For two days last week, Naka’zdli’s Kwah Hall was filled with booths and speakers and demonstrations of all aspects of local culture.
There were presentations by Thompson Creek, the Fort St. James National Historic Site, and government ministries, but the spotlight was on Dakelh (Carrier) culture.
The goal of the two days was to promote Dakelh cultural traditions and to promote a networking opportunity for the entire community, according to Angel Ransom, comprehensive community plan (CCP) coordinator for Nakazdli Band Council.
Ransom organized the event, and hosted it as well.
“I’m loving it, it’s just a lot,” she said. There had been cultural exchanges in 2008 and 2009, according to Ransom, but it was her first time hosting the event for the community.
“It’s been a real honour,” she said.
She based the event on what she has been hearing in meetings with the community members about their desire to revitalize the local Dakelh culture, language and traditions.
The exchange gave different organizations an opportunity to explain how their work relates to Nak’azdli and a chance for them to learn more about some of the Dakelh protocols and traditions.
The two-day event was kicked off with a mock potlatch, the traditional governance system, so people could learn more about what a potlatch is and it’s significance.
“That was a big highlight,” said Ransom.
Hereditary Chief Tsohdih (Pete Erickson) and Leonard Thomas walked through the Bah’lats (potlatch) over two hours and Ransom said the event was well-attended. “That was a great learning opportunity,” she said.
The booths around the hall included some very diverse and interesting things, with information on the history and descendants of Chief Kwah, basket making, bead working, Dakelh language, drum making and a very informative display on the sweat lodge tradition and practice.