“All that was taken away from us was given back today.” – Joan Morris (Songhees Elder)
On September 16th, four temporary longhouses were raised on Lekwungen territory by Nuu-chah-nulth artist Hjalmer Wenstob, with permission from Songhees and Esquimalt nations. We are grateful for the generous guidance and hospitality of the Lekwungen people, on whose lands we live, work and serve. The house fronts are the work of Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, South Pacific and Nuu-chah-nulth youth artists. Read our blog with reflections from the event.
To all that have made this vision a reality: hay’sxʷqa.
We raise our hands to the talented Longhouse artists including Hjalmer Wenstob, James Goldsmith-Brown, Juliana Speier, Sarah Jim, A.J. ‘Thunderstick’ Boersen and Jazzlyn Markowsky. We are also grateful for their family and friends, specifically Annika Benoit-Jannson, Jesse Masso, Trent Masso, Timmy Masso and Huumiis Wenstob, for hundreds of hours of hard labour volunteered to the Longhouse Project.
We raise our hands to Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation for their hospitality, guidance and support throughout the process, for their beautiful lands and waters that sustain us, and for their Chiefs and elders who opened our day in a good way.
The Gathering would not have been possible without the generous time and knowledge shared by elders, knowledge keepers and youth from Songhees Nation, Esquimalt Nation and the South Pacific Island Community, as well as representatives from Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw territory. Thank you for walking with us in this journey as a family and ensuring that we did our work in a good way.
We acknowledge the significant contributions of MediaNet, who produced a documentary about the Longhouse Project, Moosehide Campaign, who graciously welcomed us into a closing feast at the end of the day and Greater Victoria Green Team, who recruited a great many volunteers for the event.
This day was made possible by the intense time commitment of our core volunteer team over several months, which includes Andy Nystrom, Kat Zimmer, Rachel Levee, Rachel Wang and Kathryn Juricic. Moreover, we are so grateful for the hundreds of hours offered by our many volunteers on the day of the event.
Our presenters, as well as their families and communities, went above and beyond to create a good space for the public to learn and grow. Thank you to Lekwungen Dancers, Esquimalt Singers and Dancers, the Pearls of the South Pacific, the Ahousaht Dance Group, Tusitala Polynesian Dance Group, Kwakiutl Dancers, Lindsay Delaronde, Nahaan, Moy Sutherland Sr. and Jan Sutherland.
We are grateful for the hospitality of the BC Legislature and staff, including their unprecedented agreement allowing us to raise the longhouses for a full week. We are also deeply grateful to BayView Place, who provided us with an outstanding venue to build the longhouses from July to September.
The event was made possible by the generous contributions of the Province of British Columbia, the BC Museums Association, the BC Arts Council, the Leon and Thea Koerner Award, the City of Victoria, the Capital Regional District, Center for Asia Pacific Initiatives and the University of Victoria Indigenous Governance Program.
We are so grateful to our phenomenal sponsors including Don Craig, SeeFood Catering, Rika Design, 100.3 the Q, The Zone 91.3, CFUV Radio, Metropol, Arts Victoria, Themis Security, Victoria Event Services, Pedersen Party Rentals, Van Isle Fencing, Mount Doug High School, Songhees Wellness Centre, Victoria Mobile Radio, ReStore – Habitat for Humanity, AGGV, Patagonia, Royal BC Museum, Opus Art Supplies, Market on Yates, Oceanriver Sports, SYSCO, Level Ground, Roundhouse Cafe, Sea Cider, Backfit Clinic, Il Terrazzo, The Keg, NBA and Madrona Farms.
Our apologies if we have forgotten any names in our expression of gratitude. We are thrilled to have seen so many community members contribute to this outstanding event.