The Burnaby campus community was treated to the sights, sounds and tastes of Indigenous culture during the second annual SFU Indigenous Day in September. Organized and hosted by the First Nations Student Association (FNSA), the event featured twice as many performers and artists as last year, many of them from across Turtle Island (North America), and attracted a large audience. Headlining performers were award-winning Aboriginal hip hop artist and motivational speaker K.A.S.P, the internationally renowned Git Hayetsk: People of the Copper Shield, and recording artist Kristi Lane Sinclair. In all there were 10 performing groups, three musicians, a DJ and a rap artist. As well, 28 artists showcased their work, including painter Brandon Gabriel, who is an Indigenous arts instructor with the University of the Fraser Valley, and jewelry designer Rory Dawson. More than 600 visitors made dream catchers at a free workshop, while others participated in an Elders’ talking circle, listened and watched performers, and feasted on bannock tacos and traditional teas.
Sponsors included SFU’s Office for Aboriginal Peoples, SFU Radio Station CJSF 90.1, and the Simon Fraser Student Society. This year, event organizer Laura Forsythe invited local school districts to bring their students to campus to learn more about Aboriginal culture. Students from seven school districts, three universities and three colleges attended. “It has been a real honour to organize an event that shares our culture with the SFU community,” says Forsythe. “It is through this type of reconciliation that we here at SFU can do our part to open our hearts and minds for real change in academia, but ultimately it begins with introducing ourselves and our culture to the SFU community.”