Women and girls in traditional regalia dance around the fire during a welcoming ceremony for Aboriginal Day activities at the Big House at Fort Rupert Monday.

Women and girls in traditional regalia dance around the fire during a welcoming ceremony for Aboriginal Day activities at the Big House at Fort Rupert Monday.

Aboriginal day a hit

Hundreds of North Island school children were invited into the Big House Monday to watch drumming and dancing held as part of the welcoming ceremonies for the community's Aboriginal Day celebration.

FORT RUPERT — Hundreds of North Island school children were invited into the Big House Monday to watch drumming and dancing held as part of the welcoming ceremonies for the community’s Aboriginal Day celebration.

Best of all, they got to take part themselves.

The youngsters, who combined with teachers and residents to pack the seats on both sides of the building, were invited down to the floor to take part in a dance with outgoing school superintendent Kathy Bedard.

Bea Wadhams, Fort Rupert homeschool coordinator, presented Bedard with the gift of an original artwork depicting the front of a Big House.

The welcoming ceremonies, which included a traditional greeting and women’s dance, kicked off a day of celebration with activities that ranged from the Big House to U’gwamalis Hall, the health centre and the nearby beach.

The event was part of National Aboriginal Day, the kickoff to a 10-day run of multicultural celebrations nationwide that wrap up with Canada Day July 1.

The Fort Rupert celebration included a multicultural fashion show, a fried bread contest, lahal games, storytelling, salmon barbecue, carving demonstrations, and traditional arts, crafts and games off all kinds.