Wednesday, July 24, 2024
July 24, 2024

Indigenous Peoples Weekend activities announced

Indigenous peoples and settlers of the Gulf Islands region are invited to come together next week to enjoy food, music and other arts and cultural activities for the first Indigenous Peoples Weekend.

The concept sprung from a conversation at the Salt Spring Coffee Cafe between islanders Jon Cooksey, Pam Tarr, Adina Guest and Gizem Sozen Cu Unjieng about celebrating both National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 and National Indigenous History Month in June. Since then, enthusiasm, support and participation have flowed from individuals, organizations and businesses.

Events actually begin Tuesday, June 18 at 7 p.m. with a webinar featuring Quw’utsun speakers Deb George (Sulsameethl) and Maiya Modeste (Sulatiye’). Presented by Transition Salt Spring, it’s called Climate, Culture, Land: Cultivating Community Resilience Through Indigenous Solutions and is a fundraiser for Stqeeye’ Learning Society. The sign-up link is on the website.

On Thursday, June 20, a Clam Garden Tour and Community Training session takes place at W̱ENÁ¸NEĆ (Fulford Bay) at a time to be determined.

Most of the weekend’s events are free. The following is a list of what had been confirmed as of June 10. Visit the site for more details and updates.


• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Salt Spring Public Library Indigenous coordinator Caroline Dick (Tahltan/Irish) will give mini-tours of ITOTELNEW̱ HÁUTW̱ / Tatul’ utew’t-hw, which is the Indigenous learning area at the library.

• All day – Clam garden monitoring with SD64 and Parks Canada at W̱ENÁ¸NEĆ (Fulford Bay).

• 11 a.m. – Indigenous Story Time at the library.

• 1 p.m. – Carver Howard Lafortune (Tsawout) artist demo at Mahon Hall, hosted by Salt Spring Arts.


• All day – This is the Driftwood’s annual Day in the Life of Salt Spring Island photo shoot day! Weekend participants are encouraged to take photos and submit them for the Day in the Life print and digital publication.

• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Indigenous Art Market in the library’s community program room. The market will feature artwork, jewellery and Wanda’s famous northern-style bannock. Vendors include Indigenous folks who are residents of Salt Spring Island, as well as from various First Nations on Turtle Island.

• 1 p.m. – Beader Katie Phillips (Quw’utsun) artist demo at Mahon Hall, put on by Salt Spring Arts.

• 3 to 7 p.m. – Community-wide Potluck Feast to celebrate the success of the Stqeeye’ Learning Society land acquisition project; hosted by Stqeeye’ with the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust in Xwaaqw’um along Burgoyne Bay Road. Transit from Farmers’ Institute parking lot starts at 2:30 p.m. Supported by a grant-in-aid from the CRD.

• 5 to 9 p.m. – Our Ancestors’ Prayers: a Cacao and Breathwork Journey, co-facilitated by Ariana Fortinakis (Aamjiwnaang First Nation) and Lena Del Mar (Colombian/Indigenous) at Peace Farm near Ganges. Registration and payment done through the festival website.


• 10 a.m. – Christine Hunt, Kwakiutl noblewoman and member of the Raven Clan, will be the Indigenous speaker at the Salt Spring Island United Church morning service.

• 1 p.m. – Drum Painting demo with Virgil Sampson (Tsartlip/Nez Perce) at Mahon Hall, put on by Salt Spring Arts.

• 3 to 5 p.m. – Discussion: From Turtle Island to Palestine: Settler Colonialism and Decolonization, put on by Stinging Nettle Books and Love’s Galettes at Bullock Lake Farm. This event will include readings from the works of the late Sto:lo writer and academic Lee Maracle, two brief presentations, followed by an open group discussion.

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Event honouring the ancestors at Grace Islet and Lunch Feast for all tribes/nations in Centennial Park.

• 5 to 9 p.m. – Evening livestream music event benefitting Stqeeye’ Learning Society at Mateada Yerba Lounge, featuring performances by Indigenous musical artists and allies, including Logan Staats, Tia Wood, Saltwater Hank and Salt Spring’s own Daryl Chonka. Doors open at 5 p.m., event starts at 6 p.m. MC will be Cree teacher Rosanna Jackson and the DJ for the Decolonial Dance Party will be Djama.

As well, the ArtSpring lobby areas feature work by three Indigenous artists this month: Sherry Leigh Williams and Patricia Rose Williams (Métis) and Quentin Harris (Secwepemc).

The interactive First Nations Placenames site was also launched earlier this month through the website, as detailed in a June 5 Driftwood story.

Organizers are extremely grateful to the numerous individuals, businesses and organizations that have stepped up to support the weekend in countless ways.

Donations to supplement grants received from the Salt Spring Island Foundation and the CRD for honoraria and travel will be gratefully accepted. Charitable tax receipts can be provided by the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust for this purpose.

For more information beyond what is available on the website, email

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