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PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days roars through Harrison Hot Springs

Sts’ailes welcomed thousands to Harrison Lake

First Nations athletes gave it their all during Sasquatch Days this past weekend.
Thousands of locals and visitors gathered at Civic Plaza to start the weekend in a good way, celebrate Sts'ailes culture and kick off the competition.

"The spirit of the canoe races is here this weekend," said Sts'ailes Chief Ralph Leon (Sah-ahkw) during his opening remarks. "We know through the teachings of our our matriarchs the canoe has that spirit of its own. We always recognize that, nourishing all the participants, the old ways our elders have taught us for many years." 

Harrison Hot Springs sits on the ancient site of the village of Qwó:íls, in the heart of Sts'ailes land. Sasquatch Days was originally celebrated back in 1938, in which more than 2,000 people from First Nations across North America attended.

"The land we are on today has long been a place of healing and cultural significance," said Leo Facio, Harrison Hot Springs' acting mayor. "I am honoured to be here with all of you taking part and another great weekend full of special events."

Following opening remarks, local dignitaries and Sts'ailes leaders and elders launched the first canoe in the VIP paddle around the race course. 

While the heart of the weekend's events is the canoe races, there are also cultural performances, a salmon barbecue, medicine walks and – of course – visits from the legendary sasquatch. 

The sasquatch – or sasq'ets in Halq'eméylem  – is a spiritual being in Sts'ailes culture. The sasq'ets is the caretaker of Sts'ailes land. Though often depicted as a large hairy man or primate, the sasq'ets can shapeshift and pass between the physical and spiritual worlds at will. 

Adam Louis

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