Salmon Festival a cultural celebration

First Nations culture will be on display this weekend as members of the Nisgaa Society host the Salmon Festival on May 24 and 25.

First Nations culture will be on display this weekend as members of the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisgaa Society host the first-ever Salmon Festival on May 24 and 25.

Over the course of two days the Dick St. Louis Auditorium will be transformed into a market, there will be a salmon barbecue in back and the Russell Gamble Gymnasium will host dancers from a number of nations.

“Our program hasn’t been finalized yet, but we have 11 groups representing a variety of Nations… Dancing will be the whole day on Friday, from noon to 10 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” explained Marlena Joseph, one of the organizers.

“It’s a learning experience, learning the different cultures and dances of groups from Prince Rupert and the surrounding areas. It’s really a fun festival to bring everyone together.”

The event, which is open to the public by donation, is celebrating the 2013 salmon season and the importance of the fish in First Nations society. While this may be the first festival to be held in Prince Rupert, it is not the first time the idea has come up.

“The festival was brought up to one of our dancers by an elder in the community. It’s been brought up before, but this year we decided to go with it,” said Joseph.

“We’re really hoping to make this an annual event, but this will be our first one.”

For more information on the event, e-mail salmonfestival@live.com.