Looks like our great idea from last year didn’t catch on.
Perhaps there are some Hub readers with exceptional memories who might recall that last summer we suggested Hay River should have a new observance.
Well, we thought it was a good idea, even if apparently no one else did. We haven’t seen or heard of any plans to commemorate the creation of the town.
That’s too bad because this year Hay River is celebrating its 55th birthday. Depending on how you calculate it, Hay River is now a senior upon reaching that apparently golden number of 55. Or maybe it should be called an elder.
Of course, we aren’t really surprised that Hay River’s birthday is not observed.
After all, June 27 is right in the middle of celebration season – National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, Canada Day on July 1 and the Hay Days Festival of music, arts and culture from July 3 to July 7.
It seems that there’s just only so much celebrating that can go around.
Still, we think the founding of Hay River as an official community needs at least some notice.
Of course, we certainly recognize the area that is now the Town of Hay River has seen people come and go for thousands of years. So a celebration of the founding of the town is no slight to that Indigenous heritage. Like how celebrating an individual’s birthday is not ignoring the fact that person had ancestors.
Hay River is a community worth celebrating, and June 27 seems to be as good a date to do it as any other.
There is no denying the community has problems just like anywhere else, but it also does a lot of things right.
It is a mix of many different people who generally get along quite well. It has a strong volunteering spirit, as witnessed by the large numbers of people who help out every year with the NWT Track and Field Championships and the even more who helped with the Arctic Winter Games earlier this year. It has a thriving entrepreneurial spirit, which cannot be said about all communities in the NWT or Canada.
All those things – and many more – are worth celebrating and encouraging.
And celebrating Hay River itself would not take away from the other celebrations this time of year of Indigenous peoples or the country of Canada.
We are certainly not suggesting that a parade be held on June 27.
However, there are many other possible ways to celebrate the town, and we would propose just one to see if it catches on for next year. We would suggest that the Town of Hay River sponsor an essay contest for students. They could write about the history, culture or anything else about the town, and the winners could be presented prizes and certificates at the council meeting closest to June 27.
At least that would be something to celebrate Hay River.
The community does deserve something.