A celebration and sharing of Indigenous knowledge, culture, and history was held Saturday at Langford’s Starlight Stadium during the first-ever Change-Makers Gathering Festival.
Throughout the day, visitors enjoyed traditional dances and prayers, took part in drum making and cedar weaving workshops taught by Elders and Knowledge Keepers, browsed artisan stalls, and enjoyed ever-popular bannock tacos.
“Pre-COVID, we had a change-makers gathering day here, so this is building off that to be a festival,” said organizer Charla Huber. “The goal is to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together and celebrate and experience Indigenous culture. A big piece of it is acknowledging Indigenous knowledge and knowledge transfer.”
In a perfect example of knowledge transfer, Huber said the catering staff at the stadium were taught how to make traditional bannock leading up to the event by Elder Daphne Underwood from T’Sou-ke First Nation. Huber said it was an important for the staff to be taught how to prepare the bread by an elder, rather than simply being handed a recipe to follow.
“It’s all about realizing we are not so different. The best part about this event is people can take a tangible item, like a drum or a bracelet home to remind them of the day. The event builds on the Elder’s teaching ‘if you feel it in your heart, you should do it.’”
Huber said the turnout was better than expected, and they even had to deal with a line of people waiting at the stadium gate for the event to start, the workshops have been well attended, and many people decided to find a comfortable spot to relax and stay for most of the day.
“June is Indigenous History Month, so we wanted to kick-off the month with a great celebration, and a great way to honour Indigenous culture and folks in our communities.”