Wawadit́ła Fiftieth Anniversary

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Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist, David Knox, son of Chief Peter Knox and Mable Knox, renewing the painted design on the front of Wawaditła in honour of the fiftieth anniversary.
This is a photograph of Kwakwaka’wakw artist, David Knox, painting.
Cities are meeting places and First Nations people who have origins in many different communities come together in the urban centres of British Columbia. Some live and work permanently in the city; others come to visit, engage in business and take part in special events. Wawaditła is a Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw bighouse in Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum that is in the traditional territory of Coast Salish First Nations, the Songhees and Esquimalt. It is an example of the meeting of different First Nations people and traditions in an urban setting.

Wawaditła was built by the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw Chief Na̱ḵaṕa̱nka̱m (Mungo Martin). It was opened in 1953 with the first legal, public potlatch in British Columbia after the potlatch ban (1885–1951) was dropped from the Indian Act. Since then, Wawaditła has been used regularly for First Nations events by people from many different First Nations, with the approval of Mungo Martin’s grandson, Chief Oast̱a̱ḵalaga̱lis ´Walas ´Na̱mugwis (Peter Knox) of Tsax̱is (Fort Rupert), and his wife, Mable Knox.

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Wawaditła, Chief Knox hosted a two-day feast in 2003. Each night, after speeches and a banquet for several hundred people in the Royal British Columbia Museum’s Cliff Carl Hall, guests were invited to enter Wawaditła, where they were privileged to see many of Chief Knox’s cultural treasures, including songs, dances, masks and regalia.

This video shows a small part of the impressive, historical event that brought Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw, other First Nations and non-aboriginal people together in an urban setting on the traditional lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

This is a video showing Kwakwaka’wakw, other First Nations, and non-aboriginal people together on Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations land.

Wawadit́ła Fiftieth Anniversary -