For the first time, the Hazelton’s celebrated BC River’s Day last weekend with festivities at Totem Park in Gitanmaax. Organized by members of the Learning Shop and Storytellers Foundation in Hazelton, the day was created as part of the community action plan and used as an indicator for the Global Progress Indicator (GPI) for the area.
Participant, Shannon McPhail explained how and why she and the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition got involved.
“The Learning Shop developed a calendar with monthly themes and this month is rivers month so we wanted to take on June and plan some events,” McPhail said.
“We thought it was important to have a salmon barbecue because truly, salmon are the livelihood of many of our communities.”
There was live music, vendors and booths including handmade jewelry and other unique locally made items. There was a mixed soccer game for children of all ages as well as arts and crafts such as painting a River’s Day banner.
Overall, McPhail felt the day was a success and a great way to take a good look at the GPI.
“Big cities base their GPI on things like employment but that really doesn’t work for small communities especially the Hazelton’s,” she explained.
“We have an 80 per cent unemployment rate here yet most people are surviving and eating and in general most people seem to be doing okay.
“So it’s community events like this can give us a better idea of the kind of progress the Hazelton’s are making and it’s really awesome to see so many people out celebrating and enjoying our area and the local culture.”
There is hope this will be an annual event and the next big activity for the SWCC, River’s month will be the Youth On Water camp. For information about the camp visit their website or their office above the law office in Old Hazelton.