Gabriola Arts Council

The Gabriola Arts Council is breaking out a new series of events this year. Next month we will introduce the first in a series of events with Gabriola’s own Katherine Palmer Gordon, noted lawyer and author, as well as; Bill Yoachim, Snuneymuxw member, recently re-elected Snuneymuxw Councillor and Executive Director of Kwumut Lelum Child & Family Services. Topics of discussion will include strengthening relationships, creating respectful allyships, increasing understanding, and amplifying Indigenous voices.

This is particularly exciting as many in this community have taken a proactive role in learning more about and acknowledging the territory of the Snuneymuxw Nation in whose unceded territory we live. It is hoped that the Breaking Bannock Speaker Series will offer further opportunities to gather this knowledge in an environment that encourages ongoing respectful dialogue in a welcoming way. In essence, this Speaker’s Series is an opportunity to add action to the framework the land acknowledgement provides.

We are calling the series Breaking Bannock; akin to the phrase “breaking bread together.”

Bannock was originally made from dried camas bulbs and other plants.

However, since colonization, modern bannock introduced from Europeans made from wheat flour has been embraced throughout Indigenous communities in North America. Breaking Bannock seeks to marry these two ideas and create a safe place for our community to ask questions, share ideas, and help each other create greater understanding. And for the sheer enjoyment of it, to break bannock.  

The Arts Council has previously laid the groundwork for this initiative with our One Book, One Community event as part of the Isle of the Arts. Building on that success and much anticipated event, we are lining up a series of well known authors and speakers from a variety of backgrounds who will enhance the learning environment on important topics including residential school history and survivors, missing and murdered Indigenous women, reconciliation and decolonizing our everyday world. Those who attended Heather Menzies’ book launch last November heard the first public announcement of the program and tasted the first of the Bannock made by Lorna Johnny, a Snuneymuxw member.

Ardyth Cooper, an Arts Council Board member, shared her enthusiasm for the series. “I am thrilled with the positive feedback, the enthusiasm and the curiosity Gabriolans share about wanting to learn more, to do more. Here is an opportunity to start that learning. Baby steps, the chance to talk to your neighbour, try out an idea, test out a long held question you have shyly held in reserve. Baby steps.”

Save the date! Our first event is to be held at Gabriola Fellowship Church, 775 Church Street with speakers commencing at 6 pm on February 13, 2024. But come early – at 5:30 pm – to Break Bannock! Come and share discussion and bannock as a community.

We ask that anyone who wants to attend let us know by registering in advance through the Gabriola Arts Council at The cost to attend is $10, payment at the door, or donate what you can. We are grateful for the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage in enabling this program.

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