Tour de Rock riders arrive in Port Alberni during the 2016 trip. NEWS FILE PHOTO

Tour de Rock riders arrive in Port Alberni during the 2016 trip. NEWS FILE PHOTO

First Nations host traditional dinner for Tour de Rock team in Alberni Valley

Riders will cycle over the hump and arrive in Port Alberni on Friday

Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock riders will cycle over the hump and arrive in Port Alberni on Friday, Sept. 29, where they will visit local businesses and schools before sitting down to a traditional dinner hosted by the Tseshaht First Nation.

The 24-member Tour de Rock team began their two-week, 1,000 kilometer bike ride on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Port Alice. Representing Port Alberni are RCMP members Dave Boyce and Beth O’Connor.

Riders are expected to begin their descent of the hump around 11:42 a.m. and ride straight to Boston Pizza in Port Alberni for a noon lunch.

After lunch, the team will visit the Co-op gas station on Johnston Road, John Howitt Elementary, A.W. Neill Elementary and Wood Elementary.

After a rest at the Barclay Hotel, the team will cycle to the Alberni Athletic Hall around 5:25 p.m. for a traditional First Nation dinner.

“We hope to have a bunch of First Nations singers drumming them in,” said Matilda Atleo, organizer and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Nursing Services health promotion worker. “The two local nations, Hupacasath and Tseshaht will be welcoming everybody.”

Dinner will include traditional First Nation foods like seafood, herring eggs and dried seaweed.

“We’re hoping to have salmon and all kinds of seafood,” Atleo said. “Ditidaht at Nitinat Lake are famous for their crabs so they plan to donate crab for dinner.”

The evening will also include a fashion show by local First Nation designer Joyce Little and a presentation from Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health medical health officer, about the prevalence of cancer among First Nations people.

“[Hasselback] did it last year and he kept it a very light topic not so serious. It was really good, he approached it really well,” Atleo said.

This is the second year in a row that local First Nations have hosted a dinner for Tour de Rock riders. The idea came to Atleo after seeing the riders cycle past her house and thinking that First Nations communities should be involved.

“I thought why can’t we do something instead of them just riding by us,” she said. “I realized we have a lot of prevalence of cancer, seems to be more and more for First Nations and Nuu-chah-nulth people. I just went and asked the Tseshaht band if they’d be willing to host a dinner and they said yes and it went well. This year I asked again, but I’d like to see more Nuu-chah-nulth nations involved.”

Tickets for the dinner are by donation and can be purchased at the door, the Tseshaht band office or the Canadian Cancer Society office at 3030 B Third Ave.


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