September 21, 2019

RainForest Trail Festival will feature a quartet of outstanding Indigenous performers.

Following the 5k run/walk through the urban rainforest held on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people- Tseil-Waututh, Musqueam, Squamish, Qayqayt and Kwikwetlem in Central Park, Burnaby, BC, the plans for the Inaugural Rainforest Trail Festival are featuring a quartet of outstanding Indigenous performers.  

Coastal Wolfpack

The Welcoming Ceremonies will kick off the festival program at 10:45am with Tsatsu Stalqaya or Coastal Wolfpack.  According to dancer Francis James,, the name translates directly as, “Beach Wolves, because our language has no word for coast or coastal.. Our group is based out of Musqueam. We’re all family or married into family, but, we’re not just Musqueam. Our root families are Musqueam, Squamish, Lil'wat, Sto:lo, Saanich, Nanaimo, Okanagan, Dene, Yakama, Tsleil-Waututh,” James says.

James said: “Some of our dances relate to some of our traditional stories of how our people were before contact. One of them would be the story of look-out men or runners; they would be like somebody that stood guard at the farthest part of our territories and run messages from tribe to tribe inviting them for ceremonies or some sort.  So, we pay respect to that, someone almost all up and down the coast they would have that role before contact.” The Coast Wolf Pack gives a sense of pride and brings belonging to the Coast Salish territories with their multigenerational performances.

Miss Christie Lee

At 11:15am Christie Lee Charles, aka Miss Christie Lee, a direct decedent of the great warrior Capilano will perform. Christie raps in her Indigenous Musqueam dialect with a passion to empower Aboriginal youth to be proud of their roots. In 2018 she was named Vancouver’s first Indigenous poet laureate. Charles has family ties to both the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations as well. She fills the laureate post until 2020 and will be tasked with bringing ancient stories spanning those cultures to life through poetry, music, storytelling and other avenues.  

Miss Christie Lee said “The way we tell our stories and share our words is a way that we can connect our experiences as First Nations people of the land through stories and poems and songs,” she said. “That’s what we’ve been doing since time immemorial, for thousands and thousands of years.”

Growing up in a world of music, her focus has been hip hop—namely rap—and, as an emcee, she incorporates her traditional knowledge, stories and ancient Musqueam dialect.

She is a storyteller, coastal hand drum singer, filmmaker and a speaker for her ancestors. Her goal is to empower and reconnect spirits to who we truly are as first peoples of the lands.

Shyama-Priya

At 11:30am The Wild Moccasin Dancers, a dynamic duo that displays the beauty and vibrancy of pow wow culture through dance will follow Miss Christie Lee. They engage the audience and encourage participation. Led by Shyama-Priya who is an accomplished pow wow dancer, the Wild Moccasin Dancers have performed at various events from local to International, for over 20 years including the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.  Her passions include health and wellness through diet and she also practices Yoga. Shyama-Priya enjoys continuing to  share what she was taught by Coast Salish pow wow dancer Curtis Joe.

Shyama-Priya began dancing as a teen, and was extremely shy of public speaking until she started sharing the gift of dance. She said “Dancing is a gift to your spirit, it is a gift to others. Dance is a way to express your inner being.”

Beatrice Love

At 11:45am Beatrice Love will conclude the Rainforest Trail Festival. Cree Rhythm & Blues singer out of Sturgeon Lake, Alberta, is stepping into the music scene with a soulful voice and just as powerful determination. Beatrice Love is a proud mother of three and also an emerging artist taking the scene by storm with her strong soulful voice and character. Now hitting the Top 40 charts around the country, Beatrice is aiming to break into the mainstream whilst breaking boundaries as an Indigenous woman in the music industry. Beatrice said “I want to break some boundaries as a native woman with hitting mainstream radio. I want to represent for Aboriginals because I am.”

Package pickup starts at 8am to 9:30pm for 10am start in Swangard Stadium for the 5k run/walk through the urban rainforest trails of Central Park on Burnaby.

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