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Entries about first nations

Alert Bay

A day on Alert Bay

Bekki arrived a few days earlier than me as she went to a Potlatch while I attended our grandson’s birthday party. The Potlatch was in Alert Bay at the Big House there. She really wanted for all of us to go over to visit the Cultural Center and possibly the Big House during our visit.

We went to the ferry crossing at Port McNeil, about 20 minutes from Port Hardy and drove on when it arrived. The ferry ride was uneventful but really cold. We went out onto the deck but couldn’t stay outside for long.

Alert Bay is a small island with a main road that goes to the right and to the left from the dock. To the left is the Big House and Cultural Center and a burial ground is off to the right. We first went to the Cultural Center, the U’mista. Here there is a wonderful exhibit of masks used in the First Nation ceremonies. The exhibit opens with a film of a Potlatch which explained what Bekki had just recently experienced. She had tried to put it into words but was having a difficult time describing. The masks are on display where they are easy to view without glass. Many of the masks were taken by the government when potlatches were banned and have just recently been returned.

Next door to the U’mista are the remains of the Indian school. This school was where the Indian children were sent in order to forget their language and culture. Much the same things happened in the U.S. and we have our own horrible structures. The children were treated poorly here and some abused. Bekki said that part of the ceremony at the potlatch was to help the adults, who’d suffered here as children, to put it behind them. The school is eerie and stands as a huge reminder to the affected adults and to us of what can happen when we step in and try to make an entire culture change to our way of thinking, when we know what is best for a people.IMG_1190.jpg
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It was quite cold so we found a place by the water for a picnic inside the car, then after lunch we found a coffee kiosk to warm up.
We drove around the island finding places to shoot photos, and then visited the burial grounds. We couldn’t walk on the grounds as they are sacred, but could view from the street. The burial grounds have quite a few totem poles, some new, some fallen. It was a dark foreboding sky, a good day to visit such solemn places.
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As we waited for our ferry eagles flew around us.

Posted by Miss Chris 14:39 Archived in Canada Tagged travel canada bc totem_poles first_nations alert_bay u'mista Comments (2)

Lots of Trips in the Plans

Planning and planning

So now I have 3 big trips in various stages of planning and 3 small trips. Trying to keep everything straight is becoming a challenge.

In July we have a camping trip to Grover Hot Springs near Lake Tahoe, then a backpack trip up to Cottonwood Lakes at the end of the month.

August brings a long discussed trip to B.C into the First Nations territory. This trip will be a photo trip for me. My daughter-in-law is working on her PhD in Linguistics and will work on a language. I will do some photo-journalism. We’d planned to do this last year but it never worked out.
Over Thanksgiving we will go to Santa Fe and meet our youngest son. His wife Jen has never visited northern New Mexico so we are quite anxious to show her our favorite restaurants and places. I recently won a cooking class for two at the Santa Fe School of Cooking so we will try and get in several classes.

About 1 week after Thanksgiving we will go to Europe. This will be our 40th wedding anniversary so we thought that it would be fun to spend it in Finland at the glass igloo hotel. Then, since we are in the area, we will go to the U.K. for winter solstice and hopefully join the Druids at Stonehenge. Grandkids are planning to go on this trip but our oldest son’s wife will be giving birth in early Dec. We will see about when to get the older kids to Europe. Details!

Of course then we have the big trip where we will live in Austria for 4 months. We will check out some towns in Dec and hopefully have a better idea of where to look for a house. So it is exciting to plan!

Posted by Miss Chris 18:07 Archived in USA Tagged family bc europe thanksgiving new_mexico santa_fe grover_hot_springs first_nations Comments (0)

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