North Vancouver First Nation puts on Sunday fest
That culture is a commodity to be traded seems to be the unofficial theme of this year’s Tsleil-Waututh Nation Cultural Arts Festival.
Now in its sixth year running, this year’s event promises to maintain the festival’s traditional aim of showcasing Tsleil-Waututh arts and culture. But it will also welcome performers and artists from several other nations to the trading table, including from the Squamish, Sto:lo and Musqueam bands.
“It’s really an opportunity for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to share their culture,” said festival planner and Raven Events and Communications manager Katrin Harry in an interview Monday. “It’s all about experiencing aboriginal culture, learning about the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s inextricable link to its territory, and it’s really a celebration of diversity and family and community. The festival really honours traditional and contemporary trade relationships and partnerships. And so we looked for entertainment that was out of the territory or neighbouring territory.”
This year’s celebration kicks off at noon Sunday at Cates Park with an opening address from Tsleil-Waututh chief Justin George, followed by announcements from local politicians and community leaders. Then it’s right into the program on the Chief Dan George Main Stage with North Vancouver rock band Bitterly Divine, led by the Squamish Nation’s Tewanee Joseph. The Smokey Valley Pow Wow Dancers, Black Owl Blues and Christy Charles are also slated to perform, alongside a special Tsleil-Waututh scavenger hunt, canoe tours of Burrard Inlet in traditional 25-foot canoes and demonstrations of ancient coastal technologies.
But, of course, it’s not all about looking to the past.
“The Tsleil-Waututh Nation will also display some of their new economic development activities,” Harry said. “There will be someone down there from the Raven Woods condominium development and so forth.
“It’s a great opportunity for neighbours to connect and that’s what it’s designed for,” Harry continued. “Obviously it’s for all communities in the Tsleil-Waututh traditional territory but we’re really looking for the people from the North Shore to get to know each other.”
To that end, the festival will run a shuttle service to and from the festival site from both Dollarton Village and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation centre and will have special Tsleil- Waututh ambassadors at the fest, educating attendees on different aspects of life and history for the People of the Inlet. Look for their name tags.
The sixth annual Tsleil-Waututh Nation Cultural Arts Festival runs from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, August 19 at Cates Park.