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Indigenous Peoples Day

Indigenous Peoples Day at DEWC

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations (June 21st) at the drop-in centre and helped to make it such a special day.

Programming at our drop-in centre featured a prayer from Elder Rita Blind, drumming by the Wildflower, Women of Turtle Island Drum Group, a poem by Dalannah Bowen, a presentation of the new mural by artists Suna Galay, Lydia Brown, and Qristine Hrvatin, and a special lunch.

We are grateful for the time, energy, and efforts of all involved, and for the women who joined us to witness and celebrate this day.

Mural Project

The new window mural, created in honour of Indigenous Peoples Day, was created by artist Suna Galay, with assistance from artists Lydia Brown, Qristine Hrvatin, and women of the Centre.

Artist Biography: Suna Galay

Sunkosi Maya Maria / Suna is a visual and performing artist of mixed Indigenous and European descent (Denésuline-Métis, Tamang-Nepalese, Ukrainian and German) born on the unceded ancestral territories of the S?wx?wú7mesh, S?l?ílw?ta?, and x?m??k??y??m Nations of
Turtle Island.

After studying painting and sculpture at Emily Carr University, she began exploring the performing arts worlds of clown and grotowski with teacher David MacMurray Smith.

Her arts practice began with an examination of cultural identity, expanding into an exploration of the human spirit’s inherent fluidity, and continuing its evolution into an embodied decolonization of her own body and mind.

Through the performing arts Suna found her North Stars to be within the body as pedagogy, and art as ceremony. Her intention is to engage with sovereignty through reclamation; to be together in remembering our languages, the raw power in the movement of our emotions, and our unbroken ancestral ties to the mystery.

She continues to engage with the transformative nature of life and death through hide tanning, currently working with the bodies and spirits of deer and buffalo.

Freedom + Protection: Mural Description

Words and description written by Suna Galay

“The Freedom + Protection mural painted for International Indigenous Peoples Day at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre was inspired by the strength and protection through which every woman is born: the blessings of 7 generations of Grandmothers who came before

When a woman is pregnant with a daughter, the growing fetus inside her is already carrying the egg which will later become her granddaughter. It is in the body of our Grandmothers that we begin taking shape. The women stand on a turtle’s back, which is our original Mother Earth.
The gift and wisdom of womanhood comes through Grandmother Moon, as it is through our monthly moontime that we are able to bring forth life into this world.

While I designed most of the mural beforehand, it became a collaboration with the community. Two Indigenous aunties walking by suggested we add an eagle flying above the Grandmothers, and Lydia Brown, a Snuneymuxw First Nation artist painting alongside me, envisioned it
crystal clear and laid it so beautifully into the sky. Now that the image is complete, we cannot imagine it without the Eagle soaring above, carrying the Freedom spirit for the women.”


Thank you to the team at Drawing Change for helping us bring the mural project to life.

Thank you to Megan who supported our meal at our shelter location, supplied by Mr. Bannock, and thank you to Erich Saide, who captured special moments from the day’s events.