Gallery: Eat, music, and cleanse for multicultural exchange

Nearly 150 people gathered for a cultural exchange over food, music, stories, and traditions on June 2.




Nearly 150 people gathered for a cultural exchange over food, music, stories, and traditions at the Saik’uz First Nation band office on June 2.

Hosted by the Nechako Creative Communities Collective, the Multicultural Dinner and Sharing Event began with grace led by Saik’uz Councillor Ernie John in the Carrier language. Participants then lined up table by table for a buffet of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts from various cultures in Vanderhoof.

Melanie Lebatch, one of the organizers of the event, recounted the words of her grandmother on the importance of bonding over food.

“People do their business, but you always sit down and eat a meal together,” Lebatch said, adding that most ingredients were locally sourced to not only support businesses in the area, but also to take care of the land that people reside on — a Carrier tradition.

“We would like to continue this event, sharing dishes from different cultures.”

Presented dishes include French macarons, Indian lentil stew and curried chicken, Filipino casava cake (also known as kakanin in Tagalog) and chicken adobo, half dried bear meat, salmon in crust, tourtière from Quebec, Swedish meatballs, and bannock.

Mark William, preparing bannock for not only the multicultural dinner but also many previous community events as well, said his recipe came from his mother.

“I used to watch her make bannock,” William said, adding that the bread’s airiness came from salt and baking powder.”

Darlene Barfoot, one of the event’s cooks, learned to make Filipino spring rolls and Indian curry chicken from food workshops that preceded the dinner.

“I enjoyed it and loved it, learning to make dishes that I’ve never tried before,” Barfoot said, adding that though she loved spices that were normally present in curries, they were not added for the event — to keep flavours mild for participating elders.

Cristy Brennan conducted spring roll making workshops as part of the cultural exchange dinner.

Brennan first moved to Canada from the Philippines seven years ago, and her initial attraction to the area’s indigenous people was from skin colour, she said.

“When I first met [First Nations], I ask if they are Filipino,” Brennan said adding that she found similarities between First Nation and Filipino friendliness.

“They love to laugh and joke…I get along with them easily.”

For Cathy Hobson, whose family came to Vanderhoof in 1940s, enjoyed the variety of foods from different cultures presented at the event.

“It’s very nice for Saik’uz to host a multicultural thing,” Hobson said. “It’s community building, reaching out to other cultures.”

As the evening wound down with dessert and Indian chai, Lisa Striegler from the Nechako Healthy Community Alliance performed an Irish song that illustrates partiers getting drunk and others’ response, accompanying by beats from the Irish drum bodhran.

Former Saik’uz Chief Colleen Erickson presented a selection of her original poetry, including a piece called Still Water, that was inspired by the Nechako landscape.

“Our people are considered speakers for the land, as the land cannot speak for itself,” Erickson said. “We as speakers must pay attention.”

Representatives from the local RCMP detachment and district council also attended the dinner.

“Because when you have food together, you become more interactive with each other,” said Mayor Gerry Thiessen. “Thanks for the opportunity to be part of it.”

To conclude the evening of cultural exchange, Councillor Ernie John invited cooks and guests to a campfire for post-event cleansing with spruce smoke — a Carrier tradition.

Though balsam, softer and more fragrant than spruce, is usually used, the smoke is good cleansing for the soul, John explained. For example, a house is smoked when its occupants died, in order for the dead to be laid to rest.

Balsam branches are also used for bedding during hunting trips.

“Because we’re mostly bush people,” he said. “We’re so sensitive in our culture about being on the land.

 

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

People had a chance to interact with different animals at the petting zoo, participate in mutton busting, and buy everything local during the Fall Fair held in 2019. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
55th Fall Fair in Vanderhoof cancelled

Alternative events eyed once again

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Most Read