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Musqueam talent leads Come Toward the Fire on September 16

16 acts, nine artisans, eight food vendors, six screenings, two children’s storytellers, and an artist roundtable comprise this year’s festival

The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia and Musqueam announced today the full slate of programming for the second annual Indigenous festival, ʔəm̓i ce:p xʷiwəl (Come Toward the Fire). Held on September 16, 2023, the festival features free daytime programming from 1PM – 5:30PM and a ticketed evening concert from 6PM. Food and artisan vendors will be available during the daytime. Parking at the nearby Rose Garden Parkade is free from 12PM. 

Daytime Programming

Salal Stage (Outside the doors of the Chan Centre) 

The Salal Stage will feature musical performances and more, hosted by Manuel Strain. A Two-Spirit artist of the xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam), Simpcw and Syilx peoples, Strain’s artwork confronts and undermines the imposed realities of colonialism while engaging in topics such as ancestral relations, labour, resource extraction, and gender. Winner of the 2022 Portfolio Prize, Strain works in various mediums including sculpture, installations, performance, and painting. 

In addition to the previously announced artists of DJ Paisley Eva, KeAloha, Francis Baptiste, and Hayley Wallis and the Bright Futures, two emerging Musqueam performers will take to the Salal Stage. Rapper and producer Malcolm Jordan Scott, who goes by MJScottS, has been rapping since he was in high school and formally began making music his career in 2013. Rapper Ryan Gonzales, stage name IronRhino, will also perform a set. 

Cedar Grove (Outside in the forest of the Chan Centre) 

Haida’s Kung Jaadee will lead a children’s storytelling session. A professional storyteller, educator, and author, Jaadee has been performing traditional Haida legends for the past 28 years. 

Quelemia Sparrow, last year’s festival concert host, returns this year for a xʷməθkʷəyəm storytelling session. The Musqueam actor and playwright is a Leo Award-winner and has acted on TV shows such as Fringe and Da Vinci’s Inquest, and was playwright-in-residence for Full Circle: First Nation’s Performance. 

Building on last year’s collaboration, Musqueam master weaver Debra Sparrow (θəliχʷəlʷət) and Vancouver artist Ruby Singh team up again for “Inter/weavings Pt. 2”. The composition will feature an intercultural string ensemble using a visual score drawn from design elements in Sparrow’s blanket designs and weavings. 

RBC Cinema 

“Stories from Musqueam” film series will be screened at the RBC Cinema, opening with Musqueam Elder Larry Grant’s Welcome Message, followed by Gryphon Productions’ Musqueam Through Time (2010). The short film showcases Musqueam’s history, traditions, and community, highlighting it as a living culture. These enduring practices have allowed Musqueam to set legal precedents with wide-reaching consequences, demonstrating their resilience and impact on Canada as a whole. 

Three episodes of the comedy series Reservation Dogs will follow. The Peabody-winning, Emmy-nominated FX show follows a group of Indigenous teens living on an Oklahoma reserve, reeling from the death of their friend and dreaming of escape. The TV series’ composer is festival headliner Mato Wayuhi, recently named to Forbes 30 Under 30. 

A lively discussion will follow with an Artist Roundtable. Mato Wayuhi, Francis Baptiste, Miesha Louie of Miesha and the Spanks, and Daniel Monkman of Zoon will participate. 

c̓ əsnaʔəm, the city before the city (2017) will conclude “Stories from Musqueam” and the programming in the RBC Cinema. Directed and produced by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, the film commemorates Musqueam’s successful resistance to a condo development that was planned at an important ancestral site without prior consultation or consent. Musqueam held a vigil at the site for 200 days, halting construction. c̓ əsnaʔəm, the city before the city examines the relationship between Musqueam’s living culture and ongoing relationship to its ancestral and unceded territory. 

Evening Concert

The ticketed evening concert begins at 6PM and will be hosted by Musqueam’s Miss Christie Lee (Christie Lee Charles). The City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous poet laureate, Charles is a rapper, storyteller, Coastal hand drum singer, filmmaker, speaker for her ancestors, and a direct descendant of the great warrior Capilano. Charles will also perform a set during the daytime festivities.

Tsatsu Stalqayu / Coastal Wolf Pack, a three-generation family group of singers, drummers, and dancers from various Indigenous nations, including Musqueam’s Alec Dan, will open the evening. The concert will then proceed with indie pop punk duo Miesha and the Spanks, social media star and singer Tia Wood, and self-described ‘moccasin-gaze’ artist Zoon. An intermission will take place from approximately 7:30PM to 7:50PM. Indie rocker Black Belt Eagle Scout opens the second half, followed by Mato Wayuhi, and hoop dancer Notorious Cree. The night will end with powwow drum group Young Spirit Singers.

The evening concert is general admission, ins and outs permitted. The performance will be recorded and broadcast on CBC Music, CBC Radio One, and CBC Gem on September 30 for the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation.

Salal Stage Schedule
Grove Stage and RBC Schedule
Chan Hall Evening
Tue Sep 12, 2023