Between September 2010 and May 2011 twelve cultural exchange visits were organized. The visits took place at particular sites of community and cultural significance for Aboriginal and immigrant communities. They provided opportunities for participants to learn more about the histories and cultures of the community groups hosting the visits.

Cultural exchange between Vancouver’s Aboriginal and Chinese communities
S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Choi Hall • May 28, 2011

S.U.C.C.E.S.S. hosted a visit in Vancouver’s Chinatown. The first part of the visit included a walking tour of historical points of interest in Chinatown. After the tour a short film about S.U.C.C.E.S.S. was shown, in addition to Cedar and Bamboo, which brings attention to early relations between Aboriginal and Chinese communities in BC through featuring individuals who have both Aboriginal and Chinese ancestry. After lunch there were two speakers panels. The first panel was comprised of Chinese community members who shared their experiences as immigrants to Canada or early experiences growing up in Vancouver, as well as their interest in reaching out to Aboriginal communities. The second panel was comprised of Chinese media representatives, who commented on the Chinese community’s knowledge and perceptions of Aboriginal communities.

Telling the Jewish narrative – Cultural visit with the Jewish community
Temple Sholom • April 14, 2011

Vancouver’s Jewish community hosted a visit held at the Temple Sholom synagogue. The visit brought together members of the Jewish, Aboriginal and other diverse communities for an evening of learning and sharing. Rabbis gave remarks on Judaism, the significance of Passover, and some similarities that may be drawn from experiences of the Jewish and Aboriginal communities. Other guest speakers from the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, Jewish Family Services Agency and Canadian Jewish Congress also gave remarks. Participants had a chance to interact with each other while enjoying a kosher dinner. To end the event, members of the Musqueam Warriors shared a traditional song, and the hosts blew on the traditional shofar horn, which is used during important Jewish public and religious occasions.

Youth bus tour
Various organizations • March 27, 2011

The bus tour brought young participants from Vancouver’s diverse Aboriginal and immigrant/non-Aboriginal communities together for an all-day interactive visit with youth from organizations that provide leadership opportunities for young people and work to enhance the cultural and social development of Aboriginal and immigrant communities. The tour included stops at Immigrant Services Society of BC, Urban Native Youth Association, Britannia Community Centre, MOSAIC and Knowledgeable Aboriginal Youth Association. Youth from the organizations shared with participants the work they are involved with and demonstrated some of their interests, including martial arts and music. Participants also talked about their ideas and experiences on how to build community capacity amongst youth. Also included in the visit was an ice cream stop!

Sharing and learning at the Longhouse: A visit with Native Education College
Native Education College • February 8, 2011

Native Education College is BC’s largest private Aboriginal college, offering a culturally appropriate and supportive learning environment for Aboriginal learners. At this visit participants had an opportunity to find out more about the learning community at NEC and take part in a traditional welcoming ceremony at the Longhouse. The visit also included interactive traditional singing and dancing and ended with a dinner of Coast Salish foods.

Cultural exchange visit between Vancouver’s Aboriginal and Ismaili Communities
Ismaili Centre, Burnaby • January 26, 2011

This visit started with a guided tour of the Ismaili Centre, where participants learned about the symbolic significance of some of the architectural and design elements of the Centre, as well as some aspects of Ismaili Muslim culture. Guests were led through the courtyard, educational and meeting spaces, and the beautiful prayer room. During lunch guests and hosts had an opportunity to engage in dialogue with each other. The hosts presented on the Ismaili community in Canada as well as the broader international Ismaili community and the work of the Aga Khan Development Network.

Dialogue and exchange between Aboriginal and immigrant communities
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre • December 11, 2010

Participants had an opportunity to tour the Friendship Centre, while learning about the programs and services it provides and the history of the Friendship Centre movement. Afterwards, everyone was treated to songs and dances from members of the Nisga’a Traditional Performers. To end the event, everyone enjoyed an early holiday meal together.

Sharing traditional healing practices: A conversation with multicultural, First Nations and Aboriginal health practitioners
Britannia Community Centre (Canucks Family Education Centre) • December 8, 2010

Drawing from the traditions of Aboriginal and immigrant communities, this event brought together a knowledgeable panel of practitioners, including Aboriginal healers, Old Hands and Alannah Atley; traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, Dr. Fang Liu; and Dr. Leoncio Ventura, a Mayan native who also practices Chinese medicine. Panelists shared teachings on the cultural approaches to health and wellness and audience members had an opportunity to pose their own questions about various alternative approaches to healing.

Tsleil-Waututh First Nation • December 7, 2010

The visit started with a guided forest walk in Cates Park, traditional Tsleil-Waututh territory, where participants heard traditional legends and stories of the Tsleil-Waututh people and learned about some time-honored uses of natural resources, including cedar bark, plants and ocean life. After a lunch of traditional Coast Salish foods, the Children of Takaya group shared a number of songs and dances. Tsleil-Waututh speakers addressed topics around history, culture and current issues.

Interactive visit with Musqueam
Musqueam First Nation • November 24, 2010

This visit gave participants an opportunity to learn about the Musqueam people. Musqueam speakers shared some aspects of their history and traditional ways of life. They also addressed some of the effects of colonialism and discussed current issues, such as land claims. Over a lunch of traditional Coast Salish foods, the short film, Musqueam Through Time was shown. For the last part of the visit, participants were given a tour of parts of the Musqueam grounds, including a salmon stream, longhouse and the Olympic Aboriginal Pavilion.

Exploring Aboriginal knowledge, culture and perspectives
UBC First Nations House of Learning (the Longhouse) and the Museum of Anthropology • November 9, 2010

Participants were introduced to the First Nations House of Learning (the Longhouse) and heard from Musqueam Elder, Larry Grant, who spoke about his own experiences, growing up and living in Vancouver, as a person of Musqueam and Chinese heritage. After enjoying lunch with other students at the Longhouse, participants made their way to the Museum of Anthropology where they had the opportunity to view some indigenous art and artefacts, including Coast Salish pieces. Two short films on MOA’s Native Youth Program and the Kwakwaka’wakw Potlatch were shown. To conclude the visit, guest speakers and performers, Mike Dangeli and Mique’l Askren talked about their experiences as urban Aboriginals and shared a short song and dance.

Food, dialogue and exchange: Cultural exchange between First Nations, urban Aboriginal and Afghan women in Vancouver
MOSAIC and Britannia Community Centre • November 6, 2010

Women from MOSAIC’s Afghan women’s group and Aboriginal women from Sisters of the Four Corners came together for an afternoon of sharing and feasting. The exchange visit started with an introduction and tour of MOSAIC. Every one then helped to prepare a delicious and hearty lunch, which was comprised of traditional foods from each culture, including salmon, bannock and blueberry soup (from the Aboriginal women) and rice dishes, bolani (flatbread), salads and chicken (from the Afghan women). The women also shared some of their traditional practices with each other, such as prayers and ways of honouring ancestors.

Sharing stories, journeys & beats: Cultural exchange between First Nations, urban Aboriginal and Mayan people in Vancouver
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre • September 26, 2010

This event brought together two indigenous communities in Vancouver that had never before come together. Participants from the First Nations/urban Aboriginal and Mayan communities shared commonalities about their experiences as indigenous peoples as well as their unique histories and issues. The afternoon included sharing of traditional food and music, with drumming by the Urban Native Youth Association’s (UNYA) Young Women’s Drum Group and the Mayan marimba group.

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