Burnaby Mountain Festival

Team members: Olivia Lohan (SFU Community Capacity Building Program), Regina Martinez (SFU Sociology and Indigenous Studies), Kayah George (SFU Indigeous Language program)

Burnaby Mountain Festival coordinators, Tsleil-Waututh Nation leaders, students volunteers and community partners will come together virtually (and hopefully, ultimately physically) to listen to each other, co-create, develop and plan a one-day festival of Indigenous land acknowledgement on Burnaby Mountain. The festival will include culturally specific music and dance performances, storytelling, and workshops.

The rationale for this project is to take the words of Indigenous land acknowledgement and put them into meaningful action. It is an opportunity to put our words into practice by actively honouring and celebrating the stewards of the land upon which Burnaby campus resides. Also, it is our opportunity to ensure that Indigenous People’s territorial protocols are respected, and that local communities are engaged in planning and participating in events that support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action.

Although the festival itself is part of the project, the process of co-creating the festival is a key component. The project is the process. We are seeking to build relationships between the Tsleil-Waututh community, Burnaby residents, students, and Simon Fraser University, and to facilitate the collaboration that leads to a land acknowledgement festival (online or outside with vaccination, mask and distancing adherence.) The process of coming together to co-create the festival is our strategy towards community building and strengthening Indigenous and Settler relationships.

Additionally, the project is our opportunity to decolonize the way in which we organize events. Rather than unilaterally and preemptively deciding how we will shape the festival and what the festival will look like, we intend to consult with Tsleil-Waututh Elders for guidance and we will facilitate a series of planning meetings designed to develop partnership in the Burnaby area.

Community Partners:

Members of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Burnaby Festival of Learning