Seth Hanuse as the Kingfisher in the Atlakima.

Seth Hanuse as the Kingfisher in the Atlakima.

Raising spirits

Young dancers impress, embodying the spirits of the forest in full regalia at Play Potlatch.

A packed Big House at Tsaxis saw Fort Rupert Elementary students take on the personas of the forest as they performed the Atlakima at last week’s Play Potlatch.

Special permission was given by Chief Robert Mountain and family for cultural teacher Harold Nelson to teach the dance to the students.

And the young dancers lived up to the occasion, embodying the spirits of the forest in full costume. The masks were loaned from the Mountain family and the cedar bark regalia donated to the family after the performance to acknowledge their generosity.

Students also performed the more familiar Paddle and Salmon Dances before retiring to the hall for a lunch provided by Kwakiutl Band and prepared by students of Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre.