July 1, 2021— the shíshálh Nation invited the greater Sechelt community to walk with them in solidarity to support residential school survivors and acknowledge the children whose remains were discovered in unmarked graves near residential school sites across Canada. At the beginning of the march, hiwus (Chief) Warren Paul addressed the crowd that had gathered and said the Nation was asking two things of the Sunshine Coast: to listen and to walk with them.
These words resonated with Jane Davidson, the Artistic and Executive Director of the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. The result is Walking With: Honouring Indigenous Voices, a free special event taking place on September 10 at 7 p.m. in the Festival Pavilion at Rockwood Centre.
Featuring authors Joseph Dandurand (The East Side of It All), Danielle Geller (Dog Flowers), and Darrel J. McLeod (Peyakow), Walking With will include readings by all three authors abd will be hosted and moderated by award-winning journalist Angela Sterritt.
Co-presented with the BC and Yukon Book Prizes—Dandurand, Geller and McLeod have all recently been recognized as finalists of the prizes—the event aims to create discussion about the importance and power of Indigenous stories.
“This event” says Davidson, “along with our commitment to include Indigenous voices at the Festival and in our schools programming, is our response to the [shíshálh Nation’s] call.
Walking With also coincides with the festival’s 40th anniversary, and it was planned to help mark this milestone achievement. “We wanted to make this a free event, so it is accessible to all,” Davidson explains.
The Festival Pavilion is located at 5511 Shorncliffe Avenue, ch’atlich. Books will be for sale onsite, courtesy of Talewind Books. Audience members will be asked to wear masks in the Pavilion during the event.
Pre-registration is not necessary, but for more information, email info(at)writersfestival.ca or phone 604-885-9631.