Harrison Hot Springs and the Sts’ailes First Nation welcomed the eighth annual Sasquatch Days to the community on Saturday (June 15).
“This is what it’s about, seeing all of our families that travelled,” Sts’ailes Chief Ralph Leon said during the opening ceremonies. “Days like this are also proud, being proud of being Sts’ailes.”
Sasquatch Days first began back in 1938, with a two-day celebration in May that saw First Nations communities from all over descend on Harrison for canoe races and cultural sharing.
Now, 81 years later, Harrison and Sts’ailes continue to welcome that tradition with a joint celebration from Saturday, June 15, to Sunday, June 16.
“These festivities are a wonderful opportunity for our communities to come together and celebrate the time-honoured tradition for canoe racing, breaking bread and strengthening relationships,” Harrison mayor Leo Facio said.
Sts’ailes councillor Boyd Peters agreed.
“This is an annual event that’s really special to Sts’ailes people and to the village of Harrison Hot Springs,” Peters . “We’re building a relationship. We’re working on an accord. We meet council to council. We’re working on developing that relationship further.”
Saturday’s events opened with a welcome procession from St. Alice Hall, which saw Harrison and Sts’ailes council members walk together down the Harrison waterfront.
The opening ceremonies also included a Sasquatch dance from young members of the Sts’ailes First Nation, three of whom were wearing traditional Sasquatch masks.
One of these masks, worn by the youngest Sasquatch, is a replica of a mask that was stolen after the 1938 Sasquatch Days, but was repatriated sometime later.
“The community got together and carved that mask with the advice of the elders,” Peters said. “It’s very very special to us.”
The rest of the day included canoe races, which will continue on Sunday (June 16) starting at noon, as well as medicine walks and a salmon barbecue.