First Stop on the Spirit-Catching Train

by on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 5583 hits Comments
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Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, Vancouver City

After spending the morning sightseeing around Vancouver City, at the Queen Elizabeth Park, Chinatown and the pinnacle of western welfare states in action at less well-to-do end of East Hastings, we then moved on to the first major cultural exchange in our trip. Stanley Park covers 400 hectares of evergreen land close to downtown Vancouver. During the summer months from May to September the Vancouver Park Board has transformed a part of Stanley Park into an Aboriginal summer village, the Klahowya Village Park, a vibrant cultural experience of song, dance, art and cuisine. They offer storytelling, spirit catching train rides, two daily dance performances, Aboriginal cuisine and daily cultural tours including specific ‘Nations days’. There are also crafts, with artisans working on-site doing woodcarving and weaving, which you can have a go at making yourself or buy from their store. This setup was particularly relevant to the Taiwanese students exploring cultural enterprise as a way of reaching financial autonomy, a necessary condition of long-term political autonomy. We hoped to take this opportunity to understand how Klahowya village uses ecological tourism and cultural enterprise to initiate cultural revival and also provide jobs for local aborigines, in a way that is respectful to their traditions and people.

"We began our journey at Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, where we witnessed the collaboration between the First Nations and the government on a cultural enterprise project of sustainable management and promotion. From May to September every year, Klahowya Village becomes a small tribe with the aims of cultural preservation and promotion. We were lucky to experience one of their exorcism ceremonies, a village train ride and to take part in a traditional dance dialogue. The exorcism ceremony, in which ash and leaves are waved over the body, was very similar to that of the Amis’ culture."
Ibu Isliduan (Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication, National Dong Hwa University, Bunon Nation)

"Not being able to say “No” to others is a weakness. We compromise easily, thus our life, studies and even culture are taken advantage of by others. In Klahowya Village, after an elder shared his music and dance, one journalist came to ask him to do it again. He refused and said, “Culture is not a tool of marketing nor consumption, is our dignity.”"
Takun Neka (Department of Public Affairs, Ming Chuan University, Atayal Nation)

For readers in Mainland China:

Video filmed by Cerise Phiv and Diane Chen, edited by Cerise Phiv and Nick Coulson, subtitled by Yen-ching Chu

Photo courtesy of Laurent Vu-The

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:33
Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Former Managing Editor of eRenlai.com

前e人籟執行主編

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