Multicultural Day Totem Hall

The event, a collaboration between Squamish Valley Elders and Squamish Multifaith Association attracted 250 plus attendees with many new faces and participants sharing their cultural and spiritual practices through, song, dance and story. The celebration was opened by Sisolia (Donna Billy) and members of the Harry family, with cultural teacher Tsawaysia (Alice Guss) leading the attendees in an honor dance to the animal kingdom. Emphasizing the importance of our shared humanity and the need to overcome divisions, participants were encouraged to make new friends during the afternoon. Opening prayer was offered by Rev. Karen Millard, minister for Squamish United Church. February 01 marked the first day of United Nations World Interfaith Harmony week. This harmony was well demonstrated at the community feast where attendees were treated to a diverse menu prepared by Squamish Nation, Sikh Community, Baha’i Community and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  Quest University students made a great contribution with a number of the students helping with the setup and cooking as well as children’s activities. They also contributed to the cultural performances with two dances from India and a mandolin performance.  Other performances included a traditional dance from the Philippines, a Tai Chi demonstration, hymn jam performed by members of St. John’s Anglican Church, a singing medley performed by Hotspot ESL group and the crowd pleasing performance of a song for peace sung by St. Joseph’s children’s choir. Squamish International Dance Group, lead by Judith Vetch and Patrick Mac Namara, enticed audience participation in dances from New Zealand, Bolivia and South Africa. The afternoon was brought to a close with the story of the Walking Stick (that held a position of prominence on the stage) told by cultural educator Michael Fraser. Symbolizing peace and dignity, the walking stick journeys between communities carried by runners and spends time in each community honouring the traditions of the ancestors and dedicated towards building unity and a better tomorrow. It was a fitting closure for an event that strives to bring diverse people together through shared learning and celebration.