As I mentioned in my National Aboriginal Day post I headed down to the Trout Lake Community Center to experience and participate in the fun! It was a beautiful sunny Saturday where everyone was enjoying the weather, the food, the company and the performances!
We attended the performance of Songs for Reconciliation,a part of William Hiłamas Edward Wasden Jr‘s residency with The Vancouver Park Board. Wasden Jr brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples together to learn, share and perform Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw cultural stories, songs and dances. The project focused on revisiting cultural histories and knowledges that emphasize the importance of creating and maintaining loving relationships within families and especially towards children. William shares cultural knowledges and histories so that the participants and the audience can reflect on the many cultural elements that have been suppressed due to the residential school systems.
We heard songs for young boys learning to hunt, songs for infant and toddlers, and one called the duck song. The audience was encouraged to participate and sometimes the dancers would take you by the hand to get up and dance with them!
Another part of the project allowed for the participants to make their own regalia. Each piece was handmade, generally in black or red and had an animal on the back.
This collaborative residency allowed for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to learn, remember, and share in Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw cultural knowledges and stories. As an Anishnaabe person I was honoured to be there, and to have shared in the performance of this work!
Meegwetch (Thank you) William for initiating this project and for sharing your stories, songs and dances with us!