Well, we should have had Sun Dancers! But despite the pouring rain June 16, Mosaicâ€™s Aboriginal Day Celebration was a great afternoon. Thanks to the Mosaic leadership team's planning, a couple of dozen volunteers, and around 20 honoured guest speakers and performers, our 5th Annual celebration was a fun, colourful and deeply meaningful experience for about 200 people.
We started out the afternoon (under a covered stage and six borrowed canopies) with greetings and a welcome to this unceded territory by Musqueam Elder Delbert Guerin. Elder Guerin spoke of the Musqueam action in Marpole, of which he is a part, as well as the earlier disempowerment of his people by the division of reservation lands.
Isadore Charter then told a little about his residential school experience and explained how the totem pole he was carving that day came out of his vision for reconciliation and healing. We were honoured to have such men with us, who have seen and lived with injustice while continuing forward with a vision for reconciliation, doing it with such dignity and good humour.
Brander Raven and his band The Broken Pistons then rocked the stage for us. Many people asked me, "Who are these guys and where did they come from?", hardly believing that it was the first time they'd ever played together. Brander sang a set of powerful songs about love and justice. Jenny Kwan, our local MLA, was so impressed she posted a picture of them on her Facebook page!
Ruth Adams, an Elder from Tswwassen followed with another welcome and then Mary Fontaine and the Hummingbird singers sang for us. Mark Anthony Jacobson (Rainbow Thunderbird) then led us in a reflection time using a smudge and the blowing of a whistle to the four winds. Joseph then shared about his Ontario home and sang a worship song for us.
Leslie Nelson then led the Grand Entry while the Little Big Island singers sang and drummed powerfully. The rain stopped just in time for us to enjoy a number of beautiful dancers perform their dances. Mary and I then led in a short meditation inviting all to the feast of Jesus table (communion) and we ended the day with a grass dance by William Visser and a jingle (prayer) dance by Victoria Toth.
Wow, what a day. There is nothing as grounding as being welcomed to the land by an Elder whose relations have been here for thousands of years, and nothing as moving as the sound of a drum and the sight of pow wow dancers' grace and abandonment. Make sure you check out our photo album on Facebook by following the link in our website banner.
A big thanks to Mary Fontaine and Hummingbird Ministries for partnering with us for this special event. Thanks also to the Mosaic leadership team and the many other volunteers who braved the rain and made the day go so smoothy. Thanks to churches and people who gave money so that we could cover our expenses. And thanks and glory to God the Creator, who enabled us to come together as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to sing, dance, eat and become closer friends. May your kingdom come, your will be done.