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Walk for Reconciliation 2017


 

A Historic Moment
This is a historic moment for all of us. 2017 is a year of significant reflection as we recognize 150 years since Canadian confederation. 2017 comes amidst a period of heightened social awareness and momentum around reconciliation, including the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in 2015, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and our recently released National Narrative on Reconciliation Report. Now is a critical time to embrace reconciliation.

“Canada 150” alludes to two vastly different narratives and holds different meanings to the people in Canada. As we know, Canada’s history stretches much longer than the 150 years since Canadian confederation and as we stand here in this time and place, we reflect that there is a broken relationship amongst us that needs nurturing. From the creation of the Indian Act and the legacy of the residential school system felt by generations of Indigenous communities, there is a deep wound within our people that needs to be addressed. That is why we are all here—to continue initiating conversation with all of the people in our country to bring reconciliation to the forefront. If we can all reconcile ourselves as human beings, we hold the hope that the next 150 years will be brighter.

Over the past few years, Reconciliation Canada has engaged with Canadians across the Nation to bring reconciliation to the forefront from coast to coast to coast. We have held National Reconciliation Gatherings in Vancouver, Membertou, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Whitehorse and Montreal. With each initiative, we hope to expand perspectives and understandings of reconciliation and provide a space that allows for individual transformation and renewed relationships.

On September 22nd 2013, Reconciliation Canada hosted the first Walk for Reconciliation in Vancouver and 70,000 people braved the pouring rain to walk in support for reconciliation. We heard from many of the survivors that attended the walk that they were brought to tears by the immense support that their communities displayed. Additionally, in 2015 Reconciliation Canada, in partnership with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, held the second Walk for Reconciliation in Ottawa.

Earlier this year, Reconciliation Canada conducted the National Narrative Report on Reconciliation. The results of this national report revealed that Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians are in agreement on a number of aspects about reconciliation, notably the value of acknowledging the contribution that Indigenous peoples make to Canadian society, the need to provide greater opportunity and equality for Indigenous people, as well as the need for reconciliation. Following this report, we hosted the National Thought Table which gathered Thought Leaders from across the nation to share their perspectives on a range of issues regarding reconciliation. We also hosted “In the Sprit of Reconciliation: An Intergenerational Gathering”, where spiritual leaders, elders and youth gathered to reflect on the spiritual aspect of reconciliation. All of our engagement this year has been leading up to our signature Canada 150+ event—The Walk for Reconciliation.


 

Walk for Reconciliation 2017
This September 24th, we will once again gather together in the streets of downtown Vancouver to walk for reconciliation and highlight the intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential Schools, as well as honor survivors and intergenerational survivors. The Walk for Reconciliation is designed to raise awareness and help every participant see how reconciliation is relevant to them. The event highlights the unique history and cultures of the city and it is an event for people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and faiths. The act of walking and sharing our stories can join us all in a shared commitment to creating a new way forward in our relationships.

This year, we hope to match our previous participation numbers and display our support for the reconciliation movement. We will begin our walk at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, walk across the viaducts, end in Strathcona Park. The route will be two kilometers long and is welcome to all.

The Walk for Reconciliation will culminate in Strathcona park where we will be hosting the first Reconciliation Expo! At the Expo, there will be community booths which will include information regarding reconciliation, experiential cultural activities, and a range of presentations from community groups, indigenous organizations, and multicultural groups. Additionally, there will be an area dedicated to local artisans, a place for children to play educational games, a space for Indigenous craft making, as well as a variety of Vancouver based food-trucks serving ethnically diverse foods. On the main stage there will be captivating performances including live singing, dancing and various displays of local artwork and most notably, there will be an address from a keynote speaker.

Walk with us
We urge Indigenous peoples across this country to attend the Walk for Reconciliation as a celebration of strength and resilience. By displaying openness, generosity and love, Indigenous peoples in Canada will continue to show leadership in the reconciliation movement. In return, we can be met with open hearts and minds when discussing past and present inequalities that we must work towards amending.

We extend our hand to you to join us for the Walk for Reconciliation in the spirit of ‘Namwayut—we are all one. On September 24th, we invite you to join us to walk for the missing, for those who have gone, for loved ones, for justice, and for healing. We will walk to remember the intergenerational lives taken, to honour survivors and to acknowledge those impacted by the Indian residential school system. Together, we will walk for reconciliation.

How we build relationships today affects our next generations. We can all take this monumental opportunity to embrace a space for openness and real dialogue to create a mutual vision for the future based on the values of justice and equality for all. In doing so, we recognize our common humanity and the shared hopes and aspirations we have for the place we live.


 

How to get involved
If you would like to further become involved with Reconciliation Canada and receive the most up to date information regarding the Walk and our other initiatives, we encourage you to sign up for our monthly newsletter. Additionally, you can follow this link to sign up as an individual or as a team member for the Walk, or go to www.reconciliationcanada.ca to sign up to volunteer or donate. Follow us on social media by searching @Rec_Can on twitter, @reconciliationcanada on Instagram, and Reconciliation Canada on Facebook. Feel free to tweet us and share your photos and comments with us as we would love to hear from you!

Historic National Gathering of Elders to be held in Amiskwaci-waskahikan, the Traditional Gathering Place of Indigenous Peoples

Treaty 6 Territory August 11, 2017: The first ever National Gathering of Elders 2017 will be held September 11 – 14, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta at the Edmonton Expo Centre.

The Gathering marks the first time in Canada’s history that elders and seniors from every region and Indigenous group will come together in the spirit of friendship and reconciliation. Building on the theme ‘Coming Home, Voices of Elders,’ the National Gathering of Elders will be a place for laughter and the sharing of culture, traditions, history, and an opportunity for the creation of long lasting connections.

First Nations, Metis and Inuit Elders from all across Canada, as well as youth and the general public are all invited to this historic event. Planned activities include opening and closing ceremonies featuring a parade of Nations, health and wellness sessions, Indigenous art exhibits, a tradeshow, and discussion forums on climate change, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, revitalization of Indigenous languages and culture, and reconciliation. There will be an intercultural showcase, Indigenous entertainers, a talent show, cultural excursions and dance socials.

“Amiskwaci-waskahikan,” which in Cree translates into Beaver Hills House, was known as a Gathering Place for Indigenous Peoples from all across Turtle Island. Fort Edmonton was established near this Gathering Place in the late 1700’s. In time, Fort Edmonton grew to become Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. Located within the Treaty 6 Territory, Edmonton is still a Gathering Place for Indigenous Peoples, so it is fitting that the inaugural National Gathering of Elders will be held in Amiskwaci-waskahikan.

The 2017 National Gathering of Elders was the vision of Chief Rupert Meneen, Tallcree Tribal Government and Grand Chief of Treaty 8 First Nations (Alberta), and is the culmination of twelve months of planning, spearheaded by a National Gathering of Elders Advisory Council and a core group of organizers from Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 First Nations (Alberta), the Metis Nation of Alberta, Metis Settlements General Council. Inuit Edmonton and the Assembly of First Nations – Alberta.


 

Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies Enhances Indigenous Reconciliation at Trent University

Academic requirement for Indigenous course content and new lecture series featuring Indigenous leaders also among key recommendations approved by University Senate


 
Trent University announced a significant addition to its 48-year history instilling Indigenous reconciliation in the institution’s everyday work with the approval of 11 key recommendations, among them the naming of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies.

Coinciding with National Aboriginal Day on June 21, the announcement of the newly-named School was among a substantial series of recommendations, furthering Trent’s leadership in Indigenous reconciliation and education. The recommendations include an innovative lecture-talk series that will bring prominent Indigenous leaders to the University to speak on Indigenous issues, and a new academic requirement for all undergraduate students to successfully complete at least 0.5 credits from an approved list of courses with Indigenous content. With this recommendation, Trent becomes only the third university in Canada to institute mandatory Indigenous course content.

“The naming of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies and the implementation of the associated recommendations are a milestone in the evolution of Indigenous Studies at Trent. We aim to educate indigenous and non-indigenous students about Indigenous history, traditions, cultures, and ways of knowing,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “National Aboriginal Day is a good day to celebrate these initiatives, but we are striving to make Indigenous reconciliation part of our everyday work and consciousness.”

The naming of the new School honours the life and history of Chanie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who died in his attempt to escape residential school in 1966. The Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies brings together Trent’s undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. programs under one School and unites various events, initiatives and spaces dedicated to Indigenous perspectives, knowledge and culture at the University. Prior to the launch of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, Trent University paid tribute to Chanie and other residential school victims and survivors when Wenjack Theatre, the largest lecture hall on campus, was named in his honour in 1973.

“This is the latest effort in Trent’s well-known 48-year record of Indigenous reconciliation,” said David Newhouse, director of the School, and chair of Indigenous Studies at Trent. “We will continue to honour the life of Chanie Wenjack and recognize the impact that residential schools had on Indigenous peoples through the work that we plan to undertake at Trent. Our goal at the Chanie Wenjack School of Indigenous Studies is to constantly advance the knowledge of and about Indigenous peoples with a view to the overall improvement of quality of life and to contribute to the creation of places of respect, dignity and power for Indigenous peoples.”

Additional initiatives listed among the recommendations approved by the University’s Senate include:

  • Launch of new Indigenous Research Centre – uniting researchers across the University who share an interest in Indigenous issues;
  • Redesign of Native Studies Reading Room into Centre for Indigenous Learning –housed in the newly renovated Bata Library in fall 2018, his new space will feature a display of significant documents, including the Williams Treaty and other Indigenous documents that are significant to the history of the territory on which Trent is located;
  • Creation of Indigenous Knowledges & Pedagogies Working Group – within the Centre for Teaching and Learning, this group will assist faculty in the design, or review and redesign of courses, and in the creation of new course offerings;
  • Establishment of a permanent sub-committee of Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC) to recommend and periodically review courses on the Approved Indigenous Course list; and
  • Review of Research Office portfolio and operations with aim of developing and/or adjusting current policies to raise awareness of, and respect for, Indigenous people.

“These approved recommendations help set the way forward for the next phase of Trent’s work on Indigenous reconciliation,” said Dr. Jacqueline Muldoon, provost and vice-president Academic at Trent. “Over the course of the University’s first half century, our focus was centred on the development of Indigenous programming. Looking ahead, our goals are to ensure that our foundation supporting Indigenous reconciliation remains strong and that we extend it to encompass key institutional sites and processes so that reconciliation becomes fully engrained into our everyday work as a university.”

Trent’s leadership in Indigenous Studies dates back to 1969 when the University became the first in Canada, and only the second in North America, to establish an academic department dedicated to the study of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous knowledges. Trent was the first university in Canada to create unique Indigenous spaces, hire Indigenous student support staff, recruit and admit Indigenous students through special entry programs, and to teach Indigenous languages and Indigenous Knowledge with elders and traditional peoples. A full timeline of the University’s history of leadership in Indigenous education can be viewed at the new website for the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at trentu.ca/indigenous.


 

About Chanie Wenjack
Chanie Wenjack was a young Anishinaabe boy from Ogoki Post in Marten Falls in Northern Ontario, Canada. He attended Celia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario. The school was run by the Women’s Society of the Presbyterian Church. Chanie attended the school for two years and ran away on Oct 16, 1966. He was headed home when he died of exposure on October 23, 1966 on the railway tracks near Redditt, Ontario, the home of his uncle.

About Trent University
One of Canada’s top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that’s personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Trent’s unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than
ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent’s students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent’s Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham – Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.
The land on which Trent University is located is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Mississauga adjacent to Haudenosaunee Territory and in the territory covered by Treaty 20 and the Williams Treaties.

The Drum is Calling Festival

This is one event you don’t want to miss! The Drum is Calling Festival is a one of a kind, once in a lifetime event, providing an opportunity for everyone to celebrate Vancouver’s three Host Nations. Saturday July 22 celebrate the opening of this Festival with a free pancake breakfast for the first 500 guests arriving at Larwill Park (688 Cambie + Georgia).

The City of Vancouver, the world’s first official City of Reconciliation, has created the Drum is Calling Festival in partnership with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. This 9-day festival will feature cultural traditions, traditional and cutting-edge arts, music, dance, film, poetry, PowWow, and much more.

Highlighting the festival will be stellar performances from iconic artists such as singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, PowWowStep creator DJ Shub, singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, country sensation Crystal Shawanda, northern Ontario rockers Midnight Shine, Juno Award winner William Prince, rising R&B star George Leach, genre-defying artist Kinnie Starr, literary giant Tomson Highway, and powerful spoken word poet Shane Koyczan and The Short Story Long.

Additional highlights will include hands-on workshops and live programming inside the Indigenous housing forms built by the Kanata Festival on Turtle Island. The inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week is the brainchild of former international model Joleen Mitton. The show will feature the consolidated and emerging artists of Indigenous fashion design and modelling. While Having Soup is a powerful installation in which over the amount of time it takes to consume a bowl of soup, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Vancouverites will engage in a “three-course” dialogue about charged issues during Canada 150+.

There will be hands-on workshops, and live programming inside the site including Theatre for Young People presented by Shaw Communications Inc., carving and weaving workshops, play readings, curated short films by the National Film Board, From Oral to Written presented in partnership with Talonbooks and the Vancouver Writers Fest and the best of authentic Indigenous artisans, vendors and food. Exhibition games and a Basketball tournament will be taking place in adjacent streets. A spectacular night of intercultural drumming will ignite the thunderous power of dancers and drummers from around the world and is led by renowned percussionist and cultural collaborator Sal Ferraras.

Festivalgoers will experience something new every day. The artistic and cultural program will be in sync with the theme of each day, starting July 22 with 3-Host Nation Day, and followed up with Our Elders Day, Matriarch Day, 7 Generations – Youth Day Presented by Shaw Communications Inc., Warriors Day, Friendship Day, Gathering Our Relations Day, Transformation Day and closing the festival on July 30 with Intertribal In Action Day.

Oh, did I mention, all events are FREE! Taking place in the heart of downtown at Larwill Park, bounded by Cambie & Beatty streets and Georgia and Dunsmuir streets in downtown Vancouver, everyone is welcome. Those activities taking place at the Queen Elizabeth theatre and Vancouver Playhouse theatre require tickets. Tickets are free and links to register online are available at canada150plus.ca/drum/

Friends and families alike can share what we all have in common – our joys, fears, hopes and dreams through film, song, literature and dance.
For information and full schedule of events visit canada150plus.ca

Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre at NorQuest College Providing Opportunity for Determined, Goal-Oriented Women



Depending on how one looks at it, patience is either a rewarding virtue or the procrastinator’s guide to failure. Many have excelled thanks to deliberate thought. However, there has been equal success gained by those who don’t just wait around for good things to happen.

Take Regan Gamble, for example. Contrary to her surname, the 40-year-old was leaving nothing to chance when she arrived in Edmonton looking for career options in the fall of 2015. That’s why one of the first places she visited was the Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre (AACCC) at NorQuest College. “I knew that there were organizations out there that could help me,” says Gamble, a member of the Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation in Saskatchewan. “I just needed to get out there and find them. Once I heard about the Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre, I was completely drawn to it.”

Another good part to this story is Gamble is now working full-time as an engagement advisor with Edmonton’s Women Building Futures (WBF). WBF is one of this province’s leading educational institutions preparing women for work in trade industries like electrician, carpenter, Class I Driver, and other heavy equipment operators. WBF has a record of career success for women within these industries at a consistent employment rate of 90 per cent.
But before that happened, Gamble needed help in her new city. Initially, she thought of going into the safety side of the construction industry so she used Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre (AACCC), services to help earn safety tickets through the Alberta Construction Safety Association.

Through it all she was given emotional support by AACCC staff as a newcomer to Edmonton, provided with help to find information for things like funding, was given assistance with writing resumes and cover letters, and offered a treasure trove of contacts of employers and other helpful services. “I got everything I needed. The centre completely catered to my needs,” said Gamble. Which brings us back to the now. Feeling confident thanks to the AACCC’s support, and using one of her many provided contacts, she reached out to WBF to see if there was any way she could help. In the end, following an extensive interview, a way was discovered.

Seeing her tenacity and determination, WBF recognized Gamble would be a valuable asset when it came to attracting other Indigenous women to the trades. So today, because she reached out and asked for help, because she utilized the training and services the AACCC provides, and because she promoted her existing and new talents with confidence, Gamble has more than a job – she has a career.

Border Tribal Council and SIGA Break Ground on Lloydminster Casino Development

Lloydminster Casino Rendering Photo Courtesy of Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority



Lloydminster, SK –

The Border Tribal Council and the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) held a sod turning ceremony today to mark the official groundbreaking for the Lloydminster casino development – this will be SIGA’s seventh entertainment destination in Saskatchewan.
Chiefs Wallace Fox and Wayne Semaganis, from Onion Lake Cree Nation and Little Pine First Nation, respectively, on behalf of the Border Tribal Council revealed plans for the Eagle Park West development and reaffirmed their eagerness to expedite construction of the new casino.
Chief Reginald Bellerose, Board Chair for the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, speaks to the key partnerships involved.

“On behalf of SIGA, we’re excited to officially be in the ground and to continue working with the Border Tribal Council to make this development a reality. This casino will not only benefit the community of Lloydminster but all First Nations of Saskatchewan, and is only possible through the positive partnerships between the FSIN, Border Tribal Council, Little Pine First Nation and the City of Lloydminster.”

The land for the development is owned by Little Pine First Nation, which is responsible for site development. The casino property will be leased to SIGA by the Border Tribal Council, the facility landlord, which will be responsible, alongside SIGA, for the facility development. SIGA will operate the casino and follow the same profit distribution model as its other six casinos as outlined in the Gaming Framework Agreement, with profits being administered by the Province of Saskatchewan.

Breaking Ground on the Lloydminster Casino ProjectPhoto Courtesy of Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority


50% is shared with the First Nations Trust which is distributed to Saskatchewan First Nation communities;
25% is shared with regional Community Development Corporations (CDCs) which are situated in the casino locations and benefit local initiatives;
25% is shared with the provincial government’s General Revenue Fund.

“The new casino will have significant benefits for Lloydminster – it will create local employment, provide funding for city services, non-profit and charitable organizations, and it will support local businesses through service agreements and by attracting tourism dollars to the community,” says Zane Hansen, President and CEO, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.

Participating in the sod turning ceremony were First Nation Elders, representatives from the FSIN, Border Tribal Council, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Little Pine First Nation, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, and from various levels of government.

SIGA continues to strengthen the lives of First Nation people through employment, economic growth and community relations. SIGA operates six other casinos in Saskatchewan in North Battleford, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Yorkton and on the White Bear First Nation near Carlyle. SIGA’s casinos offer a distinctive First Nations entertainment experience that reflects the traditional aspects of First Nations heritage and hospitality.

Just Announced Tanya Tagaq to perform at The Drum is Calling Festival this July

TANYA TAGAQ – photo by Katrin Braga

Playing to major festivals and packed houses all over the world you don’t want to miss

Experimental vocalist and artist Tanya Tagaq who will be headlining The Drum is Calling Festival on July 24 at Larwill Park. This award-winning Inuk throat singer released her latest album Retribution in 2016 and in 2014 won the Polaris Prize for best Canadian album for Animism.

BUFFY SAINT MARIE

The City of Vancouver’s Canada 150+ signature event The Drum is Calling is a nine-day, immersive festival of Indigenous and diverse arts and culture. Highlighting the festival will be stellar performances from iconic artists such as singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie who will be the opening headliner, PowWowStep creator DJ Shub, singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, country sensation Crystal Shawanda, northern Ontario rockers Midnight Shine, Juno Award winner William Prince, rising R&B star George Leach, genre-defying artist Kinnie Starr, literary giant Tomson Highway, and powerful spoken word poet Shane Koyczan and The Short Story Long.

For those drum lovers, a must-see will be a spectacular night of Drums over Salish Sea in July 27. This intercultural drumming will ignite the thunderous power of dancers and drummers from around the world and is led by renowned percussionist and cultural collaborator Sal Ferraras.

Artistic Program

Saturday July 22:        Bitterly Divine, Murray Porter, Buffy Sainte-Marie
Sunday July 23:           William Prince, Crystal Shawanda, Tom Jackson
Monday July 24:          Amanda Rheaume, Susan Aglukark,Tanya Tagaq
Tuesday July 25:          Shamik Bilgi, Boom Booms with Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Midnight Shine
Wednesday July 26:   Dj Kookum
Thursday July 27:        The Jerry Cans, Drums over the Salish Sea
Friday July 28:            Donny Parenteau, Sierra Noble, Chantal Kreviazuk
Saturday July 29:        George Leach, Kinnie Starr, DJ Shub
Sunday July 30:           Leonard Sumner, Leela Gilday, Shane Koyczan and The Short Story Long

Attendees can expect much more than just music; additional highlights will include hands-on workshops and live programming inside the Indigenous housing forms built by the Kanata Festival on Turtle Island. While Having Soup is a powerful installation in which over the amount of time it takes to consume a bowl of soup, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Vancouverites will engage in a “three-course” dialogue about charged issues during Canada 150+.

SHANE KOYCZAN

As part of the festival, the inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week will feature the super-stars and emerging artists of Indigenous fashion design and modelling. The show is the brainchild of former international model Joleen Mitton.

Other forms of art will include carving exhibitions, curated short films by the National Film Board, Theatre for Young people presented by Shaw Communications Inc., and From Oral to Written presented in partnership with the Vancouver Writers Fest.

CHANTAL KREVIAZUK

Artistic Director Margo Kane and the curators have themed each day, so festival-goers will experience something new at every return visit. From honouring our Host Nations to Elders and Matriarch to Youth, Warriors, and Friends, the themes bring together cultural presentations such as theatre, play readings, carving and weaving workshops, literary and speaker series, and film screenings. The best of authentic Indigenous artisans, vendors and food will be on site to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

The Festival’s main venue Larwill Park will feature a festival zone with stages, food and craft vendors, exhibits and more. Activities and performances will also take place at adjacent streets and plazas, including other venues such as Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Playhouse Theatre.

Events are free however some indoor venues may require advance registration. For more information on these events and programming for Celebration 150+ please visit the website at canada150plus.ca

Canada 150+ Signature Events Unveiled

The events will showcase the vibrant living culture of our three Host Nations—the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh—as well as traditional and contemporary arts from the Urban Aboriginal and Métis people of Vancouver and beyond.

The nine-day Drum is Calling Festival set for July 22-30 in Larwill Park is one of three signature events planned for this year. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Festival Artistic Director Margo Kane today announced the unique Indigenous and diverse cultural programming for this festival.

Some festival headliners include: Buffy Sainte-Marie, PowWowStep creator DJ Shub, singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, country sensation Crystal Shawanda, Juno Award winner William Prince, rising R&B star George Leach, genre-defying artist Kinnie Star, literary giant Tomson Highway, and powerful spoken word poet and musician Shane Koyczan.

“Vancouver is proud to be a City of Reconciliation and commemorating our heritage this Canada 150+ year in partnership with our host First Nations, the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vancouver’s ‘plus’ in our Canada 150+ celebrations recognizes the heritage of our land before 150 years, our journey to the present, and moving forward with mutual understanding and respect with our local First Nations and Urban Aboriginal community. I encourage all Vancouverites to experience the music, traditions, art and more of our Host Nations at one of our many events this year.”

During the program unveiling some of the speakers included Chief Wayne Sparrow from Musqueam Nation, Chief Ian Campbell from Squamish Nation and Chief Maureen Thomas from Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Additional highlights during the Drum is Calling Festival will include hands-on workshops and live programming inside the Indigenous housing forms built by the Kanata installation.

Indigenous Fashion Week (July 26–29), is the brainchild of former international model Joleen Mitten and will feature the super-stars and emerging artists of Indigenous fashion design and modelling.

The first signature event of 2017 will be the opportunity to witness a landing of the Pulling Together Canoe Journey at the Gathering of Canoes on July 14.  Up to 30 canoes—with First Nations, Public Service Agencies and youth paddlers—will request permission to land on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

During the third signature event, tens of thousands of Vancouverites are also expected to participate in the second-ever Walk for Reconciliation on September 24. In partnership with Reconciliation Canada and as part of the legacy of the inspirational Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C., the walk will remind Vancouverites of the healing and transformational power of ‘Namwayut — We Are All One’.

More details about The City of Vancouver’s Canada 150+ programming are available on the program’s website: www.canada150plus.ca.

Danette Burden SIIT Carpentry Teacher

Danette Burden. Photo Courtesy of SIIT.

by Frank Larue

Danette Burden is a carpentry teacher at SIIT, her background showing a distinct penchant for carpentry. In her own words, she’s “… a red seal /Journeyman Carpenter. I pursued my career as a carpenter in 2006 when I had taken a pre-employment carpentry course in Outlook, Saskatchewan that was offered through SIAST. It offered the Level 1 and Level 2 technical training, and a 2-week work practicum. I worked with a couple well-known companies in the 4-years, and was able to get my ticket in 2011. Prior to my schooling with SIAST, I had a computer business diploma, and had most of my high school. I ended up working with SIIT IN 2014 when I had seen an ad for a women in trades instructor posted online. I have always wanted to do something to help make a difference within the indigenous community. I was able to see 11 women graduate a CWP course. A few of them are still working on the trade as a carpenter, and are pursuing their career as a carpenter.”

Burden was born and raised in Edmonton.

“I moved my young family of 4 boys to Saskatchewan in 2005,” she recounts. “We have made Saskatchewan our home. I am a carpenter instructor teaching apprenticeship courses. I have taught Level 1, Level 2, and at the moment I am teaching a Level 3 class. I have also taught a women in trades CWP course in Montréal Lake (2014), a CWP–RRAC program in Mistiwasis (2014), and a steel stud drywall course. I have been employed with SIIT on and off since 2014, where I taught courses. As of September 2016, I was hired as the apprenticeship instructor.”

Finding the right career is never easy, but carpentry had been a natural calling for Burden, and teaching was the perfect move.

“I love teaching and feel I have found my career. Being able to use my skills and knowledge to help others on the path of their careers is very rewarding as an instructor. I feel I am making a difference,” beams Burden. “To see the accomplishment on my students faces when they complete a project, completing a course, or passing a level is very rewarding. I know I have done what I could as an instructor.”

Not only is she happy with her career choice, Saskatchewan has been the right move.

“The post-secondary education for Indigenous students in Saskatchewan is amazing,” affirms Burden. “Being from a large city like Edmonton, and as an Indigenous women, I wish we had as much opportunity as there is here in Saskatchewan. My personal goal is to continue working with Indigenous people and helping better their lives, working towards building their future. By doing what I love doing, it continues to allow my own children to see the importance of helping others.”

Marci Lyon Makes Her Dream Come True

Marci Lyon. Photo courtesy of SIIT.

Marci Lyon teaches heavy equipment operation at the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology. She has dealt with unusual circumstances in her life, but has always managed to triumph in situations that might have prevented someone with less survival instincts. She was born in northern Saskatchewan.

“My family on both my mother’s side and father’s side are all integrated in the construction industry, from drilling, mining, road building, cooking in camps, etc. It’s in my blood and desire to become involved one way or another,” asserts Lyon. “One day my mother had become ill. Her heart was troubling her, and she asked if I’d come to cook in the camp with her up near Sandy Bay. After 18 hours a day working weeks alongside her, cooking and preparing meals for up to 75-150 men, I realized I wanted to be on the other side of the buffet table. These men were working only 12 hours a day, and were paid three times more than my mother and I.”

Lyon’s moved on, taking up part time jobs while trying to find employment in order to start a career. “Now after praying, I landed a permanent full-time job, and take small semi-driving jobs like hauling up north, or driving across country. I continued to apply myself to jobs and careers that suited my skills and knowledge.”

She began teaching Essential Life Skills, and eventually she did find a job. It worked out for several years, but eventually Lyon’s was tempted by a more promising offer. A job at SIIT, which she thought she would never get.

“But I applied anyway, and got the dream job I never expected. Now I’m in a position where I help guide, mentor, encourage, empower, and inspire others to do whatever they dream and pray for. My position with SIIT construction careers here in Prince Albert gives me the ability to help others every day.”

Lyon’s experience in teaching, not only in heavy equipment, but also in essential life skills, has given her a reason to feel she has made a change. When asked what her personal goals are, she humbly replied, “My personal goals and dreams came true with the help of our creator as he guides us in all four directions. My children, Jonathan (26) and Christopher (23), my grandson, Liam (3), and my retirement shack at Denare Beach, Saskatechewan, awaits me. Til then, I have planted my seeds here at SIIT, and my roots are growing deep and strong.”

Lyon’s has no regrets, she loves her work and believes her decision to teach at SIIT was the true turning point in her career. “After having the opportunity to teach essential life skills to various groups (up to 25 students) throughout the industry in the central and western provinces, I was notified about an opportunity to teach for SIIT in 2014. I’ve never taught on a scale this large, it seemed. At the time, I was working in partnership with the city of Saskatoon as the city engineer, clearing and making the land ready for a new residential area. I was also the first female H.E.O. instructor for both SIIT and city of Saskatoon. On such a scale, the privilege was so uncomprehensive. To teach in an environment where everyone wants each, and every student to shine, engage, inspire, empower, and achieve was their motto! I was in awe in a surrounding filled with all the people and things I’ve been loving to do my entire life. Above and beyond my wildest dreams. Now it’s time to prove to others that they can do what ‘‘ve done with the backing, knowledge, and empowerment from the huge province wide institution of SIIT.”