Nechako Creative Communities Collective
The Nechako Creative Communities Collective provided a report on 2017 activities and 2018 plans during the Nechako Healthy Community Alliance AGM on January 21, 2018.
Multi-cultural Learning Exchanges
Partnering with the Good Neighbours Committee, the Nechako Creative Commons Collective kicked 2017 off with a series of multi-cultural learning exchanges, sharing culture through cooking, singing, drumming, and history.
Cristy Brennan led a class of about 14 people cooking traditional food from the Philippines; and shared about the history of immigration and Spanish, Chinese, and American influences on the culture and food of the Philippines.
Colin Walker hosted Food and Culture of Ireland, teaching a group of 20 how to make traditional Irish Stew and Bread Pudding. He ended the night with a history lesson of Ireland and some traditional songs.
Next up was Food and Culture of the Dakelh’ people of Saik’uz territory with Vera Antoine, supported by Glenda Antoine and Linda Holmes and held at Saik’uz Health Station. A group of about 12 people participated in learning about traditional salmon fishing, how to prepare salmon, bannock (influence from Scotland), nwhus (“indian ice cream” made with soapberries), and Labrador tea (locally gathered) and the medicinial benefits and cautions of each food. Melanie Labatch and Vera Antoine ended the gathering with some traditional drumming and singing of local Saik’uz songs.
Diversity Dinner and Quiz Show
The multicultural cooking and learning events lead up to the Diversity Dinner and Quiz Show, where over 80 attendees gathered to enjoy a multi-cultural dinner prepared by Saik’uz First Nation Catering Chelise Vandalaar. An original theatre piece created by Lisa Striegler, Sasha Striegler Iannone, Scott Klassen, Sagar Saxena, Les Baker, and Sylvia Byron provided the entertainment.
Mirrors Book Launch
Another Nechako Creative Communities Collective and Good Neighbours Committee partnership was the Mirrors Project. The goal of the Mirrors Project was to hold up a mirror to the settler community and show how we often unwittingly, but sometimes overtly, behave in ways that are rooted in racist, colonialist attitudes and how these behaviors contribute to economic, educational, and health inequities for First Nations and Newcomers.
We know most people don’t want to be racist, so the play and individual scenes were followed by dialogue so that players and audience members could discuss the issues raised.
Mirrors Project lead, Lisa Striegler wrote:
“Theatre offers a degree of safety with which to explore tensions between settler populations, local First Nations, and Newcomers. MIRRORS reflects these tensions at a particular point in time.”
“Jimmy is an outspoken, well-informed youth who is angry at the ‘system’. He is proud of who he is, but he has issues: his mom is sick, his teacher is asleep at the wheel, and every store owner in town seems out to get him. Madge is struggling with balancing the needs of her family and the racism she experiences at work. Phillip is a young misunderstood forester with Mennonite heritage, he has a good living and works hard. Margaret is a teacher in the high school, she is an Al-Anon participant who “means well”. Madge is a Newcomer from Asia/South Pacific who had to leave her daughter and warm-climate home country for Canada to earn a living to send back home. Madge has a degree in health, but cannot work in her field.”
Copies of the book are available at the Nechako Valley Secondary School (NVSS) student library, the Vanderhoof Public Library, and the College of New Caledonia Nechako and Prince George Campus.
Mural and Bus Shelter Project
Themed ‘ilhoh uztoodelh – Walking Together, Vanderhoof’s newest mural (November 2017) was a collaborative project between Saik’uz First Nation elders and the Vanderhoof, BC Good Neighbours Committee.
Mural design was a collaborative process between Saik’uz Elders and the Good Neighbours Committee. Artists Annerose Georgeson and Michael Rees were commissioned to paint the final vision for the mural and an unveiling ceremony was held on November 21, 2017.
The shelter installation was a joint effort between the Good Neighbours Committee, Saik’uz First Nation, the District of Vanderhoof and was funded entirely by the Ministry of Transportation.
Shelters were installed at the corner of Nechako Avenue and at Saik’uz Veterans Park, common areas where community members wait for rides between Vanderhoof and Saik’uz.
Join Theatre for Living šxʷʔam̓ət (home) Forum Theatre hosts, Saik’uz First Nation, the Good Neighbours Committee and the Nechako Creative Communities Collective on February 3, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the Saik’uz Multiplex (tickets at Wallace Studios) to begin the journey together.