Hoobiyee is a First Nation event celebrating the Nisga’a New Year in March at Vancouver’s PNE Forum. It features Indigenous dance groups from across BC.
In 2024 the event takes place on March 1st and 2nd.
This article contains the following information about Hoobiyee:
Hoobiyee New Year Celebrations at the PNE
Hoobiyee (pronounced “Ho-bee-yeah”) takes place at the PNE Forum in Vancouver. Admission is usually 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 around the same time of the year, in the Nisga’a Nation’s traditional territory.
First Nations from across the province attend Hoobiyee. Participating dancers in recent years 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 the Hoobiyee event is in celebration of their New Year.
When and Where
Hoobiyee usually takes place in February each year. In 2024, however, it happens on the Friday and Saturday of March 1st and 2nd. The celebrations begin at 10:00 am on both days. Meanwhile, the Thursday feast happens one day before, so on February 29th this year.
The PNE Forum is located at 2901 East Hastings Street at the corner of Renfrew and Hastings in Vancouver.
What to Expect
At the time of writing, exact details about 2024 festivities were not yet available.
There are usually numerous dance performances as well as drumming and singing at the Vancouver Hoobiyee event on the Friday and Saturday. 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. There are Indigenous art, jewellery, clothing and other artisan goods at the market most years.
Expect to see between a few hundred and a couple of thousand people at Hoobiyee, or even more depending on when you go. Most attendees are in regular everyday clothes, but others (including the dancers) are in traditional regalia.
Both indoors and outside near the entrance there are typically food vendors selling a variety of menu items including bannock and other traditional Indigenous cuisine.
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 witness.
If you ever get a chance to attend Hoobiyee, you should go, even if it’s for a short visit. The event is entertaining, educational and inclusive.
For more information about the Nisga’a Nation’s New Year celebrations, see the Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society website.
Another Indigenous cultural event this time of year is the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival with the Dancers of Damelahamid.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s February and March Calendars
- Events at the PNE
- Vancouver Rainy Day Activities
- Vancouver on a Budget