Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Feasting in Namgis First Nation

Prayers were answered as the morning sun cleared the rainy clouds still leftover from the day before. The South Island Feasting for Change working group members Fiona Devereaux, Earl Claxton Jr., John BradleyWilliams, Anna Spahan and Jen McMullen had drove up to Alert Bay the weekend of October 24th, for the Alert Bay Feasting for ChangeTraditional Foods Feast hosted by Jean Smith, Traditional FoodsCoordinator in the beautiful Namgis longhouse.

Jean Smith, along with Jamie Hunt, Erin Rowsell, Sharon Gorden and many others organized fun activities during the day-long event for the Alert Bay community.The early morning kitchen bustle grew as vegetables, clams and salmon pieces were being chopped for the lunch that marked the beginning of the feasting day. Three full tables kept going back for seconds as we shared a tasty meal of clam and fish chowders.

Lunch gave way to afternoon activities that included an outdoor pitcook, a nature walk in the Gator Garden led by Earl and John Bradley. Many people came back excited by what they had learned from Earl and John Bradley. In the bighouse, the cooks had set up salmon bbq'ing around the longhouse fire. What a glorious picture! Beside the fire, people sat talking and watching the salmon roasting. In addition, there was a cedar weaving workshop where youth and others wove cedar bracelets, and medicinal teachings and teas/salves by Eva Dick, as well as Feasting for Change's table displaying books by local First Nation's authors on Indigenous foods and Feasting for Change's Knowledge Basket.

After the invigorating nature walk, Sharon started the Indigenous Foods Fear Factor! There were five rounds, the participants in each round had to eat everything on their plate withoutmaking faces to make it to the next round. There were raw fish eyes,herring eggs, salmon eggs, ..... The winner was ... and she won an mP3player. After the Fear Factor, Sharon organized the youth into two teams. The teams competed to see who could answer the most questions onIndigenous foods, including their traditional names and identification.The X team, consisting of XXXX shared their winnings. Next, everyone participated in the Indigenous foods bingo, organized by Fiona.

The non-stop and cheerful cooks obviously knew what they were doing when an incredible feast was brought out into the longhouse. The tables sagged with several different kinds of salmon: smoked, breaded, grilled- all really tasty. Other foods were yummy bannock that everyone raved about, salad, herring eggs, and the pitcook vegetables. The food was all harvested and preserved by the rayers were answered as the morningsun cleared the rainy clouds still leftover from the day before.
So wonderful to spend time with such amazing people.
We would like to acknowledge the Namgis First Nation for their interest and support in Feasting for Change, the BC Healthly Living Alliance, Canadian Cancer Society and Vancity for their support, encouragement and passion for this project and the connect to Food, Land and Culture.

Many Thanks, Gilakesla, Hych'ka, Choo


  1. I wish I was there. My name is Annie Laurie Watts, granddaughter of Louisa (nee Mountain) Watts, and great granddaughter of Chief Harry Mountain. All the food looks great. Love you all.

  2. Hi Fionna,

    This is fantastic and thank you for posting this blog. I'm wanting to post photos and a story about Kingcome and the Traditional Foods project the BCHLA funded. Can you contact me and help me with this task? Thank you so much!