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Vancouver unveils Canada 150+ events

Three signature events showcase 'vibrant living culture' of Vancouver’s three First Nations — the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh
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Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow was in a celebratory mood when the city unveiled its signature events for Canada 150+. The day of the announcement was also Sparrow’s birthday. Photo Dan Toulgoet

This year commemorates the 150th year of Confederation, but the country’s history goes well beyond that for Canada’s First Nations.

The City of Vancouver recently unveiled three signature events for its Canada 150+ celebrations, showcasing the “vibrant living culture” of Vancouver’s three First Nations — the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh — as well as traditional and contemporary arts from the urban aboriginal and Métis people of Vancouver and beyond.

Events include:

Pulling Together Canoe Journey (July 14)

The first signature event of 2017 will be the chance to witness a landing of the Pulling Together Canoe Journey at the Gathering of Canoes. Up to 30 canoes, with First Nations, public service agencies and youth paddlers, will request permission to land on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

The Drum Is Calling Festival (July 22-30)

The nine-day event celebrating Indigenous arts and culture takes place in and around Larwill Park. Highlights include performances from singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, PowWowStep creator DJ Shub, singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, country sensation Crystal Shawanda, Juno Award winner William Prince, rising R&B star George Leach, genre-defying artist Kinnie Starr, author Tomson Highway and spoken word poet and performer Shane Koyczan.

Walk for Reconciliation (September 24)

Tens of thousands are expected to participate in the second-ever Walk for Reconciliation. In partnership with Reconciliation Canada and the legacy of the inspirational Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, the walk will remind Vancouverites of the healing and transformational power of “Namwayut,” which means “we are all one.”

According to Marnie Rice, a cultural planner with the city, Vancouverites can expect “awesome” arts and culture during Canada 150+ celebrations. “It’s an opportunity to sit down and engage with rich cultures and it’s also a great learning opportunity,” Rice added. “It’s a moment to focus and take the first step to a long journey for reconciliation.”

For more information, go to vancouver.ca.

ajoaquin@vancourier.com