Locals and visitors got a taste of Shishalh culture in one of their most sacred spaces Aug. 9 when the Sechelt Indian Band opened their longhouse to the public for a traditional performance.
Guests witnessed traditional drumming, singing and dancing, even taking a turn on the dirt floor to dance along.
Those in attendance also shared a salmon dinner and heard the Shishalh creation story.
“Long, long ago our creator, he created our world,” speaker Candace Campo began. “He travelled to specific areas, which to this day are the most sacred places for our people.”
After creating the world and all the creatures in it, Campo said, “he knew he still had work to do.”
“He went back up to heaven to get his children and he brought his children down. His children were spillamoth, they were divine creatures, and he brought them down from heaven to this earth,” she said.
The divine creatures were taken to different parts of the Shishalh territory and each was given a specific skill: fishing, weaponry, carving, the ability to cure fish or to harness fire.
Campo said those divine creatures then passed on their skill sets to each other and to all the Sechelt people.
“That’s how we became the Sechelt people we are today because we were told by our creator that we were to take these skills sets and we were to share them with each other, that we were never to hoard them, that it’s a gift from our creator,” Campo said. “So when we see a child born today we know that child is a product of God and that child is born with a skill set.
“It’s a gift from the creator and it is the responsibility of the community members to foster that child, to recognize that gift and develop it.”
That support doesn’t end when a child grows up, as was evident when organizers announced nearly $1,600 had been raised that night for a Band member battling cancer who must travel for treatment.
“We thank you all so much for helping us,” Lenora Joe told the crowd.
Another fundraiser to help three Band members currently fighting cancer is planned for Sunday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. That day the SIB will have a cuts for cancer event going on at the Sechelt Indian Band Community Hall behind the Sechelt McDonald’s.
Hairdressers will cut hair by donation and a salmon barbecue, bake sale, twoonie auction and 50/50 draw will help bring in more funds.
For more information about this event or to donate, call Raquel Joe at 604-885-1599 or email email@example.com.