"Waap Galts'ap is important to the students because it is there for them to use, it is a step towards bridging the gaps between First Nations and non-aboriginal populations of the Northwest. It is also a symbol of the partnership between First Nations and Northwest Community College. First Nations communities entrust CMTN with the education of our community members and future leaders. Waap Galts’ap symbolizes the spirit of collaboration and inclusiveness and a new era towards First Nations autonomy."
"At the invitation of CMTN, I sat on the planning commission for Waap Galts'ap. I was asked for input on many issues to do with the planning and to do a blessing for the opening. I'm looking forward to the celebration and the recognition that the relationship between First Nations and CMTN has a positive impact on the local economy, health and quality of life in the Northwest."
Nisga’a Elder and mentor, Chair of CMTN Board of Governors, Gitwinksihlkw Village Government representative on CMTN First Nations Council
“The Waap Galts’ap initiative is symbolic in that it signals that First Nations have something to contribute and acknowledges that First Nations contributions are positive. It’s a signal to the rest of Canada about of the acceptance of the First Peoples of Canada and, in particular, the acceptance of Northwest First Nations architecture and culture. It demonstrates that together, we can build the best place in the world. Here we have a public institution acknowledging First Nations, their knowledge, their culture. Waap Galts’ap is a symbol of education taking an active part in decolonization.”
“My role in the Waap Galts’ap project has taken many forms. At the very beginning, when the First Nations Council began there was always discussion of a ‘safe place’ for students, advisors, Elders etc. Waap Galts’ap is a dream come true because it has exceeded the council’s expectations. As a governor on the College Board of Governors, I was honoured to attend planning meetings. I am honoured to be able to offer some assistance to the actual opening. It will be another historic moment for the College, for Terrace, and for British Columbia. I have also been blessed to have been able to visit the longhouse at various stages of its building. The spirit in the building is beautiful and I'm sure that there will be those who will be overcome with emotion at the opening.”
“The most important signal to area First Nations with the creation of Waap Galts’ap is its visibility. It’s kind of like displaying a coat of arms. Waap Galts’ap is there for the world to see that we—First Nations—matter. For a long time, we have been in the background and it adds to the multitude of issues that we already face. This longhouse is more than a building it is an acceptance of us, our life and our history. It is showing that we are an integral part of the College. So it is very important not just to First Nations but to everyone as it demonstrates that we are here and we are part of the College as well. It will go a long way to facilitate healing. It is also important in that it will provide a welcoming meeting place for the public as well as for the First Nations Education Coordinators or Administrators from the 26 bands in the CMTN service area; these education professionals can meet with their sponsored students in a comfortable, welcoming setting.”
Hereditary Chieftan from the Kitsumkalum First Nation and Terrace member, CMTN Board of Governors
“CMTN made a conscious and bold decision a number of years ago to find ways to elevate the stature of a very prominent student population base reaching out more intensely to community needs, with the establishment of Native motifs, creation of a First Nations Council, commissioning and raising of totems and now, the Longhouse. The College isn’t looking at making this an Aboriginal only institution but wants to make it stand out for this area and within the Province of British Columbia for its vision and a willingness to make change happen that will be beneficial to the whole area and the province.”
“Our hope is that Waap Galts’ap will give First Nations increased pride in their efforts – they will see the vibrancy of a rich and storied history that will serve as a common area that was not uncommon for Northwestern First Nations. Coming together to visit, to trade, to tell other communities of what they have done over the past year and what they hope to do into the future.”
“At the Waap Galts’ap ceremony on May 8, I look forward to seeing hundreds of students, Native and non-native, standing with their families and community leaders in witnessing the opening of a truly wonderful new structure. And, I look forward to seeing that all of us will stand with a sense of pride that a dream can become reality with perseverance, hard work and clarity for what we want.”
Laxgibuu Clan Matriarch
“First Nations should take pride in knowing that this is the first modern day longhouse situated on a CMTN campus in the Northwest. While Waaps Galts’ap is a modern day version of a ‘long house,’ the user groups will feel and enjoy the serene atmosphere from within as Indian tribes and clans do from time to time when hosting meetings and/or feasts.”
“The Waap Galts'ap initiative by Coast Mountain College is a symbol for uniting students, faculty and the community. Not only did we (the Laxgyibuu Hereditary chief “Wudi Wyi” and Laxgyighets [tribal leaders] of Kitsumkalum with the other three clans of Kitsumkalum) support the initial concept of the building, location and design; we supported and provided a cultural advisory role throughout the whole process.”
“At the opening ceremony, I’m most looking forward to celebrating and recognizing the accomplishment of all the people who took part in getting the house to where it is today and congratulating everyone on a job well done.