Ceremony welcomes Nuu-chah-nulth babies

Sixteen Nuu-chah-nulth babies were welcomed into the world at the Port Alberni Friendship Center on Oct. 18.

Elder Fidelia Haiyupis from Ahousaht and 7iihatis First Nations sings a lullaby to one-month-old Aiden Dennis of Huuayaht First Nation during a baby welcoming at the Port Alberni Friendship Centre last week.

Sixteen babies were introduced and welcomed into this world at the Port Alberni Friendship Center on Oct. 18.

Twice a year the Nuu-cah-nulth Tribal Council nursing staff and the staff at Knee-waas, a satellite office of the Friendship Center, have a lunch to welcome the new babies into the Valley.

The parents have worked with staff members as they waited for their baby to arrive.

Traditionally, babies were welcomed by the community.  Today this becomes difficult in urban areas where people are not surrounded by family. To compensate for this the NTC nurses and the staff at Knee-waas get together to provide that welcoming family atmosphere.

At the welcoming ceremonies the mothers and babies are seated in a circle, with the father standing behind his family. Each mother is given a chance to introduce her baby and herself and tell the people which community they come from.

At the October event, traditional welcomes to the territories were given by Sharon Van Volsen for the Hupacasath First Nation and Irene Robinson for the Tseshaht First Nation.

Elder Fidelia Haiyupis from Ahousaht First Nation recited the opening prayer and sang a lullabye to baby Aiden Dennis from the Huuayaht First Nation, chosen to represent all the babies at the ceremony.

The babies were presented with a cedarbark headband and the moms received a baby gift bag.

In the spirit of community those gathered at the welcoming enjoyed lunch followed by camas, or dessert.

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