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syíyaya Days, 11 days of celebrating Indigenous culture, starts next week

shíshálh Nation, the syíyaya Reconciliation Movement and the District of Sechelt partnered to host syíyaya Days, June 21 through Canada Day on July 1. Here's the schedule of events.


An event series celebrating Indigenous culture, histories, and ways of knowing starts next week in Sechelt. Starting on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), the shíshálh Nation, the syíyaya Reconciliation Movement, and the District of Sechelt have planned 11 days of activities through to and including Canada Day on July 1. 

“We named it syíyaya days, which means family days, because it’s time to start walking together and planning events that we can all enjoy. It’s in the true spirit of reconciliation,” ʔakista xaxanak Garry Feschuk, hereditary chief and former elected chief of the shíshálh Nation, and co-chair of the syíyaya Reconciliation Movement, said in a May 30 press release. “We’re seeing more and more of the greater community of the Sunshine Coast coming out in support of syíyaya and the Nation; we’re making our circle bigger to uplift our Survivors and intergenerational Survivors. These Survivors have defied all odds to get to where they are today, and it’s time we hold them up, walk together and support one another on our healing journeys.” In 2021, the District of Sechelt council and Canada Day committee, in consultation with shíshálh Nation, cancelled planned Canada Day celebrations the day after Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan announced ground-penetrating radar had detected what were believed to be 751 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school. On July 1, more than 1,000 people gathered on shíshálh Nation lands for a reconciliation walk, most of them wearing orange in support of residential school survivors and the children whose unmarked graves had been located.This July 1, the theme of the day is “In This We Journey Together.” The public is again invited to participate in an orange shirt walk, this time on Cowrie Street, “to celebrate resilience and acknowledge that every child matters.” The shíshálh Nation float will lead a parade after the walk. An official protocol ceremony will officially open the outdoor stage in Hackett Park, and the tl’ikw’am dance group will lead a feature performance. Family-friendly activities will follow.

The events:

A schedule of events for syíyaya Days will include film screening, cultural walking tours, performances, art workshops, drumming and dialogue circles, museum tours, storytelling and a parade.

June 21:

  • Presentation of White Raven by author Teoni Spathelfer at 9:30 a.m., Seaside Centre, Grades 2 to 7
  • Talking Trees and Spoken Treasures Cultural Walking Tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. By donation. Register: [email protected]
  • Métis Cultural Event, potluck and speakers at noon, jigging, fiddle and beading 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Seaside Centre, Free. 
  • Screening of Ladies of the Inlet with director Annie Frazier Henry, 2 p.m., Raven’s Cry Theatre, Free

June 22:

  • tems swiya Museum Guided Tour, 11 a.m., Register: [email protected] / 604-885-6012, freePresentation of White Raven by author Teoni Spathelfer at 1:15 p.m., Seaside Centre, free
    KAIROS Blanket Exercise, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., St. Mary’s Church, Register: 604-886-4738, free 

June 23 to 24

  • tems swiya Museum Guided Tour, 11 a.m., Register: [email protected] / 604-885-6012, free

June 25

  • Talking Trees – Rainbow Tour, 10 a.m., klaath Village (Porpoise Bay Provincial Park), Register: [email protected]
  • Weaving Cedar Hearts in Memory presented by Ali + Bella Casey, noon to 2 p.m., Weaving A Gathering Place Studio, free 

June 26

  • KAIROS Blanket Exercise, 1 to 3:30 p.m., shíshálh Nation, Register: [email protected], free
    Indigenous Drumming Circle led by Terry Coyote Aleck, 4 p.m., Grieving Mother Statue, free

June 27

  • Reconciliation Dialogue Circle, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Seaside Centre, Register: 778-458-3111, free
  • she shashishalhem Language Workshop Led by Rita Poulsen 3 to 4 p.m., Hackett Park Stage, free

June 28-30

  • tems swiya Museum Guided Tour, 11 a.m., Register: [email protected], 604-885-6012, free

July 1

  • Lion’s Club Pancake breakfast, Downtown (Cowrie Street), 8 a.m.
  • Bike Decorating for Kids Trail Bay Mall (by the Liquor Store) 8 to 10 a.m.
  • Suncoast Concert Band Downtown (Cowrie St) 9 a.m.
  • Orange Shirt Walk & Parade Downtown (Cowrie St) Register: 10:30 a.m.
  • Hackett Stage Grand Opening Protocol ceremony, music & Hackett Park, noon to 3 p.m., free
  • Weaving Cedar Hearts in Memory Presented by Ali + Bella Casey Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, noon to 3 p.m., free 

For more information and to sign up for activities or volunteering visit

“This is a different time; a new time where we honour the traditional lands we are on, remember our past and aim towards a bright future for all,” District of Sechelt mayor Darnelda Siegers said in the release. “This is an acknowledgement that our path forward is together.” with files from Sophie Woodrooffe/Coast Reporter