01 Aug TEDX Whistler at the SLCC
Nation and SLCC leaders headline TEDx Whistler.
The SLCC was proud to host TEDx Whistler on Sunday, May 7, 2023 in the Great Hall. SLCC Cultural Ambassadors welcomed speakers, organizers and guests, and the Spo7ez Performance team shared songs from both Nations under the backdrop of the SLCC’s beautiful Great Hall. This year’s speakers included the SLCC’s ambassador and cultural leader of the Spo7ez Performance Team, T’ec Georgina Dan from the Lil’wat Nation, and Territorial Stewardship Manager for the Lil’wat Nation, Lhpatq Maxine Bruce, and the SLCC’s Executive Director and 2017 Whistler Citizen of the Year, Heather Paul. The speakers explore the theme of “purpose”, with ideas worth sharing about living a life of value and being who we’re meant to be. Khelsilem – Chairperson of the Squamish Nation was also a key speaker for the event, but was unfortunately unable to take part on the day.
We raise our hand in thanks to the TEDx Whistler volunteers and organizers for their partnership and good hearts.
How Being One With the Land Can Bring Us Together – Lhpatq Maxine Bruce
Elected leader and the Territorial Stewardship Manager for the Lil’wat Nation, Maxine Bruce, chairs several boards and committees and holds the role of President of the Lil’wat Nation’s corporate arm. She is honoured to incorporate her Nation’s culture into her work and grateful for the opportunity to take the approach of being an Ucwalmicw Tmicw (one with the land).
Maxine challenges us to connect with the land like her people have been doing for millennia. By combining Lil’wat traditional wisdom gathered over the past 5,500 years and today’s modern technologies, she envisions a world where we can work together to fight against climate change. Maxine lives and works in Mount Currie, BC, and she feels honoured and proud to work for her community so she can give back and help incorporate her Nation’s culture into her work.
I Am an Ancestor – T’ec Georgina Dan
Cultural Leader of the Spo7ez Performance team and a graduate and co-facilitator of the Indigenous Youth Ambassador Program from the Lil’wat Nation, T’ec Georgina Dan shares what being an ancestor means, where she is on her path towards Truth and Reconciliation, and the importance of storytelling in revitalizing a culture and language that colonialism has almost wiped out. T’ec Georgina Dan is from the Lil’wat Nation, and serves as the Cultural Leader of the Spo7ez Performance team and voice of her generation. After graduating from the Indigenous Youth Ambassador Program in 2016, Georgina became a manager of that same program. Currently, Georgina is learning the Lil’wat Language at Ts’zil Learning Centre as she continues to share her culture at the SLCC by performing and leading cultural programming, crafts, and workshops.
I Am an “Ally” and I am Part of the Problem – Heather Paul
Heather Paul currently serves as Executive Director of the Skwxwu7mesh Lilwat7ul Cultural Centre (SLCC), showcasing the two original First Nations communities of the Whistler area. Her community involvement has led her to craft a thriving theatre company, serve as the chair of the Arts Whistler board of directors, and be named Whistler’s 2017 Citizen of the Year at the Whistler Chamber of Commerce’s Excellence Awards. In her ongoing work at the SLCC, Heather continues amplifying Indigenous voices and the Ambassadors at the SLCC who inspire her every day as original stewards of the land, living out their calling to share the stories of the territory, the language of their people, and the voices of their ancestors. In this thought-provoking talk, Heather challenges non-Indigenous people to look at what they’ve been taught to believe about Indigenous peoples. To question the term “ally” and how it’s being used while providing important insights, to help us all on our collective journey towards Truth and Reconciliation.
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre was host to TEDxWhistler’s 2021 virtual event. Ambassadors sang their songs and welcomed speakers and organizers, under the backdrop of the SLCC’s beautiful Great Hall. The board of directors and staff are proud to witness 2 of our leaders speak at this year’s event. A perfect companion to your day: the words and stories of Chepximiya Siyam Chief Janice George and Kúkwpi7 (Chief) Gélpcal.
We raise our hand in thanks to TEDxWhistler volunteers and organizers for their partnership and good hearts.
So Many Questions, So Few Answers – Kúkwpi7 (Chief) Gélpcal, Lílw̓at
Kúkwpi7 Gélpcal (Cultural Chief R.A. Joseph) was born in Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh (Squamish), British Columbia and is a citizen of the Lil’wat Nation (Mount Currie). His roots are gathered from Tsal’alh (Seton Lake), home of his mother Xí7tsa7, and Lil’wat, home of his father Saw’. Gélpcal is a multi-medium artist, specializing in carving wood and soapstone, acrylic painting, pine needle basketry, and pyrography. He loves being self-sufficient in the outdoors and spending his time fishing and harvesting medicine, tea, berries, pine mushrooms, and other food from the land. Volunteer work is very important to Gélpcal, as he is quick to admit that he did not build himself…rather, the community did. He knows all time is precious, so he spends it collecting stories and sharing them through all he creates. Teaching only furthers his passion as he finds security in knowing that he’s provided guidance to new artists and assured that his rich culture is to be shared always.
The Spirit Moves Like a Storm – Chepximiya Siyam’ Chief Janice George
Chepximiya Siyam’ Janice George is an accomplished weaver and teacher from the Squamish Nation. She, along with her fellow weaver and teacher Skwetsimeltxw Willard “Buddy” Joseph, co-founded L’hen Awtxw Weaving House to share the teachings and practice of traditional Coast Salish wool weaving. Chief Janice George graduated from Capilano University in North Vancouver, BC, and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her education at these schools helped her excel as a teacher, adding to her most important traditional teachings. Janice is a hereditary chief, trained museum curator, and educator. She co-organized the 1st Canada Northwest Coast Weavers Gathering, with other Squamish Nation Weavers. Janice and Willard are from prominent Squamish families and have numerous ceremonial and cultural responsibilities in their community.