When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a Vancouver aboriginal woman as justice minister, it reflected the possibility of profound changes in the federal government's relationship with indigenous people.
Vancouver Granville MP Jody Wilson-Raybould's elevation occurred at a swearing-in ceremony that also featured two young Inuit throat singers.
The children not only delighted Canadians with their performance, but also with their their joyous giggles.
For Vancouver's grunt gallery aboriginal curatorial resident, Tarah Hogue, the laughter was a reflection of the fun that First Nations people often bring to their art.
"Of course, it makes me and a lot of others hopeful that the government will engage with indigenous peoples beyond just the celebratory level, and on a fundamental, structural level moving forward," Hogue said. "I think the city has taken steps toward doing that."
On Saturday (November 7) from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., there will be a multifaceted exploration about how this is occurring at the Indigenous City Gathering at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at SFU Woodward's.
Featuring storytelling, performances, film screenings, and a community market, it's being presented as part of the SFU Community Summit in partnership with grunt gallery and Rain City Chronicles.
"It's going to be a cabaret-style event," Hogue explained. "It starts with a community market that's free and open to the public in the atrium space of the Goldcorp Centre from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m."
Corey Bulpitt (a.k.a. AKOS) will be doing a live painting exhibition. There will also be music, food, and drinks.
That will be followed by a ticketed event inside the theatre, which will be hosted by Renae Morriseau.
The actor, singer, and director was recently named as one of the winners of the Mayor's Arts Awards. Morriseau directed Drew Hayden's God and the Indian, acted in numerous television shows, and has performed for many years with her singing group M'Girl.
There will be a film screening of Mia', an eight-minute film directed by Amanda Strong and Bracken Hanuse Corlett.
Mia' has already been shown at the Vancouver and Toronto film festivals.
According to Hogue, the first panel discussion will focus on the theme of the indigenous city through the lens of public policies and activism. Speakers include:
• Musqueam storyteller and aboriginal tourism executive Cecilia Point;
• Social-policy expert and City of Vancouver aboriginal city planner Ginger Gosnell-Myers;
A second component will focus on art in public spaces.
Hogue said that this will include presentations by UBC community and regional planning adjunct professor Kamala Todd, filmmaker Strong, and Senaqwila Wyss, a young Squamish Nation artist.
Wyss was one of the artists behind the Granddaughters Mural Project, which was created for the Stanley Park Ecology Society to celebrate the park's 125th anniversary.
However, the society asked for changes to the text and images, creating uproar in the community.
"There will be some heated political discussion as part of the event, I think," Hogue said.
Wyss's mother Cease, a political activistand former Coalition of Progressive Electors candidate, is one of the vendors in the community market.
"We've got a mother-daughter duo going there," Hogue quipped.
In addition, she noted that Jorge Cardenas of the Vancouver Public Library will be on-site to provide library cards to anyone interested in receiving them.