Event Highlights Connections Between Chinese and Indigenous Communities (Web Exclusive)

  • Performers from the Chinese community. Meital Siva

  • Performers from the Chinese community. Suzanne Gross

  • Mini round dance. Suzanne Gross

  • Sharon Pasula leads the smudging ceremony, while a Chinese elder smudges. Suzanne Gross

On July 15, over 120 people from local Chinese and Indigenous communities came together to share histories, stories, and culture, explored through ceremony, historical presentations, cultural activities, and intercultural sharing circles.

Participants from the sharing circles reflected that this was a moving event, they learned a lot, and want to do more of these gatherings. Chinese elders participated in the smudging ceremony and mini round dance, eager to learn more about Indigenous rights and culture. There were people of mixed Chinese and Indigenous backgrounds, couples, and friends.

The sharing circles are intended to be free, open, respectful, and loving spaces for participants to get to know each other and share their stories – who they are, why they’re here, and their history and where shared stories may lie between cultures.

A historical art project led by local artists uncovered some histories of relationships between Indigenous and Chinese people and was instigated by looking into a renaming of 97 Street back to Namayo Avenue. However, they discovered it wasn’t an Indigenous naming of the street. In Cree, Nemêw is the word for sturgeon and Indigenous people brought this fish up 97 Street to be used at the Chinese restaurants.

A big thank you to our facilitators and supporters for our July 15 Intercultural Gathering:

  • Sharon Pasula for prayer, smudging, and protocol.
  • Confucius Institute in Edmonton for demonstrations of Chinese knots and the clay figure.
  • Michael Lee, Chairman of the Chinese Benevolent Association, for the greeting from the Chinese Community, and Mei Hung, Vice Chair of the Chinese Benevolent Association.
  • Del Anderson, Canadian Native Friendship Centre, for greetings from the Indigenous community.
  • Chief Calvin Bruneau of Papaschase First Nation, for greetings and the historical presentation.
  • Immigration Community Alberta Network Association for the Traditional Chinese Fashion Show and the performance of Chinese and Guzheng/Zither music.
  • Nathan Ip from the Chinese Benevolent Association for the Chinese historical presentation.
  • Mr. Yan Dong and group from Immigration Community Alberta Network Association for the Chinese Tea Ceremony.
  • Ji Hong Wushu & Tai Chi College, Jennifer Gu, Vice President, for the Martial Arts performance.
  • Lloyd Cardinal and Desmond Morningchild for the mini round dance.
  • Grace Chi, President of the Canada-China Friendship Society of Edmonton.
  • Lili Wang, President of the Edmonton Chinese Unity Association.
  • Dr. Yanyu Zhou, President of the Edmonton Chinese Writing Club, and with Action for Healthy Communities in partnering in the planning and bringing together the Chinese community.
  • Kim Tuyet Restaurant and Kukoom’s Bannock Fry-Bread for food.
  • Volunteers Rosalie Gelderman from McCauley Community League’s Abundant Communities, Roxanne Yip from the Multicultural Family Resource Society, Suzanne Gross from the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, Meital Siva from the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, Jeremiah Levine and Maxan Ferguson-Dyer from the Compass Centre for Sexual Wellness, Hanine, Fana, Arsema, and Vivian (MFRS students), Maha Hammoud, Ifrah Xaashi through MFRS for child-minding, and Kelso Sorensen for AV. Thanks also to the Participants also from ACCESS.

On August 17, we will be joining Newcomers are Lit, with the Edmonton chapter of the Canadian Council for Refugees Youth Network, in creating a full-day youth-based Intercultural Gathering called Together as One, at the Edmonton Intercultural Centre from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please check online for schedule and details.

The “Our McCauley initiative:“https://www.facebook.com/ourmccauley/ was created to foster intercultural relationships and enhance community engagement in the McCauley area to address racism and poverty. We are a collaboration of multiple Indigenous and Newcomer service agencies in the area and the McCauley Community League’s Abundant Communities initiative, along with a Community Connector Programmer contractor to help realize our goals.

We respectfully acknowledge that we are located on occupied lands, Treaty 6 territory, amiskwacîwâskahikan - a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.

More in this issue

Neighbourhood Views

  • Editor Receives Award from ESPC – Boyle McCauley News Editor Paula E. Kirman received the Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Award of Merit for Advocacy of Social Justice on May 24. She is pictured between ESPC Research Coordinator John Kolkman and his wife Kate Quinn, both McCauley residents and founders of the paper. Melissa Scott

  • MUSE Awards – The Edmonton Muse, an online magazine dealing with local art, culture, and music, celebrated its first anniversary on May 25. As part of the celebration at the Starlite Room, awards were handed out to several Edmontonians making a difference. One of the recipients was Sinder Sparks, founder of The Musical Mamas Society, a group of women musicians from in and around the area. Paula E. Kirman

  • Graffiti Artists at Work – Graffiti artists made original creations during Hip Hop in the Park on May 26 at Boyle Street Plaza. Paula E. Kirman

  • Harbin Gate Memories – Memories written about the Harbin Gate hang on the fence where it was removed for Valley Line LRT construction. Paula E. Kirman

  • Portrait of a Caterpillar – Gord Currie is an Ambrose Place resident who has taken up photography to cope with the challenges in his life. Here is an example of his work. He says that he has gone from “poverty to photography” and gives credit for this photo “to the caterpillar for being a good subject.” Gord Currie

  • MUSE Awards – The Edmonton Muse, an online magazine dealing with local art, culture, and music, celebrated its first anniversary on May 25. As part of the celebration at the Starlite Room, awards were handed out to several Edmontonians making a difference. Boyle McCauley News Editor Paula E. Kirman was the first recipient for her involvement in a number of volunteer, non-profit groups. Marissa Loewen

  • New Community Space at Bissell Centre – Ryan Arcand presents Gary St. Amand, CEO of Bissell Centre, an eagle staff at the grand opening of Bissell Centre’s new community space in its west building, on June 11. The drop-in has improved access to basic needs and support services. Paula E. Kirman  

Around the Neighbourhood

Volunteer With Us!

We are always looking for new writers and photographers, as well as ideas for future stories. We also regularly need block carriers to help with the delivery and distribution of the paper. Email Paula with your submissions, feedback, ideas, and availability. We also ask that contributors read our Editorial Guidelines and that all volunteers read and agree to our Code of Conduct.

Next Issue . . .

Our next issue is September. Articles and photos concerning community news, events, and opinions are welcome. We also encourage submissions of poetry, and cartoons (in JPG or PDF format). Deadline: August 12. Send submissions to: editor@bmcnews.org. Articles should be 400 words or less and accompanied by photographs (JPG, in high resolution) when possible.