Visitors to Yuu-thlu-ilth-aht First Nation territory are treated to a traditional salmon feast. (Conor Lorimer Photo)

West Coast invited to regional gathering

Sunday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kwisitis Visitor Centre on Wickaninnish Beach.

There’s a party in the Park Reserve this weekend and the entire West Coast’s invited.

The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and Ucluelet First Nation will host a regional gathering on Sunday.

“The regional gathering is a free community feast bringing all the communities together for a fun regional event recognizing our strength, history and diversity,” said the CBT’s outreach coordinator Brooke Wood.

“In the spirit of reconciliation and peace building as part of UNESCOS’ Mandate we saw this as an opportunity to bring everyone together in a fun way to honour that we’re all here together.”

The event will run from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17 at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Kwisitis Visitor Centre and Wickaninnish Beach.

“Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is excited to support our communities and Clayoquot Biosphere Trust by offering such a beautiful setting for the gathering,” said the Park Reserve’s Acting Visitor Experience Manager Jessie Hannigan. ”It is a pleasure to participate in this important community event and welcome all the participants to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.”

Everyone is invited to attend the family-friendly event that will include food, information booths from local organizations, games on the beach, face painting, Sharky Balloons, an Aeriosa dance society performance in the trees, a beach cleanup and yoga.

The Ucluelet First Nation’s Celena Cook is excited to co-host the “first of its kind,” event. She said the regional gathering shows an important step towards “Planning and working together with local districts and all Nations on the West Coast,” and will help “maintain working relationships with neighbours to come together as one.”

Historical displays from each community will be set up in the Kwisitis Visitor Centre and ceremonies, music and cultural performances will take place on a stage set up in the centre’s parking lot, according to Wood.

She said each West Coast community will get 20 minutes to represent their town’s culture through speeches and cultural demonstrations.

“In discussions recognizing Canada’s 150th anniversary, we have heard a need for ongoing healing and reconciliation within and between the communities,” Wood said.

“As a UNESCO designated site, we see the link between this local need and the UNESCO mandate to build peace in the mind of men and women.”

She added free transportation will be provided from all communities.