tel: 604 646 4944 Toll Free 1 866 646 4944

We are excited and humbled to share our knowledge and our culture with our community members and with everyone in Southern BC. We are also delighted to welcome the 10 dance groups who will be sharing their culture through song and dance. Welcome to our Hobiyee Celebration. We are celebrating the harvest moon for the Nisga’a Nation; it is through this moon that we can foretell what the coming year’s harvest will be for us as a people. This is a celebration to bring people of all walks of life together to share in unity and strength the ways of our Nisga’a people. Hobiyee is about making new friends, rekindling old friendships and spending quality time together as one people. This local celebration is the result of hundreds of volunteer hours of work by Ts’amiks community members; led by the Community Planning Committee. Thank you everyone for your hard work and commitment to your community. In closing, when you hear the dance director say the word “Hobiyee” you are invited to answer back in your loudest voice, “HOBIYEE” let’s work together to lift the roof off of this place. Sincerely, Sim’oogit Axgwindaskw Clifford Azak Sr. President, Nisga’a Ts’amiks


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Íswalh Dance Group Takaya Tours

Git Hayetsk Dancers The Nisga’a Story

Tsamiks youth Council Journey Home 2011

Dime vancouver New GITLAXDAX Cultural Dancers Vancity




Program Agenda 03 Friday February 10am 10:30am

Coast Salish Welcome Nisga’a Ts’amiks Opening Remarks: Nisga’a Elders 11am Grand Entry – All Dance Groups Ts’inin Sim’oogit 12pm Dance Group: Spa’kwus Slulum Nation: Squamish City: Vancouver, BC 12:45pm Dance Group: Íswalh Dance Group Nation: Lil’wat City: Mt Currie, BC 1:45pm Dance Group: Git Hayetsk Dancers Nation: Nisga’a, Tsimshian, Multi-Nation City: Vancouver, BC 2:30pm Dance Group: Kwhlii Gibaykw Nisga’a Traditional Performers Nation: Nisga’a City: Vancouver, BC 3:15pm Dance Group: The Dakhká Khwáan Dancers Nation: Tagish, Tlingit City: Whitehorse, Yukon 4pm Dance Group: Vancouver Urban Heiltsuk Dancers Nation: Heiltsuk City: Vancouver, BC 4:45pm Dance Group: Lax Kaien Tsimshian Dancers Nation: Tsimshian City: Vancouver, BC 5:45pm Dance Group: Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Dancers Nation: Nisga’a City: Prince Rupert, BC 6:45 pm Dance Group: Dancers of Damelahamid Nation: Gitxsan City: Vancouver, BC 7:20 pm Dance Group: Gitlaxdax Nation: Nisga’a City: Terrace, BC 8:20-9:20pm Nisga’a Drum Drill – All dance groups are invited. *All drummers and dancers line up to enter arena

04 Saturday February 10am Dance Group: Dancers of Damelahamid Nation: Gitxsan City: Vancouver, BC 10:30am Dance Group: Lax Kaien Tsimshian Dancers Nation: Tsimshian City: Vancouver, BC

11:30pm Dance Group: Gitlaxdax Nation: Nisga’a City: Terrace, BC 12:30pm Dance Group: Vancouver Urban Heiltsuk Dancers Nation: Heiltsuk City: Vancouver, BC 1:30pm Dance Group: Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Dancers Nation: Nisga’a City: Prince Rupert, BC 2:30pm Dance Group: Íswalh Dance Group Nation: Lil’wat City: Mt Currie, BC 3:30pm Dance Group: Spa’kwus Slulum Nation: Squamish City: Vancouver, BC 4:30pm Dragon Dancers 4:45pm Dance Group: Git Hayetsk Dancers Nation: Nisga’a, Tsimshian, Multi-Nation City: Vancouver, BC 5:45pm Dance Group: The Dakhká Khwáan Dancers Nation: Tagish, Tlingit City: Whitehorse, Yukon 6:45pm Dance Group: Kwhlii Gibaykw Nisga’a Traditional Performers Nation: Nisga’a City: Vancouver, BC 7:45pm-10pm GRAND FINALE - HOBIYEE!!! Closing Remarks by Chair of Nisga’a Ts’amiks Sherry Small


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Mike Dangeli Mike Dangeli is of the Nisga’a, Tlingit, and Tsimshian Nations. He is an artist and carver specializing in acrylic paintings, masks, headdresses, and totem poles. His work is collected and exhibited throughout North America and Europe. Mike is also a singer, composer, and dancer. Since 2003, he and his wife Mique’l Dangeli have shared the leadership of the Git Hayetsk (People of the Copper Shield), an internationally-renown Northwest Coast mask-dancing group based in Vancouver, BC.

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Mandate: Our mandate is to provide liaison and contact between the Nisga’a Lisims Government, along with other Nisga’a agencies, and Nisga’a citizens ordinarily residing in the Greater Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo regions of British Columbia, as well as to deliver social services and promote individual, family and community wellness for Nisga’a citizens living within our boundary. Mission: To enhance the social, economic, physical, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of Nisga’a citizens whose ordinary residence is within the Lower Mainland of British Columbia or the greater Victoria or Nanaimo areas of Vancouver Island.


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L’íl’wat Íswalh Dance Group andLilwatHandDrummers

Íswalh means Loon in the L’íl’wat Nation Language. The Mt. Currie based Íswalh Dance Group is comprised of approximately 90 L’íl’wat Nation members ranging in age from toddlers to elders The Íswalh Dance Group draws upon the community elders for guidance and instruction. Performances are based on traditional songs and dances that welcome guests, express gratitude, depictions of love and courting, celebrate dreams, L’íl’wat traditions, as well as stories of the animals, birds and land.. Lois Mamáya7 Joseph is the lead organizer and dancer. Íswalh Dance Group does performances locally and throughout B.C., for events, meetings, weddings, birthday parties, conferences and more. “We share with the world, who we are as L’il’watmec and continue to practice our traditional songs and dances.”


H BIYEE 2012 TheDancersofDamelahamid Ts’amiks Edition

The Dancers of Damelahamid are a traditional Gitxsan dance company from the northwest coast of British Columbia. Since 2003, Damelahamid Dancers has established itself as a preeminent professional Aboriginal dance company that has self-produced several theatre based productions, and the creation of newly choreographed dance works while asserting time honoured practices. Their rich history of masked dance inspires a compelling performance, transforming time and space, and bridging the ancient with a living tradition. Their performances give recognition to the distinctiveness and time depth of the many Indigenous cultures across Canada, in order to raise the profile of northwest coast dance to a world stage

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whlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Traditional Performers We are a group of Nisga’a performers originating from Kalii-aksim Lisims the Nass River Valley. Each of us reside in the Metro Vancouver Area and can trace our ancestry to one of the four Nisga’a communities: • Gingolx / Laxgalts’ap / Gitwinksihlkw / Gitlaxt’aamiks We are a dynamic, high energetic group of performers who incorporate the stories, songs & dances of the Wahlingigat (our Ancestors) into contemporary performances. Niit’ipxaathl Gaak (Keane Tait) has been leading the traditional performers since they started in 2008. Keane is from wilps Axdii Wil Luugooda of the Gitwilksit’uuts’kwhl Aks Ganada (People-of-Black-Water Clan of the Raven Tribe)

Takaya Tours is a premier, cultural tourism business owned by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) of North Vancouver. Takaya Tours offers a range of safe and exciting activities that mix outdoor adventure with an authentic interpretation of Coast Salish culture. At the core of the business are guided, interpretive paddles in replica ocean-going canoes, similar to those used by the TWN historically For more information please visit Programsthatweofferonly20minutesfromdowntown:

2hr Indian Arm canoe tour-$60/person Enjoy a cultural interpretive canoe tour while learning about TWN history, legends & songs 2hr Rainforest walking tour-$35/person Learn about the traditional flora and fauna while understanding the history of TWN 2hr Canoe and Walking split tour-$50/person For customized tours and groups bigger that 36 people Kayak cultural tours For those individual kayak enthusiasts that like a little culture in their tours In-class Educational tours-$500/per class*new program Experience on-hands history from out of the classroom text books and learn a bit about Takaya Tours Paddling in the City tour-$65/person*new program For customized tours only 4hr Spawning Salmon Tour-$150/person*new program Enjoy a scenic 30min power boat trip to the end of Indian Arm. There you will experience the nature at its purest and see the salmon spawning while walking in the traditional fishing trails of our ancestors FEBRUARY / HOBIYEE 2012/ PAGE 7

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Git Hayetsk Dancers

To book the Git Hayetsk or for further information please contact Mike Dangeli at 1607 East Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V5L 1S7 Office (604) 251-4844 #352 Fax (604) 251-1986

Led in partnership by Mike Dangeli (Nisga’a artist and carver) and his wife Mique’l Dangeli (Tsimshian art historian and curator) the Git Hayetsk are an internationally renowned First Nations mask-dancing group. Git Hayetsk means the people of the copper shield in the Sm’algyax language, which is spoken by the Nisga’a, Tsimshian, and Gitxsan Nations. Their dancers are bonded by common ancestry to the Sm’algyax speaking peoples with distinctions in their family ties to the Haida, Haisla, Tahltan, Tlingit, Lil’wat, and Musqueam Nations. Their home villages and ancestral lands are located in Southeast Alaska, Vancouver BC and along the coastline of the Terrace-Prince Rupert area including the Nass and Skeena Rivers.

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TheDakhkáKhwáanDancers The Dakhká Khwáan Dancers work to bring opportunity of cultural revitalization and social transformation within our communities by reclaiming our languages, traditional values through the traditional art form of song, drumming, dance, storytelling. We strive to present our culture with the outmost respect to cultural protocol and with the highest form of artistic integrity. We officially began in the summer of 2007, as a young group of members from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation in the community of Carcross. That summer we created a small dance/ theatre group, which began with the name of First Peoples Performances developing a “show” to entertain the tourists coming into our town everyday. This concept had been explored during the summer of 2005 when we made our initial attempt in Whitehorse. BY fall of 2007, our newly formed group was driven by the desire to provide a space to learn and understand our ways, practices and history while working to raise the public’s awareness of the rich First Nation culture that continues to exist within our communities.

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Good Spirit Art Studio Randy S. Tait 604 833 4818 or 604 876 8475 e-mail - Randy is from the Nisga’a / Gitxsan Nation and from the Drumming Grouse/ Killer Whale clan. In 1982 Randy studied under master carvers, Walter Harris, Earl Muldoe, Vernon Stevens and Ken Mowatt at K’san carving school in Hazleton, B.C. He completed an intense 2-year wood carving courses. He learnt the traditions of his ancestors of how to respect, treat and carve wood. Working mainly with yellow and red cedar Randy learned how to carve totem poles, masks, feast bowls, paddles, plaques, etc… that tell storie s of his peoples rich heritage. Nisga’a legends and stories prove a treasure trove of inspiration. The Nisga’a had been, before the arrival of the missionaries, essentially animist in their beliefs; every living thing has a soul, a purpose and deserves res pect. Some of the traditional images that Randy is using acknowledge that power of the natural world of which the Nisga’a people, Randy and everyone are part of.

HummingBird Event Productions P: 604 438 1111 Cell: 604 618 5400 email: Native Events • Gifts • Décor • Dance Groups • Centre Pieces

Celebrating 15 Years of Service in B.C. FEBRUARY / HOBIYEE 2012/ PAGE 11

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The Nisga’a Story

Upriver, giant hemlock, cedar and sitka spruce forests gradually change to lodgepole, jack pine and balsam forests, while stands of A sedate story on the surface, the repatriation and cottonwood cloak the valley floor. return of Nisga’a artifacts is fraught with high drama and the clash of cultures. The Nisga’a built houses of massive cedar posts and beams with removable vertical wall boards, set into grooved timbers top and A long, bittersweet tale, it began in the heyday of bottom. The houses of high-ranking chiefs had central fire pits, with anthropological collecting on the Northwest Coast, the time broad steps leading down from the main floor. The steps were wide between 1875 and the Great Depression when missionaries enough to accommodate meal preparation and other domestic traveled to aboriginal villages throughout the British Columbia activities. coast to spread the word of Christ. Long Before the Boston Men The scramble for aboriginal artifacts went on until it seemed that almost everything not nailed down or hidden was gone. The Organized in four clans Gisk’aast (Killer Whale), Laxgibuu period of most intense collecting coincided with the growth of (Wolf ), Ganada (Raven) and Laxsgiik (Eagle) the Nisga’a anthropological museums such as the Smithsonian Institution, the hunted, fished and trapped. Freed from the demands of American Museum of Natural History, Chicago’s Field Museum of day-to-day survival by their rich environment, they also Natural History, the Provincial Museum of British Columbia (now had time for the development and enactment of elaborate the Royal British Columbia Museum) and the Museum of Man (now ceremonies and the creation of art and sacred objects. the Canadian Museum of Civilization), to name just a few. People of the Nass River The Nass River valley is one of the richest natural environments in the world. Located in the rugged northwestern corner of British Columbia near the Alaska Panhandle, the river and its watershed from glacial headwaters to Pacific estuary provided the food, fur, tools, plants, medicine, timber and fuel that enabled the Nisga’a to develop one of the most sophisticated cultures in pre-colonial North America. Since the last great Ice Age, the Nisga’a have travelled, fished and settled along 380 kilometres of the Nass River and its tributaries. In Ayuukhl Nisga’a the ancient Nisga’a oral code many stories describe supernatural events along the river. The Nass supports all five species of Pacific salmon and steelhead, the most important commodity the Nisga’a have ever known. Rich salmon runs were harvested in a manner that allowed the people to build villages and develop a far-flung trading empire reaching deep into the Interior and ranging up and down the coast.

The immense trees that grew in the Nass forests were split, steamed, carved and shredded to serve a variety of purposes. Wood was transformed into houses, canoes, boxes, storage chests, masks, rattles and many other ceremonial and household objects. Spruce roots were woven into baskets and used to lace the bottom and sides of boxes together. Cedar bark fibres were softened, shredded and woven into articles of clothing. Mountain sheep and goats, bear, deer, beaver, otter and ermine supplied food and material for clothing and ornamentation. While some Nisga’a art was utilitarian, most was made for heraldic display, for initiation rites or to represent spirits on which a halayt or shaman would rely for magic and power.

Nisga’a River

Besides salmon and steelhead, the Nass is home to the oolichan, a finger-sized member of the smelt family. Another mainstay of Nisga’a culture and an historic staple of Nisga’a trade, oolichan are also known as “candlefish” because when dried, they retain enough oil to burn like candles.

Back History

Back History

Spectacular Nisga’a totem poles, house posts, grave markers, painted house fronts and interior screens, gigantic feast dishes and large carved canoes were made to celebrate the lineage of high chiefs and their families. Ceremonial costumes, head-dresses, helmets, talking sticks, rattles, spoons and other eating utensils were meticulously carved, painted and inlaid to depict animal symbols

NEWS-COMMUNITY- EVENTS & ACTIVITIES In the Nisga’a culture, these animals may appear separately, or in complex juxtapositions with each other. This rich decorative art was often displayed or given away at potlatches where a wealthy chief might announce the acquisition of a new title or crest, to celebrate a coming of age or to repay a social obligation. In so doing, he would reassert his status and power in the eyes of his guests. The interior of the houses in which these ceremonies were held were decorated with house posts. Hereditary family myths and encounters with supernatural spirits were re-enacted in dramatic performances and dances. Ovoid, Almost Calligraphic Striking and original, traditional Nisga’a art was at the same time governed by strictly observed rules of design. Numerous books document its bilateral symmetry and the use of bold and contrasting colors, particularly red and black. Also characteristic is the splitting and rearranging of human or animal forms so they cover the entire surface of an object, and exaggerating of certain distinguishing anatomical features such as beaks, claws, mouths and face types to identify specific animals. Bill Holm’s Northwest Coast Art: An Analysis of Form has become a standard reference. Holm coined the term formline to describe the single most significant element of Nisga’a and other Northwest Coast art, and the one which gives it its unmistakable appearance. This flowing, almost calligraphic line, which delineates every unit of design, is unique to this art and lends a quality of inner life and dynamism to every object on which it appears.

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Tsa’miks Youth Council

The Nisga’a Tsamiks youth council is a group of Nisga’a individuals between the ages 13-29, who were nominated to represent the Nisga’a youth in the Tsamiks community; President Donovan Stevens, Secretary-Treasurer Reanne Percival, and 3 councillors - Jay Morven, Drae Azak, and Richard Azak. The purpose of the youth council is to “Enhance cultural knowledge on youth and how to stay healthy as a whole”. The council tries to bring Nisga’a youth together by hosting events and bringing them places. The youth council also tries to be as cultural as possible. We are apart of the dance group and encourage all the youth to join. The council is still in the beginning phases. We attend and help at most Tsamiks events, have hosted a few youth only events, and brought youth to the annual Gathering Strength Canoe Journey 2011. This year will be a more serious year. We have planned to bring more culture into the youth of the community by hosting various workshops. We will also be having relaxing, fun events just to get youth together. Bringing youth to the Gathering Strength Canoe Journey was successful so we will be bringing youth again this year, as well.




We encourage all Nisga’a Youth who are new to Tsamiks to come get involved to get a sense of “home

DraeAzak,Councillors Follow in



Youth Canoe Journey


H BIYEE 2012 Journey Home 2011

Ts’amiks Edition

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Canyon City Kincolith

New Aiyansh Greenville Terrace

Prince Rupert

Port Mc Neil Alert Bay

Vancouver A Journey Begins



Words can never fully express what’s in my heart. From the time we left Vancouver till it was time to depart. The facilitators were wonderful and did and awesome job. As we share our experience about our cultures robbed. There were many different stories, but a very common theme And I’ll be forever greatful as we paddle along stream. That’s what it felt like and talk about a quest. We were all courageous troopers, simply .. the best! Where do I begin as it was so exhilerating and surreal? I have a mountain of memories that i must reveal. Tell others about this Journey and endevour to learn more As we’re a flourishing Nation, awesome to the core. The feasts wer yummy and the hospitality a TEN. I’ve never had such royal treatment, can’t think of when I’ve bonded with such nice people with many common traits Hopefully it continues and more dreams we create. “All My Relations”, Yvonne Mark.


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SpakwusSlolem,(translated,”EagleSongDancers) Are members of the Squamish Nation. Geographically located in what is called the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Our traditional territory being the Howe Sound, Vancouver to Whistler area. The Squamish have lived and utilized this area for over 10,000 years, having history traced back to the Great Flood, and an Ice Age. We are a Coastal people, people of the cedar longhouses, of the great sea-going canoes, the racing war canoes, People of the Salmon. Our colourful history speaks of things of legend, of deeds of certain members of the SmylaithTribe (Sasquatch), legends of the Animal Kingdom(i.e., The Raven, Seagull and Sun), which brings out Teachings of our Squamish People, the History of Takaya, the Wolf Clan, one of our Squamish Family’s History.

Our cultural history is steeped in tradition, spirituality, canoes, family history, legends and stories of our Ancestors. Teachings that we observe today on Tribal Journeys, paddling our sea-going canoes, to visit villages of our coastal relatives.The image of the canoe is from our Squamish Kwxulth Family (Sea-going canoe Family), and is very active on the water. Spakwus Slolem is pleased and honoured to present songs and dances of yesterday, as well as today, and feel very honoured to represent our People in a good way, as our Ancestors had intended. Huy chewx aa, Wey chewx yuu.

Spakwus Slolem presentations brings out “Chiax”, the protocol and laws of our canoe culture, fo our Longhouses. Some of our Elders today still have memories of early years, travelling across the waters in great canoes to visit Family in distant land , and exercising our Chiax. Spakwus Slolem presents a glimpse into this culture through singing/drumming and dance, and audience participation. A Great Canoe gathering took place in 1993, called “The Gaatuwas”, in Bella Bella, B.C., paddlers from the Squamish sea-going Canoe enjoyed the culture so much they decided to continue, and eventually became known as Spakwus Slolem (Eagle Song) , travelling and presenting at venues in Switzerland (jazz festival) , Taiwan (2), Japan (2), across Canada, and locally, as well as Washington State.

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Canadians For Reconciliation Society Is glad to sponsor the generous participation of the award winning Yeo Kung Moon Lion Dance Group. Email:



Community Activities News Family Child Care Teens Connect And More!! For Advertising

En Espa単ol-English FEBRUARY / HOBIYEE 2012/ PAGE 19

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Lax Kxeen Tsimshian Traditional Dancers Lax Kxeen “Foam that forms on top of the rapids outside Butz rapids”.

Lax kxeen Dancers have been dancing since, 1996 here in Vancouver, BC. The name provides the connection to our home community of Prince Rupert and surrounding villages. There are approximately 65 members of the dance group, ranging from newborn all the way to our elders. We share songs, of clans, stories, events and celebration s. We share these stories through our masks and dances of our group.

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GITLAXDAXCulturalDancers In the autumn season of 1996 under the loving guidance of Chester Moore, a young man named Keane Stewart-Tait who was sixteen at the time formed the GITLAXDAX Nisga’a dancers based in Terrace B.C. GITLAXDAX translates to mean“People of the hills”which is reflective of the name TERRACE which is the natural physical feature of the Mid-Skeena River Valley. With the major support of his Mother Emily, Keane brought together a great number of Nisga’a citizens who lived in the Terrace area. The dance group grew fast and has remained active. Over the many years, GITLAXDAX has played the role of language and culture institute to a great many people. GITLAXDAX has been blessed with several directors and many Elders and each of them has harvested the great qualities of true leadership which has allowed the GITLAXDAX to flourish with great pride. Today the group is led by several people, Jose Coosmans, Myrna Stevens, Steven Bright and Peter Thomas McKay.


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The Urban Heiltsuk Dance Group We are “The Urban Heiltsuk Dance Group�, and we originate from Bella Bella. A majority of us have lived in the city for many years, and the group was formed as a way to stay connected to our culture and to teach our children our songs and dances. As a result, most of our group is 3 generations strong. We continue to seek guidance from our chiefs and elders and strive to bring new songs and dances to our group

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The Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Dancers Began in 1985, When members of the Prince Rupert and Port Edward Nisga’a Local (now known as the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society: People of the Rainbow) began discussing how there was a need to bring the culture and tradition to the urban community. There was concern that children were not learning about themselves as being members of the Nisga’a Nation because they were living “off-Reserve”. It was during this time that 16 year old Marlena Joseph (Clayton) took the role as the drum/dance leader. Marlena’s role is especially unique that not only is it rare for females to hold the role as Dance Leader but also she was bestowed the honor of holding the talking stick on behalf of the late hereditary Nisga’a Chief, Sim’oogit Kwaxsuu- Morris Haldane. He bestowed the honor that she carries this talking stick on his behalf and under his protection for any who challenges her leadership and her talking stick. Today, Marlena continues with this role as well as training our Junior Dance leader Justin Barton As we continue to grow, we welcome the encouragement and support from the Chiefs and Matriarchs of our respected Wilps. We continue to give back to our community under the umbrella of the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society.

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