“I was very honoured today to witness the Britannia Honouring Ceremony, where community members were blanketed in recognition of their work with at risk youth and in many other fields. The traditional Coast Salish ceremony included drumming and singing and is just one example of the grassroots work for reconciliation taking place in our city”- Geoff Meggs, Deputy Mayor (via facebook)
On February 28th 2017 Britannia hosted its first ever Salish Honouring Ceremony. This inclusive, Salish-style ceremony was an opportunity to hold up the individuals who go above and beyond in our community.
Under the direction of Sam George and Kat Norris, recognized Salish cultural leaders, the Britannia Community Honouring Ceremony recognized a diverse group, consisting of residents, staff and volunteers who were nominated by their peers, fellow community members, friends and/or colleagues to represent the collective achievements of our community through their own valued contributions. The ceremony was intended to reflect the spirit of the Reconciliation and Inclusion work currently underway at Britannia which aims to build on local strengths and engage the various parts of our neighbourhood to create meaningful and sustainable change.
“I was so happy to be able to take part in Salish Ceremony in my own neighbourhood. This was a great experience, and I hope these types of opportunities continue”- Indigenous Elder
Witnesses included Deputy Mayor, Geoff Meggs, VPL Manager Megan Langley, VSB District Principal for Aboriginal Education, Don Fiddler, Vancouver Park Board General Manager, Malcolm Bromley,and Danica Djurkovic, City of Vancouver.
John Pozdik, or “Tall John,” is a lifelong community volunteer, having volunteered since the age of 14 locally in places including Mt. Pleasant Elementary, BYRC, and programs at Britannia. He lives in Vancouver and currently works in construction. (Nominated by Britannia VPL)
Andrew Coombes has 12 years experience working in the field of mental health and addictions with at-risk youth. For the last five years he has worked with dedication and compassion doing street outreach to at-risk youths in the Britannia area. (Nominated by Britannia VPL)
Allan Williams Jr, or AJ, is well-known and connected in the East Vancouver community. He is a familiar face at Britannia, Raycam, and the Aboriginal Friendship Centre. You might recognize him at community events, sharing his drumming and dancing along with his family as the Four Fires Society. (Nominated by Britannia VPL)
Annie Danilko was born in Queen Charlotte City in 1961 and lived in Masset, BC until she was 12. Annie moved to Vancouver in 2003 to be with family and started working for the community at the GV Food Bank. Annie has shared her time mentoring youth at Off The Grill, volunteering and participating in Elder’s programs and preparing food to share at community events. (Nominated by Grandview-Woodland Food Connection)
Bill Lightbown is a Haida-Kootenay Elder who has lived in the Commercial Drive area on and off since he first moved here at the age of 15. Bill attended high school at Britannia and was a regular at the Grandview Pool Hall. Bill recalls how some of his first encounters with racism in this neighbourhood motivated him to get involved in politics and dedicate his life to improving the conditions for Indigenous peoples in Canada, alongside his partner, Lavina. In April, Bill will be turning 90. Some of his accomplishments include helping to create the BC Association of Non-Status Indians (later the UNN) and Vancouver Native Housing. He was also a prominent figure in the 1995 Gustafsen Lake Standoff. Bill continues his service to this neighbourhood, sharing his vast knowledge with younger generations, combatting social isolation (if you sit next to him on the bus, be prepared to have a conversation) and volunteering as a director for ALIVE and the North West Indigenous Council. Haida Gwaii is home to Bill. (Nominated by “Our Place”)
Lori Snyder works as our resident Indigenous herbalist and on the carving Pavilion Garden. Lori is also working closely with the Britannia garden program and Outreach Alternative in the carving pavilion garden and in class. Lori leads Britannia towards innovative food practices with her strong vision of a re-indigenized food system. Her projects include the planting of indigenous berry bushes all around the site and the community where people can freely harvest healthy Indigenous food.(Nominated by Grandview-Woodland Food Connection)
Anne Prince – also known as ‘Annie’ is Residential School Survivor from the Takla Lake First Nation. She is Beaver clan and her traditional name is Kqueast. She is a mother, grandmother, and great, great, great aunt. She has been a resident of metro Vancouver since 1965 and dedicated her life and career to helping people.Today Anne continues to work as an Urban Aboriginal Learning Outreach Facilitator where she assists people, of Aboriginal ancestry, prepare for higher learning and employment and is a valued member and leader in the Britannia 55+ Centre. (Nominated by Britannia Seniors)
Todd DeVries also known by his Haida name “Giihlgiigaa” shares his skills, knowledge, and stories with others in Britannia’s weaving circles. He welcomes everyone, young and old into his classes and reminds us he does not “own” the skills. His patience, humour, and cultural sharing makes everyone feel welcome and included. (nominated by Britannia seniors)
Yukiko Tosa is the long-time director of the Britannia VPL branch. She is a graduate of Britannia Secondary School, where she began her advocacy as a student, working together with fellow students and her teacher Mr. Minichiello to begin the development of the vibrant community space that Britannia has become. She remains a passionate promoter of the young people in this changing community, working to create opportunities for everyone in the community to feel included and to succeed. (Nominated by Britannia Board)
Rebecca Jules is a community advocate. In her work at Britannia, she has connected with and advocated for many of the hardest to reach youth. She has provided opportunities, teachings, and safe spaces, encouraged positive lifestyle choices, and connected youth to services, programs and adult mentors. She also worked with the community to educate in cultural practices and understanding. (Nominated by Britannia Youth)