City of Vancouver and federal government team up for major celebration of indigenous art, music, and culture

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      Vancouver will hold a yearlong celebration called Canada 150+ to coincide with the nation's 150th birthday.

      According to a city news release issued today, the name was selected to reflect the indigenous history of the region that predated colonization.

      The theme will be "moving forward together", which acknowledges that the city is on unceded traditional lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

      There will be three signature events:

      1. The Drum is Calling Festival at Larwill Park from July 22 to 30. Curated by Vancouver aboriginal storyteller, singer, dancer, animator, and producer Margo Kane, performers will include pioneering Cree folksinger and songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and Ojibwa country-music star Crystal Shawanda

      2. The Gathering of Canoes at Jericho Beach from July 19 to July 22.

      3. A Walk for Reconciliation, which will take place in September along a route yet to be announced.

      Canada 150+ will also feature a display of life-size aboriginal housing structures presented by the Vancouver Native Housing Society.

      In 2013, approximately 70,000 people participated in the city's first Walk for Reconciliation, which began along West Georgia Street, travelled across both viaducts, and along West Pender Street, and ended in the huge parking lots beside Southeast False Creek.

      Author David Wong and elder Stella August were among the 70,000 who participated in Vancouver's last Walk for Reconciliation.
      Charlie Smith

      Mayor Gregor Robertson urged Vancouverites to participate in events associated with Canada 150+.

      "We have programmed a once-in-a-lifetime immersive experience that, at its heart, features the cultural traditions, art, music, and much more of our three host nations, the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh," Robertson said in the news release.

      Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly has delivered more than $2 million in federal funding to honour Vancouver's First Nations culture and history.

      Canada 150+ is being funded by a $2.3-million grant from the federal government and another $2.4 million from the City of Vancouver.

      Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, said that the 150th anniversary of Canada offers "a unique and powerful opportunity to build a better future for Canada".

      "We are proud to support the City of Vancouver and the important work it is doing to bring British Columbians together, in the spirit of cooperation and partnership, to honour the rich history of Canada’s indigenous peoples and inspire action on reconciliation," she said in the news release.