Charlie George dances as the masks are revealed.

Regalia unveiled

Culture Committee feast unveils community treasure box.

PORT HARDY—The Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw community had reason to celebrate last weekend.

In fact, there were dozens of reasons as the Culture Committee put on a feast to unveil a community regalia collection.

“After the 40-some-odd years we’ve been here we finally have our own regalia,” explained Gary Walkus.

When the communities of Gwa’sala and ‘Nakwaxda’xw were moved to Port Hardy many pieces were lost or destroyed. For the past two years the committee have been purchasing a comprehensive collection of masks and regalia to fill a community treasure box.

Last weekend those pieces -—  around 30 masks and a similar number of blankets -— were presented to the community and danced for the first time.

They will now be stored and made available for community members to use in future potlatches and ceremonies.

“It’s a really neat thing to be a part of,” said Walkus, “it helps keep our Nations strong.

“There’s over 900 people here now (in the community). I really hope they can all take advantage.”

Walkus said that the committee will next turn its attention to 2014 and a planned commemoration  event.

Next year will mark 50 years since the bands’ move to Tsulquate Reserve and the committee plans a multi-day event to mark the occasion.