Event Highlights Connections Between Chinese and Indigenous Communities

  • 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.

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