Sasquatch Days featured canoe races

Dancing highlight of Sasquatch Days

Cultural significance of Sts'ailes tradition being rediscovered and shared.

For most people, song and dance is simply entertainment. But for the members of the Sts’ailes Band in Agassiz, it’s a little more than that.

On Saturday, June 25, dancers from the Sts’ailes Band performed during the two-day Sasquatch Days event in Harrison Hot Springs.

The first Sasquatch Days event took place in May of 1938, and Boyd Peters, Sts’ailes councillor and aboriginal rights and title manager, explained that the band wanted to bring the event back.

“We wanted to really introduce it, resurrect it,” he said. “We wanted to reignite Sasquatch Days and bring out the old songs and the dances especially.”

Children from the Sts’ailes band performed three dances at the event: one that welcomed visitors to the sacred land, one that told the story of an eagle bringing everyone’s prayers to the creator, and one, of course, about the Sasquatch.

While the dances are simple, Peters noted that performing them is a privilege.

“You have to know the songs and the dances and you have to belong to it,” he said. “You have to have permission and that’s part of our teachings that are passed down from generation to generation. You can’t just go out and dance or sing any song – you have to know the meaning behind it.”

Sherylynn Crispin, Sasquatch Days coordinator and member of the Sts’ailed band, explained that historically, the band wasn’t allowed to perform their traditional dances.

“We weren’t allowed to express ourselves culturally and spiritually,” she explained. “It’s important to show our young people that it’s ok to do this and that it’s something to celebrate.”

Aside from sharing and preserving culture, the traditional dancing is also an inherited method of teaching for the Sts’ailes people.

“There’s a little bit of underlying teaching there and I don’t even know if the kids realize it,” Crispin said. “There’s a certain way that they’re supposed to conduct themselves when they have their regalia on and a certain way that they’re supposed to think and speak. The more we get them in that uniform, the more they’re practising that and it’s raising the self-esteem of our people.”

The event also featured canoe races, drum making workshops, a salmon barbecue, various artisans and vendors, but for many, the young dancers were the weekend highlight.

“They’re so young and so little but they’re so seasoned already,” Crispin said. “The dance group we had today, they’ve been doing it for year and they have it down pat.”

See more photos here.

Just Posted

Relationships, continuity top health-care concerns for Agassiz residents

Feedback during Fraser Health events showed access to health care needs to improve

Development on the horizon for Harrison Hot Springs Marina

The property has been the subject of a number development proposals over the years

Chilliwack Players Guild brings first ever radio play to stage

An Affair of Honour is based on a true story, written by the father of a Chilliwack man

‘Big hearts and even bigger feet’: Comedian sends Harrison humour to the silver screen

Jonny Harris will see the town highlighted on his small-town comedy series ‘Still Standing’

More staff being hired at Fraser Valley seniors homes

Number of care hours for residents lags behind provincial targets

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Lower Mainland teacher resigned after ‘inappropriate discussions’ with elementary students

Tracy Joseph Fairley resigned from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows district April 23, 2018

Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

‘Right now we are 350 police behind what our population requires,’ politicians are told

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Where mattresses go to die

Mattress Recycling opens the largest of its kind mattress-recycling facility in Hope

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read