Koksilah Music Festival | 2018 Workshops & Speakers
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2018 Workshops & Speakers

Plant Walk 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.


Unist’ot’en Camp with Freda Huson and Dini Ze Smogelgem

Representatives from Unist’ot’en camp will share stories and photos from their Yintah (territory) on the Wedzin Kwah (Morice River) near Houston, BC, where they are occupying and using their traditional territory in the ways of their ancestors.  They will talk about their struggle against energy companies aiming to push fracked gas (LNG) pipelines through Unist’ot’en territory without their consent. MORE INFO.


Fish Farm Direct Action with Awinakola Warriors and Cleansing Our Waters

Speakers from Kwakwaka’wakw Territory will share their experiences from the Swanson and Midsummer Fish Farm Occupations. Join them to hear how their communities are mobilizing to hasten fish farm evictions. MORE INFO

Decolonizing through Indigenous Food Justice with Project Reclaim

This workshop explores the use of indigenous foods or medicines as acts of resistance to environmental violence. Participants will be invited to explore the “iceberg” of indigenous culture and  learn some of the indigenous beliefs and values that are often overlooked or not understood by non-indigenous peoples (from a WSANEC perspective). In this activity, we discover indigenous ways of knowing and deepen understandings of ancestral and human connection to land, body, water and animals.


The second part of the discussion explores the ways that settler environmental injustice (or environmental violence) and colonization of lands disrupt indigenous ways of living and culture. Participants look at how their bodies are impacted, spiritually, mentally and physically by colonization of lands and how they are impacted by practicing culture or anti-colonial activities. We hope to envision ways of resisting colonial and environmental violence through small acts of resistance and create better understandings of indigenous culture in our local areas. MORE INFO

Trauma-resilient care practices for liberation communities  with Tada Hozumi

In this experiential circle we’ll be exploring ‘care’, in all its expressions, from self-care to community-care, as a foundational practice to liberatory movement work. We will be looking at care not as a supplement that allows us to do more activist work, but as the very tool that liberates us from the various oppressions we experience.

The circle will be an open format and weave together discussion of relevant topics such as trauma and neurology, with body-centred exercises that are aimed to support the participants as they develop their practices of care. MORE INFO

Cross Cultural Interactive with Stella Johnny

Many First Nations have been traumatized through colonization and the effects continue to impact our people today. Cowichan Tribes is currently in a state of Emergency with high suicide rates! In the past, the Way of Life kept the balance and set protocols to guide us through the many stages of life. This interactive workshop will give insight into the experience of colonization and help participants observe the immediate impact. It will also restore balance using cedar branches, reflecting the traditional rituals used in daily life.

Weaving Cedar Roses with Stella Johnny

Learn how to weave roses with the inner bark of red cedar.  Join Stella to share in the teachings of the Tree of life! Stella will also have her work on display for participants to see what can be made by the cedar tree. This workshop is limited to 12 participants. Materials cost: $20

The Heart of Cultural Appropriation with Pulxaneeks

Pulxaneeks (Pul-ha-neeks) is from the Eagle Clan of Haisla First Nation. Her path of being a group facilitator, program designer & event producer was sparked 19 years ago & has been applied in a wide diversity of ways throughout her life. Her most recent development is based entirely on the unique understanding that has come from being exposed to both Indigenous & Settler descent cultures from which came the offering of Indigenous Relations Consultation. Pulxaneeks is a living, loving result of the coastal Indigenous village that raised her.

Together we will be unpacking what’s at the foundation of cultural appropriation, addressings topics such as Ancestry and cultural belonging with emphasis on how we’ve each been colonized & how we’re living the impact of this.

Co-creating community, allies, and allyship with Stephanie Papik, Wraven Papik, Kristine Ciruna, and Evan Jolicoeur

A workshop for people who experience a heartfelt understanding of our shared history of colonization of Canada. For people who are now 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.

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

Music for the Frontlines 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 lended their voices to support social change including the 2017 Walk for the Salish Sea, International Women’s Day 2017-18, and the Sound Relations initiative. They have also brought song to Equinox and Solstice gathering for the community and put on fundraiser concerts to support Pull Together and Xwaaq’um Youth Project.
The Sisters of Mercy aim to inspire the kind of care that is needed in the world right now and to serving to empower local community through song to effect global change through our tri-fold focus of:
*Community Building

*COMMUNITY BUILDING – Sisters of Mercy aspire to provide sacred song for ritual, rites of passage and ceremony in the community such as rights of birth, coming of age, croning, death, honouring the seasons as well as community outreach.

*DECOLONIZATION – Sisters of Mercy are dedicated to the work of healing, learning and culturally integrating as settlers on Coast Salish Territory. Using music as a bridge to greater understanding and peace by lending our voice to elevate and honour Coast Salish Peoples, Lands and Waters.

*ACTIVISM – Sisters of Mercy focus on Activism is to empower women’s voices through singing and bring that unified force to support Social Justice and Environmental causes on Salt Spring Island and our surrounding community.

New Members may inquire by email at sistersofmercychoir@gmail.com

A new all-gender choir is in the works for the Victoria area which will focus on music for the frontlines. Set to begin mid to late September.

History of Quw’utsun with Char Lafortune

Nuts’amaat  Shqwaluwun—One thought One mind

Building Awareness of Endangered Species with Quw’utsun Elder Mena Williams

Mena works to preserve and revitalize the Hul’q’umi’num’ language and culture, unearthing and sharing some of this buried treasure. In this workshop/presentation she will be building awareness around endangered plants and animals in the Quw’utsun’. Sharing stories and traditions, Hul’q’umi’num’ names of the species and how they have benefitted Quw’utsun’ People.

Colonization Today – A First Nations Perspective with Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is Heiltsuk with ties also to the Kitasoo Xai Xai and Haisla Nations. Pamela Resides in her community of Bella Bella on the Central Coast of BC and has served as a leader in her community for the past 20 years. With the hope of a better tomorrow Pamela has been involved heavily in the political arena specifically around health and wellness. She continues to serve as a political rep for her Nation as a tribal councillor working toward the hope of true Reconciliation with Canada. Pamela’s workshop will cover various aspects of colonization efforts that are real and alive today from her own perspective and leadership experience.

Family Virtues with Robert George

Robert George (Qwiahwultuhw) is a Cowichan Tribes member, father of 3, grandfather of 4 husband of Denise for 36 years. Robert is a certified Virtues project facilitator, cultural awareness presenter around community. He enjoys drumming, swimming, learning of plants and building bridges with community.

This workshop is a 3 hour long virtues project. Parenting is the most complex and important role on the planet. Parents are the first educator, yet receive little or no training for this. This workshop helps parents, caregivers, uncle’s, aunties and grandparents awaken the qualities that are in each human being. By speaking the language of virtues, setting virtues based boundaries and recognizing teachable moments – we bring out the best in each other. We become mentors helping bring out love, compassion, respect, confidence and purposefulness. This comes from the development of children’s virtues and gifts.

We’ll be going thru a 3 hour art exercise talking about what virtues are. How we learn.


Elder’s Lunch and Speeches