Tuul gundlas cyaal xaada The Rainbow Creek Dancers converged at Juneau, Alaska for four days of singing and dancing at Celebration, a cultural festival. Between the various groups arriving from Haida Gwaii and Vancouver they hauled heavy cases of masks, blankets, and drums.

The troupe joined thousands of dancers and the many nations of the coast parading through the streets and across the large stage at Centennial Hall for the grand entrance on June 8. The group would later present their songs and dances at Cena Peratrovich Hall, Centennial Hall, and join the departure parade and grand exit on June 11. As they entered the festival they whirled proudly across the stage while a huge crowd sang a song by Gyibaawm Laxha David Robert Boxley, saying:

GammoomGism Smile

Gałgwisgüüsm Be happy

Siip’nta Sm’ooygit txa’niis ‘nüüsm God loves you all

Siip’nta Sm’ooygit txa’niis ‘nüüsm God loves you all

Altogether the group involved nine core members including Guud sans glans Robert Davidson), Lalaxaaygans Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Sgang Gwaay Dolly Garza, Nang Jingwas Russ Jones, Xay Kuyaas Ariane Medley, Yaahl Aadaa Cori Savard, Jaadsangkinghliias Desiree Wilson), Kristy Alsop, Jing Robert Long), Kwiigaay Hazel Alsop, and Shawn Edenshaw.

Over the course of their four appearances they danced Red cedar and cast plaster masks of three sgaada.nga Oyster catchers, two k’yaan k’uust’an tree crab or frog, and one k’aaxada dogfish. They also presented new weather resistant robes made from a lightweight and bright polyester material of ts’aag eagle, k’yaan k’uust’an frog, k’aaxada dogfish, xuuya raven, and sGaana ts’il sding two finned Killer whale designs.

At the performance on the big stage the crowd gasped when Jing appeared bearing a heavy and enormous Red cedar taay.yii coho while the group sang Haawa Tsiin, a song Guud sans glans composed to welcome the chiina salmon back to Haida Gwaii. Jing’s work wasn’t done there as two small ts’aag ushered the Eagle Transformation mask onto the main stage. The mask operates with elaborate rigging and looks light in the hands of a skilled dancer. The large crowd watched and listened until, suddenly, the eagle’s first face split and came apart, revealing a smaller eagle within.

“It’s really about us becoming ourselves,” Gud sans glans explained. “Every time we come to Celebration we transform into someone who is closer to the person we are supposed to be. Through our song and through our dance.”


Categories: Culture


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