Ewk Hiyah Hozdli dancers perform a Wet'suwet'en welcome song at Stories in the Snow in Smithers last Friday.

First Nations dance group sharing culture with a beat

The Ewk Hiyah Hozdli Dance Group in Smithers is performing traditional Wet'suwet'en songs and dances to keep their culture strong.

Adults and children in elaborate button blankets and striking masks danced to the drumbeat of Wet’suwet’en songs at the Stories in the Snow fundraiser in Smithers last week.

Traditional songs and stories were shared in a public showcase of Wet’suwet’en culture presented by the Ewk Hiyah Hozdli Dance Group on Friday.

The event was held to raise money so the dancers can travel to New Aiyansh to perform at a Nisga’a First Nation event known as “hobiyee” (pronounced ho-bee-yay) from Feb. 26-27.

A Nisga’a New Year celebration, hobiyee marks the return of the prized oolichan fish to the Nass Valley.

For the local dancers, it is an opportunity to share traditional Wet’suwet’en dances and songs with the Nisga’a Nation.

Ewk Hiyah Hozdli member Molly Wickham said the group’s goal was to remember Wet’suwet’en culture, and to share it with the wider Bulkley Valley community.

“Because a lot of our songs and dances aren’t sung anymore,  and a lot of people don’t remember our mass dances at all either, we’ve been bringing those back,” she said.

“Currently our membership, the children outnumber the adults, which is awesome, it’s really amazing.”

Wickham and the other Ewk Hiyah Hozdli dancers have turned to their elders to piece together the songs and dances, and to learn to perform them properly.

“We were really fortunate to have access to those elders before they passed away,” said Wickham.

“A lot of stuff we pieced together through research and stories and talking to different elders.

“We still are learning things about the songs that we didn’t know before.”

Hear Ewk Hiyah Hozdli performing the grouse song at Stories in the Snow:

Just Posted

Town removes homeless camp at King St and Hwy 16

Four people lost their tents and belongings when the Town brought in heavy equipment last week

Salvation Army desperate for kettle campaign volunteers

Two-hour shifts available at four locations in Smithers

Town supports Legion’s application for liquor licence amendment

Council is reccommending the LCRB approve the Legion’s application for a Liquor Primary Licence

Council passes two readings of second-stage housing bylaws

The bylaws, if adopted, will make way for 12 Northern Society for Domestic Peace townhouses

Goodacre Place: a partial success story

Supportive housing development improves homelessness situation, but demand for more remains high

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

Most Read