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Nisga’a First Nation Hoobiyee Celebrations in Vancouver

Hoobiyee Dancers

Hoobiyee is a First Nation event celebrating the Nisga’a New Year in February at Vancouver’s PNE Forum. It features Indigenous dance groups from across BC.

The event normally happens sometime February. Because of COVID-19, however, no big event is planned for 2021.

 


HOOBIYEE VIDEO

For a glimpse of what Hoobiyee and Nisga’a New Year festivities look like, check out the video at the bottom of this article.


 

Hoobiyee New Year Celebrations at the PNE

In years when there isn’t a global pandemic, Hoobiyee (pronounced “Ho-bee-yeah”) takes place at the PNE Forum in Vancouver. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The Lower Mainland version of the event is put on by the Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society. A similar event takes place in northern BC, in the Nisga’a Nation’s traditional territory, at the end of the same month.

First Nations from across the province attend Hoobiyee. Participating dancers last year included groups from the Gitxsan Nation (in the Skeena region of Northern BC), the local Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) Nation, Ts’msyen (from northern coastal BC), Lil’wat (from just north of Whistler) and Xaadas (from Haida Gwaii).

The Nisga’a Nation itself is based in northwestern BC near the Alaskan Panhandle and it’s their New Year that the Hoobiyee event is in celebration of.

 

Nisga'a Hoobiyee New Year Celebrations
A Hoobiyee Performance at the PNE Forum

 

When and Where

In 2020 Hoobiyee took place on February 28th and 29th at the PNE Forum. It usually runs from 10:30 am until 9:00 pm both days. Doors opened at 10:30 am and admission is always free.

The event isn’t happening in 2021 because of the coronavirus. 2022 details are to be confirmed.

The PNE Forum is located at 2901 East Hastings Street at the corner of Renfrew and Hastings in Vancouver.

 

Hoobiyee First Nations Drummers
Drummers at Hoobiyee 2018

 

What to Expect

At the Vancouver Hoobiyee event there are numerous dance performances as well as drumming and singing. Dance groups perform in the middle of the main auditorium. Chairs are laid out for elders along the edge, children sometimes sit on the floor, and the majority of the audience sits in the bleachers.

In addition to the dancing, at Hoobiyee there is a market area where dozens of community organizations and vendors have informational literature and products for sale. At the market there is Indigenous art, jewellery, clothing and other artisan goods.

At Hoobiyee expect to see between a few hundred and a couple of thousand people at a time, or even more depending on when you go. Most attendees are in regular everyday clothes, but others (including the dancers) are in traditional costumes. On both days there are families, adults and children of all ages, plus lots of school groups on the Friday.

Both indoors and outside near the entrance there are food vendors selling a variety of menu items including bannock and other traditional Indigenous cuisine.

 

Mr Bannock Food Truck
Mr. Bannock Food Truck

 

Hoobiyee Event Schedule

Hoobiyee involves two full days of performances by ten or so different dance groups. It’s an impressive cultural event and worth checking out.

The event schedule for 2018 is listed below. Note: times and details are always subject to change. Future event schedules will likely be similar.

 

Friday, February 2, 2018

  • 11:00 am – Opening Remarks
  • 11:15 am – Adaawakhl Hoobiyee
  • 11:30 am – Chinook Song Catchers (Skwxwu7mesh)
  • 12:30 pm – Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Dance Group (Nisga’a)
  • 1:00 pm – Urban Heiltsuk Dance Group (Haitzaqv)
  • 2:00 pm – Lax Kxeen Dance Group (Ts’msyen)
  • 3:00 pm – Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Dance Group (Nisga’a)
  • 5:00 pm – Grand Entry (All Dance Groups)
  • 6:00 pm – Iswalh Dance Group (Lil’wat)
  • 7:00 pm – Gidahmes Dance Group (Gitxsan)
  • 8:00 pm – Git Hayetsk Dance Group (Nisga’a/Ts’msyen)
  • 9:00 pm – Drum Drill

 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

  • 11:00 am – Opening Remarks
  • 11:15 am – Adaawakhl Hoobiyee
  • 11:30 am – Kwakwaka’wakw Urban Dance Group (Kwakwaka’wakw)
  • 12:30 pm – Ahousaht Dance Group (Ahousaht)
  • 1:30 pm – Iswalh Dance Group (Lil’wat)
  • 2:30 pm – Gidahmes Dance Group (Gitxsan)
  • 3:30 pm – Git Hayetsk Dance Group (Nisga’a/Ts’msyen)
  • 4:30 pm – Lax Kxeen Dance Group (Ts’msyen)
  • 5:30 pm – Urban Heiltsuk Dance Group (Haitzaqv)
  • 6:30 pm – Rainbow Creek Dance Group (Xaadas)
  • 7:30 pm – Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Dance Group (Nisga’a)
  • 9:00 pm – Hoobiyee Grand Finale and Exit

 

Hoobiyee Video

The following video is from Hoobiyee at the PNE Forum in February of 2018. As you can see from the video, the event features a variety of dancing activities. There is also drumming, singing and other culturally-rich and family-friendly things to see.

If you ever get a chance to attend Hoobiyee, you should go, even if for just a short visit. It’s entertaining, educational and inclusive.

 

 

Other Information

For more information about the Nisga’a Nation’s New Year celebrations, see the Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society website.

For information about similar events at other times of the year, check out First Nations Culture in the Lower Mainland or Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar.

Other upcoming Indigenous cultural events include the Talking Stick Festival in February and the Dancers of Damelahamid event in March.