Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Tuesday, May 11, 2010)

NWCC Celebrates its new longhouse, a suspect is charged after the Epicurean fire and Chinese officials take a look around Northern BC some of the items of interest for Tuesday.

Daily News, front page, headline story
HISTORICAL DAY FOR NORTHWEST COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN TERRACE-- The opening of the Waap Galts'ap longhouse in Terrace is provided as the front page story, as the background behind Northwest Community College's new community hall is provided. CFTK TV 7 News had a video report posted to their website on Monday highlighting the weekends events (see it here)

A Terrace man is identified as the suspect arrested in the follow up to the Epicurean Apartments in downtown Prince Rupert. The Terrace resident is charged with Arson Endangering Life, Mischief Endangering Life and Arson.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans responds to questions as to why if there has been a study into the impact of the Aquaculture industry in Canada, there has yet to be an economic and socio economic impact on communities that have depended on wild salmon in the province.

The Sports section features results from the recent  high school track and field competition held in Terrace as well as an update on some changes coming to the Port City Golf Tournament.

(Daily News Archive May 11, 2010)

Historical day for Northwest Community College in Terrace
No report done on wild salmon industry
Prince Rupert SPCA holds open house to seek volunteers 
First Nations languages need greater use
Arson suspect arrested              

The Northern View
Chinese delegation discusses shipping through Northern B.C. -- Details of the ruminations of a recent delegation which toured Prince Rupert and Prince George, finding that there may be more opportunities for shipments through the Port of Prince Rupert (see story here)

The Northern View 
Airport fees get revised -- More second thoughts from city council, on what and who to charge for transit to the Digby Island airport (see story here)

The Northern View 
North Coast hits 10 per cent needed for anti-HST petition-- An update on the quest to add Prince Rupert to the list of communities that are seeking a reversal of the Liberal Government's plans to introduce the HST to British Columbia (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News 
No new items were posted to the CFTK website on Tuesday 

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North 
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.
The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here 

Daily News, front page, headline story 
Historical day for Northwest Community College in Terrace 
By Monica-Lamb-Yorski 
Staff Writer
Daily News
Tuesday, May 10, 2010

A first for the Northwest and a first for colleges in the province was marked Saturday with the opening of Waap Galts’ap – the new longhouse at NWCC.

The name means “community house” in the Tsimshian language.

In addition, two nine-foot poles, each weighing 800 pounds, and carved by students at the college’s Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, were raised in front of the longhouse.

Under sunny skies, amid the sound of drums and traditional songs, hundreds of people gathered for the occasion. 

Before it was time to transport the poles from the carving school to the longhouse, Laxgibuu Clan Matriarch Vera Dudoward began the festivities.

“We welcome you today on behalf of Kitsum Kalum and our neighbour Kitselas and welcome you to our Tsimshian territory. The young people you see standing with us are our dignitaries. They represent our elders. They represent our four clans.”

College President Stephanie Forsyth, a member of the blackfish people of the Kitselas Band, said it was an exciting day for the college.

 “We are honoured to have everyone here. People from so far away and so close in heart and close in distance,” she added.

Seven additional First Nations attended the ceremony including the Wet’suwet’en, Gitxsan, Haisla, Nisga’a, Tlingit, Tahltan, the Haida and the Metis. “It’s fantastic,” Forsyth commented.

Before the poles left the carving shed for the procession, Forsyth warned that she expected anyone that had worked on the longhouse to dance around the building at the end of the opening ceremonies.

“I don’t care if you’re a carpenter, I expect you to dance and if you can’t dance you can walk,” she said smiling. 

Kitselas Matriarch Phyllis McNeil blessed the poles before they left the carving school.

Leaning over them, wearing regalia and a cedar woven hat, her words, echoing through a hand-held microphone, evoked the historical significance of the poles.

Standing nearby, architect Dr. Nancy Mackin of Vancouver, who designed the longhouse, was beaming with pride.

“It’s good to have the building coming together and all the artwork in it,” Mackin said.

The Terrace longhouse is Mackin’s second. She designed one in Norway last year in cooperation with the Nisga’a. 

“I’ve done other longhouse designs, but it’s difficult to get them realized. We started working on this one in 2007. I researched during my PhD on longhouse design history so I based it on that and worked with people in the region.”

Mackin consulted with NWCC’s First Nations Council, who reviewed the design and made a couple of revisions, and reviewed it again.

 “I also worked with the artists as the building unfolded, “ Mackin said.

The poles were carved by graduates from the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art – Titus Auckland and Ken Hans.

Before the poles were raised, Auckland told the crowd the poles are human figures with coppers, placed to welcome people to the longhouse.

He paid respects to instructors and Master Carvers Stan Bevan, Ken McNeil and Dempsey Bob for their leadership and guidance throughout the project.

Describing the poles, Auckland said they are holding copper shields that represent the status of rank and a symbol of wealth in the culture.

 “To me they represent the wealth that students here and future students will gain from entering this longhouse and community of this college. I hope they are appealing to everyone because they are here to welcome you. It was a great honour to have Ken help me with this. Ken’s been mentioned as my assistant, but we worked as partners on this. I’m proud to stand here alongside Ken to share and witness this occasion,” Auckland explained.

Chair of the NWCC Board of Governors, Irene Sequin, Hagwilook’am Saxwhl Giis T’yooksiy niin, with the help of Matriarch Phyllis McNeil and Mildred Roberts of Kitsemkalum, cut the cedar ribbon for the opening of the longhouse.

Sequin is the first native chair on the board at the college in the duration of its 35-year history. She told the crowd she hopes there will be many more First Nations on the board in the future.

 “This is a very emotional time because this is a culmination of stuff that began in 1995 with the Stepping Stones document,” Sequin said as she cut the ribbon.

Once everyone was inside the longhouse, Matriarch Roberts blessed the house. Sequin followed with a Nisga’a blessing giving a loud shout to welcome everyone.

Her voice echoed loudly from the rafters as she called out the name of the longhouse - Waap Galts’ap.

 “When Chief James Gosnell was still alive he gave me a little lesson and told me to always be loud,” said Sequin. ”Everbody has to know what you are saying. You have to call to them loud enough so that the mountains, the river, the trees and everybody hears.”

The building is for everyone, Sequin told the crowd. “When I was in here earlier and there wasn’t anybody in here yet, I told Stephanie, whenever anyone is feeling down they need to come in here and sit and be rejuvenated. That’s the spirit that’s here.”

It is made out of cedar, she added, referred to as “real” and “saviour” tree by the Nisga’a. Sequin admitted there was such a long list of acknowledgements that she couldn’t begin to list who to thank.

 “It’s an historical occasion for the territory and for the college and I think it’s an historic day for B.C. and for Canada,” she said.

Forsyth insisted the new facility is a place for all people to gather for learning.

“The design and the building of the longhouse engaged many people - chiefs, matriarchs, architects, trades people, consultants and students. It is intended to be a gathering and learning place for students and all community members, hence the name community house. It is available for use by the college and the communities it serves. There’ll be a line up, I’m sure,” she said.

 “This house serves as a showcase for Northwest Coast Art and a small glimpse of the traditions of the First Peoples of the region and the striking and beautiful impressions of their very rich culture,” Forsyth added.

Artist Stan Bevan, as he approached the microphone, received a loud applause and shouts from the room.

 “It was an honour to be part of the project. I would like to congratulate everyone who helped. It is a great day. A few teams were brought together to create the art,” Bevan said.

After the longhouse, guests and community members moved to the Sportsplex in Terrace for a feast, where they enjoyed halibut soup and many other special foods.

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