The annual July 01 Multicultural Day at Totem Hall was marked this year by a ceremonial canoe pull up the Mamquam Blind Channel to the Stawamus Village site. The ocean going canoe was organized by Tsawaysia (Alice Guss). Paddlers included Squamish Nation members, district officials and volunteers. Mayor Patricia Heintzman and Councillor Susan Chapelle represented the district in what was a bracing effort against the wind and chop. A courtesy dinghy from Squamish Yacht Club escorted them during the passage.
The celebration was opened by elders Gwen Harry and Donna Billy with Mayor Heintzmein presenting a poem that spoke from the heart of broken relationships and the need for true reconciliation. Over 300 participants enjoyed the shared food and cultural presentations that followed. Feast was prepared by Squamish Nation, Sikh Community and Baha’i Community. Cultural presentations included Bhangra dancing, Filipino and World Folk Dancing as well as vendor tables and a children’s art project.
See below poem offered by Patricia Heinztman at opening ceremony.
Is more than an apology and deprecation
a prayer to remove a stain upon our nation,
a shame rooted in colonial aspiration.
This failure of Christianity,
our arrogance and vanity,
is Canada’s unfortunate profanity.
Our era without sanity.
With complete disregard and without
deference and dignity, and with near surgical
we systematically cut the First Nations,
destroyed languages and cultures to the quick’
So it’s time to be introspective.
Not just to remember our history selective.
150 years we’ve been in denial
of this bias we must reconcile.
The art of the possible is what I choose,
It’s harmony that we should collectively infuse
to rectify this system of abuse.
A country’s consciousness to transfuse.
With prisms new and a sense of hope,
positive reflections viewed through a common
evolving patterns, transparent, rotating perspectives
engender a uniquely Canadian antidote.
We’re birds of a feather,
in the same canoe pulling together.
After all, humanism is Canada’s shared endeavour,
everyone’s welfare our promotion, our devotion…
C’est notre raison d’etre, it’s in our DNA.
And it’s why we’re here to celebrate Canada Day
We all need to hear what our first peoples have to
say to usher in a bright new day.