In advance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and Musqueam will present their second annual Indigenous-led festival. Known as ʔəm̓i ce:p xʷiwəl (Come Toward the Fire), it will feature a series of free daytime events from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on September 16 inside and outside the Chan Centre. They will be followed by a ticketed evening concert.
“Our aim is to amplify Indigenous voices and to create a vibrant space to celebrate Indigenous creativity, brilliance, and culture,” the festival website states. “All members of the general public are welcome to join in the festivities.”
The City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous poet laureate, Miss Christie Lee (Christie Lee Charles), will host the evening concert. It begins with a performance by Tsatsu Stalqayu/Coastal Wolf Pack, a multigenerational Coast Salish family group of more than 25 singers, drummers, and dancers.
Next up will be Calgary-based indie-pop punk duo Miesha and the Spanks. Miesha, a mixed-Secwépemc artist, is known for her energetic and full-throated vocals. In addition, Plains Cree/Coast Salish singer Tia Wood, who has developed a massive TikTok following, will perform her brand of Indigenous music. Incidentally, her father, Earl Wood, is a cofounder of the Northern Cree Singers and Hockey Night in Cree studio host on APTN.
The first half of the evening show will conclude with Zoon, a music project created by Toronto-based Ojibway musician Daniel Monkman. CBC has described him as a pioneer of “moccasin gaze” music.
Grammy nominee performs
After the intermission, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community–based Black Belt Eagle Scout (Katherine Paul) will take the stage in the concert hall. She’ll be followed by Reservation Dogs TV show composer Mato Wayuhi, who was recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Next up will be internationally recognized hoop dancer Notorious Cree (James Jones).
The concert concludes with the powwow drum group Young Spirit Singers. This group earned a Grammy Award nomination in the best regional roots category in 2018 for their album Mewsinsational – Cree Round Dance Songs.
The Chan Centre describes the evening concert is “general admission, ins and outs permitted”. CBC Music, CBC Radio One, and CBC Gem will broadcast the show on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.
Tickets for the evening show are $60. However, the festival is offering a reduced rate of $30 for students and those who are 30 years of age and under. Parking is free in the Rose Garden Parkade after 12 p.m.
Meanwhile, high-profile artists will appear at free daytime events. For example, on the Salal Stage outside the Chan Centre, two-spirit artist Manuel Strain (xʷməθkʷəyəm [Musqueam], Simpcw, and Syilx) will be the host. Strain has worked in sculpture, installations, performance, and painting.
According to a festival news release, the 2022 Porfolio Prize winner “confronts and undermines the imposed realities of colonialism while engaging in topics such as ancestral relations, labour, resource extraction, and gender”.
DJ Paisley Eva, KeAloha, Francis Baptiste, and Hayley Wallis and Bright Futures will also be on the Salal Stage. Moreover, the lineup includes two emerging Musqueam performers: rapper and producer Malcolm Jordan Scott (MJScott5) and rapper Ryan Gonzales (IronRhino).
Festival includes Musqueam film screenings
In Cedar Grove—the forest outside the Chan Centre—Haida member Kung Jaadee will lead a chilidren’s storytelling event. In addition, Musqueam actor and playwright Quelemia Sparrow will head a xʷməθkʷəyəm storytelling session. Sparrow’s acting credits include Da Vinci’s Inquest, Fringe, and Until Branches Bend.
Meanwhile, Musqueam master weaver Debra Sparrow (θəliχʷəlʷət) and East Vancouver artist Ruby Singh will collaborate on “Inter/weavings Pr. 2”. This will build on similar work they did at last year’s event. It showcases an intercultural string ensemble performing to a visual score derived from Sparrow’s blanket designs and weavings.
The festival will also offer free daytime screenings in the 160-seat RBC Cinema at the Chan Centre. The “Stories from Musqueam” program opens with Musqueam Elder Larry Grant’s Welcome Message. That will be followed by the short 2010 film “Musqueam Through Time”, which covers the community’s history and traditions. That includes shining a light on Musqueam’s role as a leader in advancing Indigenous legal rights through the courts.
The film series also includes three episodes of the Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated comedy series Reservation Dogs. It’s about teenagers in Oklahoma dreaming of escaping the rez. Meanwhile, show composer Wayuhi, Baptiste, Miesha Louie, and Monkman will speak at an artist roundtable.
Director and producer Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ 2017 film c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city will wrap up the “Stories from Musqueam” program. It documented the Musqueam people’s lengthy vigil outside a construction project slated to be built on an ancestral site without their prior consultation or consent. The film also highlighted the Musqueam’s living culture and continued relationship with the unceded territory of their ancestors.
The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and Musqueam will present ʔəm̓i ce:p xʷiwəl (Come Toward the Fire) on September 16. For tickets, visit cometowardthefire.com, email email@example.com or phone. 604.822.2697. The concert will be broadcast on September 30 at 5 p.m. (6 AT, 6:30 NT) on CBC Music and CBC Listen and 9 p.m. (10 AT, 10:30 NT) on CBC Radio One.