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Port Moody puts focus on Musqueam teachings for National Indigenous Peoples Day

A series of free talks and workshops leading up to National Indigenous Peoples Day begins tomorrow (June 4) in Port Moody.

A series of free talks and workshops leading up to National Indigenous Peoples Day begins tomorrow (June 4) in Port Moody.

Mary Point, Audrey Siegl and Manuel Axel Strain will speak about Musqueam land protection on Saturday as part of the In the Presence of Ancestors project, led by Port Moody resident and Coast Salish artist Tasha Faye Evans.

The talk takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. at Noons Creek Hatchery (340 Ioco Rd.).

On June 11, Crystal Sparrow will lead an all-ages workshop to create designs for spindle whorls.

And on June 18, Debra Sparrow, also of Musqueam heritage, will share her knowledge of the arts.

The focus on Musqueam coincides with the carving of a house post by the First Nation for In the Presence of Ancestors.

Evans commissioned five Coast Salish artists to carve house posts that she hopes will be erected around Port Moody Inlet to represent the Indigenous peoples and their ancestral territory:

  • Kwikwetlem - Brandon Gabriel
  • Tsleil Waututh - Zachary George
  • Musqueam - Crystal Sparrow
  • Squamish - Xwalacktun 
  • Katzie - Damon George

Meanwhile, instead of a gathering at Rocky Point Park on National Indigenous Peoples Day, Evans has invited organizations to host meaningful events and activities on June 21.

"We wanted to honour the day in an experiential way," she told the Tri-City News. "We wanted to gather with the community and take a day out to reflect on the relationship with the land and reconciliation."

She added, "It’s a day to focus on the future of the Indigenous people and on the amazing wealth of knowledge that Indigenous people have been denied value of."

Here’s what’s currently scheduled for June 21; no registration is required:

  • 8 to 11:30 a.m. = Tea and bannock (Mossom Creek Hatchery and Education Centre)
  • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. = Stand Like a Cedar StoryWalk (Port Moody Public Library)
  • 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. = Storytime with Kung Jaadee (Port Moody Public Library)
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. = Living Languages: First Peoples Voices in BC (Port Moody Station Museum)
  • 1 to 4:30 p.m. = Open house concert and book sale (Noons Creek Hatchery)
  • 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. = Interactive Community Art Project (PoMoArts, formerly Port Moody Arts Centre)

To learn more about In the Presence of Ancestors or to donate to the project, you're encouraged to visit Noons Creek Hatchery's website.