Free Concert Announced in Dedication to Revitalization and Reconciliation
The Chowiyes-Xwithet / Rise Up-Wake Up! concert event will feature songs, stories, and a basket ceremony honouring the spirit of children lost to residential schools, survivors, and families.
We are so pleased to be sponsoring this upcoming free concert – Chowiyes-Xwithet / Rise Up-Wake Up! – hosted at the University of the Fraser Valley in partnership with Éy St’elmexw St’elt’ílém / Good Medicine Songs.
Thursday, September 29, 2022 @ 1pm-4pm
University of the Fraser Valley Gathering Place (45190 Caen Ave. Chilliwack, BC)
Free Event Registration: Event Brite
Chowiyes-Xwithet / Rise Up-Wake Up! will honour the shxweli (“life spirit”) of children lost to residential schools, survivors, and their families, and is dedicated to the reconciliation and revitalization of Halq’eméylem, the up-river dialect of the Stó:lō people.
This event will feature bilingual Good Medicine Songs, written in Halq’eméylem and English. The song lyrics are steeped in Sxwōxwiyám (“stories from the distant past”), and Sqwélqwel (“true family stories”). Good Medicine Songs create a unique cross-cultural space for people of all backgrounds to enjoy, learn, and sing together in Halq’eméylem.
The centrepiece of Chowiyes-Xwithet / Rise Up-Wake Up! will be a special basket ceremony that honours the importance of how baskets carry Stó:lō knowledge. Baskets are traditionally hung over the doorways and entrances of the places where the people live, learn and work.
“The University of the Fraser Valley is honoured to be presenting and hosting this unique and important event in the spirit of healing and transformation for survivors and family members, and all community members affected by the tragedies that took place at Canadian residential schools,” said Joanne MacLean, President and Vice-Chancellor of UFV.
“The basket ceremony will commemorate the presentation of a special basket from my family to the University, to be placed above the entrance of the Gathering Place,” said Dr. Lolehawk Laura Buker, professor of Indigenous Studies at the UFV and Executive Producer of Chowiyes-Xwithet/Rise Up-Wake Up!. “Let’s travel this road of reconciliation together and always have our children at the centre of health, wellness, happiness, and love.”
The Spiritual Guide for the Good Medicine Songs team is Dr. Siyamiyateliyot Elizabeth Phillips, recipient of the 2022 Indspire Award for Culture, Heritage & Spirituality. Dr. Siyamiyateliyot is the last remaining fluent speaker of Halq’eméylem and she has dedicated her life to the language. The Good Medicine Songs performers include Stó:lō language and cultural carriers T’it’elem Spath Eddie Gardner, Dr. Lolehawk Laura Buker, Xótxwes Jonny Williams, Sulisulwut Bibiana Norris, Lori Kelly (Semá:th), and Xwelitem (“other background”) singer/songwriter/musicians Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright of the Wilds Band.
“The Good Medicine Songs musical ensemble came to be through a partnership between Sqwá (“Skwah”) First Nation and the Artist Response Team (ART) to create bilingual songs that weave together ecological awareness with Stó:lō language, worldview, songs, and stories,” said Holly Arntzen, Founder, ART. “Chowiyes-Xwithet / Rise Up-Wake Up! showcases the power of song and storytelling in bringing the Halq’eméylem language and culture alive. The simple act of singing together in Halq’eméylem builds relationships amongst community members to work together for a good future.”
“Chowiyes-Xwithet / Rise Up-Wake Up! is an important event that uses the power of music to educate. BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA) and Tire Stewardship BC (TSBC) are honoured to be partnering on this event with such a talented and inspiring group of artists,” said David Lawes, CEO, BCUOMA, and Rosemary Sutton, Executive Director, TSBC, in a joint statement. “We have collectively worked with ART for the past decade, and we have seen firsthand how music and storytelling can unite people. As environmental stewardship organizations, BCUOMA and TSBC continue to look for unique ways to connect with British Columbians and inform them on the importance of recycling used oil (BCUOMA) and tires (TSBC) and protecting our lands.”
“Chowiyes-Xwithet / Rise Up-Wake Up! is a creative and beautiful opportunity to bring people together through music that inspires resilience, reconciliation, belonging, and unity,” said Lawes and Sutton. “Halq’eméylem revitalization is an important initiative. Our organizations have a commitment to support Indigenous causes in meaningful and transformative ways. We thank the University of the Fraser Valley and Good Medicine Songs for creating this powerful event that educates through music. BCUOMA and TSBC are proud to support Chowiyes-Xwithet / Rise Up-Wake Up!”