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Celebrate Indigenous knowledge and art at Nchem?u?s Day

Squamish Nation hereditary chiefs, elders and knowledge keepers will gather for an evening of cultural programming
Nchem?u?s Day 2021
Chief Ian Campbell, Knowledge Keeper Rebecca Duncan, and Janis Campbell of Squamish Nation open Nchem?u?s Day in 2021.

Leaders, artists and knowledge keepers from nearby First Nations are coming to Presentation House Theatre to mark “people coming together” once again.

Thursday (Aug. 25) evening, the North Vancouver theatre company will open its doors and outdoor grounds to the public for an open-house style event.

Nchem?u?s Day (pronunciation by Knowledge Keeper Rebecca Duncan) is a free, annual event for the community that features artwork unveilings, a carving demonstration, traditional and untraditional storytelling, stand-up comedy and the chance to experience some friendly rivalry in the ancient Indigenous game of Slahal.

Participating Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) leaders and artists include Chief Ian Campbell, Chief Janice George and Willard “Buddy” Joseph, Elder Lisa Lewis, Elder Sam Seward, Keith Nahanee, Duncan with Spakwus Slolem, Xwalacktun, and Swalklanexw Dallas Guss.

Presentation House said the event offers a glimpse into the ongoing work taking place there to strengthen relationships with neighbouring Indigenous communities, and to learn, unlearn and decolonize company practices and procedures.

“Nchem?u?s Day is just a small step in a long journey our theatre company is taking, to better understand our relationship to our colonial past and the damage it has done to all of us,” artistic director Kim Selody said in a statement. 

“It‘s also the beginning of a healthy way forward, as we learn more about each other, our shared history on this land, and the truth of what happened here.”

While the company has worked with each of these artists individually over the years, Nchem?u?s Day marks the first time all of them will come together at the theatre.

The event’s programming runs from 4 to 8 p.m., and allows people to move between various sessions and activities at their own pace. There is a schedule on the theatre’s website, with a note that times aren’t set in stone, to allow for spontaneity.

Admission to Nchem?u?s Day is free, but registration is encouraged online or by calling 604-990-3474. Walk-ups are also welcome.

Nchem?u?s Day

Where: Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Ave., North Vancouver.

When: Thursday, Aug. 25. 4-8 p.m.

Admission: Free. Registration encouraged.

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