Young maidens and warriors from Suwilaawks Community School in Terrace hosted a feast to celebrate the coming of spring.
“This is a teaching opportunity for the children to learn the protocol for a Tsimshian feast,” school principal Karen Scales said.
Elements of Tsimshian, Nisga’a and Gitxsan traditional feasts were combined for the event.
The first step of a traditional feast is preparation, explained Caroline Daniels, who helped organize the event.
In preparation, every classroom learned about each stage of the feast.
Then, all who prepared — the students — invited special guests.
Don Wells was one of those guests. He was invited to represented the Tsimshian matriarch at the feast, as it was held on traditional Tsimshian territory.
The morning of, students helped prepare the meal.
Then, when it was ready, students, teachers and guests were traditionally drummed into the gymnasium.
Customarily, each attendee is drummed in individually, Daniels said. To represent this, students were drummed in by class — representing one unit.
After everyone seated, Wells, who represented the matriarch, welcomed everyone to the feast. Then a morning prayer was said before a lunch of bannock and soup.
After the meal, the floor opened for those who wanted to speak.
But the chief — in this case Scales — gave the final speech before all exited in silence.
George Peal, a First Nations support worker there, said that for many, it was their first time attending a traditional feast.