Friday, February 16, 2024

City of Prince Rupert collaboration on Sacred Fire at ANBT, first had to address some misunderstandings

Visitors to the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre complex this week have likely noticed the wafting of smoke just off of the plaza in front of the Recreation Complex.

That coming from the location of a Sacred Fire for the tournament, the area that once housed the Outdoor Gymnasium equipment serving as the staging area for the fire, an addition to ANBT week that has seen a strong number of participants and observers stop by through tournament week.

The NÅ‚oomsga Lak - Sacred Fire in place in front of the Civic Centre

(from the organizers FB page)

The focus for the Fire was outlined on Social Media this week by one of the organizers, who notes of the rules and other notes of interest towards observance at the sacred space.

At Monday's City Council Session,  Mayor Herb Pond spoke to the topic of the initiative,  picking up on some comments from Councillor Teri Forster who had spoken previously towards the Sacred Fire event at the Civic Centre.

For his part,  the Mayor outlined how the Fire came to be at the Civic Centre complex, noting that after what at first was a misunderstanding between City and organizers, how the two parties found a way to have the Fire take its place.

"I want you to know that City Staff were intimately involved in facilitating that. 

It started off, you know I  say a little bit bumpy,  in that there was a misunderstanding of what was being asked for and was going to take place down there.

But we had a really significant meeting in this room, with a number of the organizers from the families that are organzing. And with a lot of respect back and forth as to what it could look like and what were the needs and how the City could accommodate and still maintain public safety, access in a crowded area.

And then on Friday night, Director Pucci and I attended a feast ... and I need to acknowledge you Director Miller you were front and centre on a whole bunch of those files. 

But there was a high degree of appreciation within that group for the work that the City had done in walking alongside these folks in trying to revive ancient cultural practices."

The need for a protocol on totems in the city for the future
was also a topic the city explored during ANBT week

Mayor Pond also noted how ANBT week has also provided for more conversation on shared interests, with the Mayor observing of some discussions related to the many totems in place around the city.

"Without going into detail, I will tell you that Director Pucci and I were invited partially  because in the meeting that we had here, almost as a side conversation, the matter of the many poles that we have in Prince Rupert was raised.

And they invited us to come and ask for the wisdom of the elders that would be there.  You know, how would you have us handle poles, and it wasn't a finished conversation but there was a lot of really good input that came from traditional knowledge.

In terms, with an appreciation, as you know in traditional culture a pole stands until it falls and where it falls is where it lies, until it disappears back into the earth. And you know we were able to say, we've got time but our concern is when it comes to that,  that's  a public safety hazard, you know.

And the joke was made in the room by people there that you better hope that it's a southeaster flowing down at the Civic Centre or that pole's going to fall across the road and you'll have to leave it there right, until it rots away.

So there was some humour and some appreciation and it was the beginning of a much more complex conversation about how do you deal with them, what's the right way, what's the right protocol, how do you replace them, what would that look like, who needs to be consulted" 

You can review the Mayor's commentary from the City's Video Archive starting at the 43 minute mark.

More on Monday's Council session can be reviewed here.

To follow the theme of the Sacred Fire, follow the social media stream that has been providing updates through the week here.

More notes on ANBT week in Prince Rupert can be explored through our archive page.

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