When Meghann O’Brien invited a group of snowboarders to a potlatch in the Haida homeland of the Queen Charlotte Islands (or Haida Gwaii), the opportunity was too good to pass up. Hauling snow machines to Terrace and spending three days immersed in the local culture, they found more than just great riding: a greater appreciation for the mountains, the land, and the diverse experiences snowboarding-and life in general-has to offer.
“The hollow beating of drums comes from the stage, intricate carved rattlers are shaking, people are singing, and a very wise man is talking. Robert Davidson, a famed Haida artist and carver, is in high spirits hosting a gathering of his people. He is asking all weavers to get up and dance, so Meghann O’Brien rises up, lifts up her own cedar woven hat and joins him. With her palms out, swaying back and forth, she dances away all that has troubled her in the past few days. As night falls, Meghann and the Alert Bay Haida take the stage wearing carved masks and blankets with abalone beads. A scream rips into the audience, arms fly out like wings to the sky, beavers chatter, orca’s mouths open and close with a clang, and people move in a motion of love and laughter.”
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