Britannia Salish Community Honouring Ceremony

“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.

Honourees:
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)Continue reading

Community Honouring Event April 4th, 2016

gradstrategyOn April 4th the community gathered to celebrate a diverse group of community builders in Vancouver’s inner city helping to create a new culture in our neighbourhood where all our children graduate from high school. Together we demonstrated that reconciliation must go beyond words and recognize the everyday commitment of local community members- parents, grandparents, teachers, students, youth leaders and resource workers- who have been instrumental in supporting the learning journey of the community and in realizing success as defined by the community.

The event was an opportunity to introduce the work of Vancouver’s Inner City community members involved in the Graduation Strategy and to inspire further collaboration toward building positive futures for our children and families.

The Salish style honouring ceremony was designed to be inclusive and reflected the spirit of the Strategy, a prenatal to postsecondary continuum, which aims to build on local strengths, capacities and naturally occurring networks of support to create meaningful and sustainable change and truly make a difference in the educational outcomes of students in the Inner City.

Click here to watch Access TV’s segment on the Community Honouring Ceremony.

We were fortunate to have local Salish leaders Shane Pointe and Nelson Leon to guide us in our community honouring ceremony which took place in the RayCam gymnasium.

 

About Salish Ceremonies

Any gathering within the Salish perspective is acknowledged as a ceremony.  Ceremonies follow a set of practices and protocols and generally held in big houses also called longhouses. Though ceremonies went underground, they continued up to the present time. They are times for ‘work,’ such as traditional naming ceremonies, memorials, burnings, or as times of ‘intervention’ type healing for families.  Traditional languages are spoken at these events, often translated. For this inclusive public event, certain Salish protocols were followed including opening prayer, gifting, blanketing, utilizing a ‘speaker,’ and inviting ‘witnesses,’. Nelson Leon was brought on to direct the afternoon, acting as emcee and speaker and was the liaison between the ‘family’ organizing the event, guests and honourees.  Under the direction of the family, Nelson called witnesses just as the ceremony was about to get underway.

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Witness Ceremony

In a Salish  ceremony, the witness ceremony is intended to ensure that pertinent community members “witness” certain events, such as a Naming or Honouring Ceremony.  Individuals are called by their name, to ‘officially’ witness the event. They then stand up,  and the family or in this case, committee will walk over to you.  They each hand witnesses two quarters.  This is known as a ‘handshake’; a gift and  acknowledgement for the work of witnessing. Those who accept to witness are responsible for ensuring that the community knows that this event occured,  and to vouch for the integrity of the ceremony, sharing to their family or community what occured at the event.

The gifting of two quarters is not looked upon as a payment, but accepting the responsibility and acknowledgment of the important role at the event.

In the bighouse fashion, witnesses or elders who carry the knowledge, will often address the family, acknowledging the importance of what they have done.  For memorials and namings the elder or  witnesses who hold knowledge,  will show their great care for the family and for tradition and will “share word,” (give advice)  to the family organizing, those who have lost a loved one,  or those receiving names.  In the context of this event, witnesses were asked to share a few words near the end of the event.

The Honouring Ceremony

Students:

Alicia Lopez- Alicia Lopez a is 14 years old and in grade 9 .  She attends Britannia Secondary school and enjoys playing ball, singing and music.

Kimberly Cureg- is one of the many members of Pathways.  She is 14 years old, in grade 9 and currently attending Britannia. Her interests are adventuring and all types of arts. Pathways is an upbeat and supportive environment where kids like her can ACTUALLY have fun learning with her fellow peers as well as open new possibilities.

 JJ Morcilla-  Jeremiah Morcilla, is 15 years old in grade 9 at King George Secondary.  His interests are computers and playing basketball, volleyball, football and video games.
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Indigenous Fashion Show and ReMatriate Dialogue at the VPL

In partnership with the Vancouver Public Library, ReMatriate, the Pacific Association of First Nations Women, All My Relations Entertainment and Changemakers Vancouver RISE leader Joleen Mitton organized a spectacular event at the Main Branch of the Vancouver Public Library as part of the VPL’s Multicultural Day Celebration. 

The Shapeshifter Fashion Show became the highlight of the festivities, and unlike anything the library has ever seen before. The show featured a line up of all Indigenous designers and models and ROCKED the VPL promenade.
The event created a space to fuse art, fashion, culture, music and entertainment together to highlight cultural diversity and promote a new path toward equality.

Hands up to the designers: Sho Sho Esquiro/ Nadine Spence/ OKA

 

  • RISE leader and Show Organizer, Joleen Mitton, wearing OKA

 Following the show, Rematriate: What To Wear In A Era of Matriation?” invited the whole community to take part in a cultural experience, exploring the depth of creativity amongst notable Indigenous designers, writers, researchers, traditional and contemporary artists, and advocates. Rematriate was a conversation with: Kelly Edzerza Bapty, Beau Dick, Kwiaahwah Jones, and Lisa Charelyboy to raise awareness about the appropriation of Indigenous Cultural Identities.

Nice work, Joleen, and the rest of the RISE Team who supported this event!

And thank you to the VPL for the use of this beautiful space!

Our Place Graduation Strategy Launch

On March 4, 2015  a public celebration took place at Ray-Cam Community Centre, marking the formal kick-off of the Graduation Strategy. The event enabled key partners to meet the community and the general public, answer questions, and build overall community momentum to create a neighbourhood where children can thrive. Following the Public Forum, the Community was invited to attend a special performance of “Mistatim”, a Red Sky Production, at the Russian Hall.

Our Place is a collaboration of community organizations, residents,  First Nations, and local businesses, including ALIVE.   Based at Ray-Cam Community Centre,  our comprehensive approach starts with pre-natal care and healthy babies, through to early learning opportunities at local child care centres, and on to youth and family supports through the middle years to secondary school graduation. The Graduation Strategy establishes a holistic approach, working with parents to establish a culture of success in the inner-city.  “Peer support for families is an important element of our comprehensive approach” says Marilyn McKee, president of the Ray-Cam Community Cooperative Association.


**Thank you to Dima Alansari for the Photos

Afterwards community members headed to the Russian Hall for dinner and a performance of, Mistatim, a production of Red Sky indigenous theatre, music and dance Company from Toronto 

Check out CBC’s  Coverage of the Graduation Strategy Launch:
CBC’s March 4th Edition of On the Coast featuring an Interview with Scott Clark on the Graduation Strategy 
Article: Vancouver Downtown Eastside high school graduation rates under scrutinyCommunity and government organizations joining together to raise graduation rates

Vancouver Foundation Partners for Gen 7 Project, and introducing Vancouver’s 2014 Gen 7 Messengers!

The Vancouver Foundation has recently joined ALIVE and our partners (including Motivate Canada, Parks Board, the City of Vancouver, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and 8 Vancouver Community Centres) in supporting the Gen 7 Aboriginal Youth Role Model Program. We are pleased to have the support of the Vancouver Foundation on this exciting project, and are looking forward to see how Gen 7 grows and develops in the new year!

At this time, we would also like to introduce the 2014 Gen 7 Youth Messengers and some of the fantastic team members supporting them in this project:

From the back left row: Jacky Hendry, Mark Clayton, Jordan Guy, Phabion Sutherland, Brittany Ross, Rebekah Wilson National Office, Raven Hall, Front Row: Joyce Wesley, Elder Lorelei Hawkins, Sherrie Gladstone and Jenelle McMillan Program Coordinator.

 

GEN 7 Fundraiser @ Pidgin Restaurant

On November 5th, 2013, ALIVE, with the much-appreciated support of Pidgin restaurant, hosted a fundraiser to support the growth of our innovative Gen7 youth role model program.  Currently in its second round, we have expanded the program to include three more community centres and three additional youth for a total of 8 Gen 7 Messengers in 8 CCs. The turnout was excellent!

In attendance were local residents, city councillors, representatives from Motivate Canada/ Gen7, CUPE, the First Nations Employment Society (FNES), the Inner City Safety Society, and many more! We would like to thank everyone for their help in growing  GEN7.

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Aboriginal Artists in the Atrium

Hendrik Beune of AHA MEDIA speaks with Scott Clark of ALIVE and Our Place as well as  West Coast First Nations Artists David Morrison and Matthew James. David and Matthew are set to attend artist workshops with Lou-Ann Neel of CACV and be a part of the upcoming Aboriginal Artists in the Atrium presented by the Vancouver Moving Theatre.

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AHA media link here

Georgia Straight coverage of the project here

Come out and Support Our Youth!!

 

“NASKARZ is an award winning program designed to promote social inclusion of young people from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside into automotive, social and educational opportunities”

NASKARZ is a partnership between Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre, Vancouver Community College and Vancouver Police Department

Grandview-Woodland Urban Aboriginal Dialogue

 Grandview-Woodland Urban Aboriginal Dialogue

As many of you know, this community has a large Aboriginal population and many of our youth continue to be at risk in this area. Come out share your ideas and lets see if we can get some real action to support our children and families in this community.

THURSDAY JULY 4, 2013

7-9PM

VANCOUVER ABORIGINAL FRIENDSHIP CENTRE

CHIEF SIMON BAKER ROOM

FREE, LIGHT REFRESHMENTS

REGISTRATION REQUIRED

beverly.chew@vancouver.ca or 604-871-6424