Koksilah Music Festival | 2019 Workshops & Speakers
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2019 Workshops & Speakers

Radical Harmony with Rama DelaRosa

Activist, Educator, Visionary and Choir Director Rama DelaRosa founded the Sisters of Mercy radical women’s choir in November of 2016. Since then the choir has lent their voices to support social change, including the 2017 Walk for the Salish Sea, International Women’s Day, and the Sound Relations Initiative. Rama aims to inspire the kind of care that is needed in the world right now, serving to empower local community through song, with a focus on community building, decolonization, and activism.  Join Rama in Radical Harmony to learn both harmonizing skills and new songs for the frontlines.

Wild Medicinal Plants with Della Rice Sylvester

Della Rice-Sylvester is an elder and traditional medicine woman from the Cowichan First Nation. She was trained at an early age by her grandmothers and aunties, and has been studying and teaching about plant medicines her whole life. She will impart information about plant identification, cultural protocols, and medicine preparation alongside her personal experiences.

Matriarch Camp

Perspectives from Tsastilqualus Ambers Umbas and James Dakota Smith


Tsastilqualus Ambers Umbas is a Ma’amtagila and Tlingit matriarch, joining us to speak about the importance of reclaiming matriarchal systems in these troubling times.  Topics will include: matriarchal resurgence, hereditary systems of governance, a critique of the Department of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development (INAC), fish farms, and how to support resistance.  James Dakota Smith will join us to discuss clear-cut and old growth logging on unceded Indigenous land.

Sara Cadeau pic

The Unsettling Workshop with Sara Cadeau and Racelle Laloya Kooy

What comes after land acknowledgments and what should have come before ? 

We invite you to help sing the first note to a medicine song of healing….


For uninvited guests living on Indigenous territory.

Please make yourself uncomfortable !!

You aren’t from here? Through service and actions, you can begin to undo the claiming of that which was never yours. Let’s deconstruct the concepts of guestrights, ownership and privilege.

We can begin by understanding that the teachings and songs that weave through these mountains and waterways, from time immemorial, are not ours. That our own are often far behind us.

This  circle will be a personal and collective eradication of manifest destiny. Backwards coyote medicines are afoot here.

Can our own teachings, our own ancient animistic and infinitely connected selves,  be pulled back in through our feet, our dreaming and our actions ? Unsettle yourself and find out.

Give of yourself.  Be of service.

Times aren’t urgent. You aren’t needed.

*Just joking . Yes you are. *

This ceremony will be witnessed by matriarchs and knowledge keepers  of these territories. This is reconciliation in action.

Come correct to be corrected.

You are welcome. Thanks for thinking this song was about you. It is. It’s for you.


Sara Cadeau is an Anishnaabe and Metis kwe , Celt and French blood and Ashkanazi.  Raised French and white passing with years of whispered Metis mystery, her families history of safety-driven erasure and has been unearthed. She is gratefully tied to both the Garden River Ontario Ojibway nation and the red river cree Metis through her mothers line. Sara is a sundancer, moon dancer and carries medicine names and pipes from traditions and societies she has learned from and served. Her three decades of study around the world and turtle island have always focused on the reclamation of women’s medicine bundles, rites, responsibilities, songs and ceremonies. 

Racelle Laloya Kooy Of the St’alt’imc and Secwepemc nations will be co-presenting. Racelle is a former moderator and co chair for the AFN and current Green Party nominee for Victoria .

Cultural Connections: Journey of Our Generation

Reconciliation is the journey of our generation, but what does it mean and how do we create lasting change in our communities? Elders remind us it is a process, a journey without a final destination. For Canadians to live together in dignity, equality, safety and prosperity on the lands that we share, we must start by knowing the truth.

Through shared storytelling, experiential learning, role-playing, and inquiry, this workshop provides participants with a unique opportunity to learn about Canada’s history. We explore the differences between Indigenous and European worldviews, approaches to governance, leadership and community. Participants then travel through the story of the first 150 years of Canada’s history from colonization into this era of reconciliation to consider the question – Where and how do we go forward from here? 

This workshop takes us on a journey from our heads to our hearts to learn about land and treaty policies, residential schools, and Indian hospitals. It is an opportunity to ask tough questions, reflect on conditioned beliefs, and understand how systemic racism continues to impact Indigenous communities in Canada. It is a space for open, honest dialogue about where we would like to go on our reconciliation journey.

Q & A with Unist’ot’en

Freda Huson and the Unist’ot’en Clan were the subject of a massive RCMP raid this past winter for defending their home territory of Talbitz Kwa from a massive fracked gas export project pushed forward by the coalition government.  Freda is receiving a Chief’s name this very weekend at a Feast in her home community of Witset. Hear directly from Unist’ot’en leadership how things are looking on the ground for their struggle, and get answers to your questions!

Understanding and co-creating community, allies and allyship With Stephanie Papik, Wraven Papik, Antonia Paquin, and Kristine Ciruna

A workshop for people who experience a heartfelt understanding of our shared history of colonization of Canada. For people who are wondering, now that we know, what can we do? How do we turn these feelings into action that will be of benefit to the situation? 

This workshop will explore what it means to be on a path of decolonized allies and what is needed for decolonized allyship with Indigenous people.

This workshop hopes to explore this pathway together as a group and as well as offer some tools that may help to align good intentions with an open heart and mind. All my relations.

Dawn WSC 2017 Marc

Decolonizing Food Systems: Cross-Cultural Interface Framework With Dawn Morrison and Wilson Mendes

Dawn and Wilson will present the Decolonizing Food Systems: Cross-Cultural Interface framework developed over 13 years of mobilizing and analyzing Indigenous food sovereignty related knowledge and networks in so-called Canada, South Africa, and beyond. 

The presentation will highlight the key points of entry into a journey of understanding how Indigenous hunting, fishing and gathering narratives are persisting despite the ways it has been made invisible in colonial policy, planning and governance. 

A discussion will follow and will provide the time and space to appreciate and inquire into the key points of contention and complementarity that live within the cross-cultural interface where subsistence hunting, fishing, farming and gathering meet modern agriculture.


Hip Hop 101

Intro to beat boxing and rapping

With Trevor Husband

Trevor Husband has spent over a decade in Vancouver performing in local bands as a singer, MC, guitar and bass player. Trevor now works as a native artist and does part-time youth work teaching music and native art/carving. In this workshop he teaches the basics of beat boxing, songwriting and rapping. Hip Hop is the most accessible form of music, it’s so simple all you need to know is the ABC’s and you can make music.


Settler Rites and Responsibilities: How our Ceremonies Were Lost, Why It Matters, and What We Can do About it 

With Sobey Wing and Darcy Ottey

When we look at the history of colonization around the world, we see that a surefire way to devastate a culture is to destroy its process of youth initiation, and to take over the education of young people. This process was developed in ancient Europe; then violently employed throughout Turtle Island, Africa, and Asia; and continues through imperialism around the world today. At their core, traditions of ritual and ceremony inform people of their roles and responsibilities, in connection to the cycles of nature.

For many settlers, loss of traditional initiation rites, along with their cultural roots, has led to loss of identity, purpose and belonging. This has often led to theft of other cultures. In this workshop, we examine how settlers entered cultural amnesia, and what is being done today to reclaim roots and identities through ancestrally-rooted ritual and practices. We will also forward a movement to direct this form of self-and community empowerment towards collective liberation in the face of white supremacy and ongoing forms of colonization.



Sobey Wing (he, his, him, they, them, theirs) is a mixed race POC settler residing on the Unceded Coast Salish Territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Səl̓ílwətaʔ and a 2nd generation immigrant born in Tkaronto, traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. He has recently obtained dual citizenship with the Philippines to deepen ties with his mother’s homeland in the Visayas.

Sobey is President of Kathara Pilipino Indigenous Arts Society which does solidarity work through culture and arts with Lumad (indigenous) peoples in Mindanao as well as accountability work as settlers on Turtle Island. He is also affiliated with Youth Passageways organization which supports youth transitioning into mature adulthood and is chair of its Cross-Cultural Protocols Working Group. A founding administrator and moderator of various decolonization groups on Facebook including Decolonize Consciousness.





Darcy Ottey (she/her) is a white settler living on the unceded Interior Salish territory of the mətxʷúalso known as the Methow Valley, WashingtonDarcy experienced a formative nature-based coming of age ceremony at 13, leading her deep into the study and practice of initiatory rites as a critical aspect of cultural wholeness. The descendant of Quaker settlers, British coalminers, and Ukrainian peasants, she is particularly focused on how these ceremonies can lead toward accountability for settlers. Darcy currently serves as Co-Director of Youth Passageways, a global network supporting the regeneration of healthy, culturally-rooted passages into mature adulthood.

Cindy Charleyboy 2019

Connecting through Indigenous Dreaming Practices

With Cindy Charleyboy

We all have the gift of dreaming but often don’t remember or fully honor this. We can make use of the times we gather, through shared intent, to boost our connection with ancestral knowledge, wisdom, vital energy and inspiration.  

Cindy Charleyboy (Tsilhqot’in/Secwepemc/Norwegian) is a dream worker and teacher who has been deliberately connecting and learning with other Indigenous dreamers since 2010. Her journey began at a very young age; some of her first memories are of dreams and some of her strongest tools come from that time. She practices daily exploration and dream rituals with her sisters.  

Dreams can be just as powerful and life changing as plant medicine. Indigenous practices help others set safe space, increase recall, build their relationship with dreams, gather needed information, and more.

Find her in the Tea Tent for a full workshop Friday night 7:00-9:00pm, with recaps and optional check in’s at 9:00 am on Saturday and Sunday.  

Note: while there may be examples of interpretation, that is not the main goal. In Indigenous practices, dreams are not normally blocked, forced to conform, or stunted through analysis.

The Melawmen Collective: Transformative Rebuilding of Intergenerational Relationships through the Process of Creation

With Meeka Noelle Morgan

Meeka Noelle Morgan, founder of the Melawmen Collective, shares her journey of gathering knowledge from her father’s generation and Secwepemc community, through the completion of her Masters Degree in Sociology, into the development of an Indigenous arts and music collective. Throughout the last decade, the collective has shared this knowledge with youth and communities through creative projects. Come learn how it has lead to transformative building of relationships between Indigenous peoples and others.

Elder’s Lunch and Speeches