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Congratulations to the Haíɫzaqv People on the Opening of Gvúkva’áus Haíłzaqv

Over 2,000 people gathered in Haíɫzaqv territory to celebrate the historic opening of the first ƛiác̓i (Big House) in the Nation’s territory in 120 years. Photo by Brodie Guy.

Coast Funds board and staff raise their hands, extending wholehearted congratulations to the Haíłzaqv People on the opening of their ƛiác̓i (Big House) this week.

“There’s a sense of pride knowing the dreams of so many ancestors are now being lived by our generation, people like my late grandfather who always talked about the Big House and how important it was aren’t here anymore. Now we’re living their dreams,” said Dúqva̓ísḷa William Housty to the Haida Gwaii Observer.

Over 2,000 people from across the coast and as far away as Aoteroa (New Zealand) joined the Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) Nation in celebrating the historic opening — the first ƛiác̓i (Big House) in the Nation’s territory in 120 years. The Gvúkva’áus Haíłzaqv (Heiltsuk Big House) took 18 months to build and is made entirely of red and yellow cedar from the territory. Its four giant house posts — the result of careful craftsmanship by local artists — are adorned with carvings and designs that tell the origin story of the Haíɫzaqv People.

Huux̱ Percy Crosby, former Chair of Coast Funds, stands next to the pole gifted by Haida Nation to the Haíɫzaqv at the opening of Gvúkva’áus Haíłzaqv (Heiltsuk Big House). Carved by Haida artist Christian White. Photo by Brodie Guy.

“What we do here, what’s happening here on this small little place on the central coast — it’s going to have a ripple effect across the whole earth. […] It’s going to impact the central coast, our neighbouring tribes, giving them medicine, inspiration and energy too,” Haíɫzaqv Master Carver Nusi Ian Reid, shared with The Narwhal.

Chief Counsellor K̓áwáziɫ Marilyn Slett has watched the project evolve over several years, from conceptualization through to realization. “Going forward it’s a symbol of our strength and our resilience as people. I know it’s just going to make us stronger,” she said.

“Brodie Guy and I were deeply honoured to join our Haíɫzaqv friends to bear witness to their opening ceremonies,” stated Huux̱ Percy Crosby, former Chair of Coast Funds. “Haawa and w̓uálas ǧiáxsix̌a to the Haíłzaqv for the opening of the great ƛiác̓i in Wáglisla on behalf of the entire board and staff of Coast Funds.”