On 26 September 2022, Indigenous Cultural Programmer Tsawaysia Spukwus (Alice Guss) invited participants from local cultural institutions to MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver (115 West Esplanade) to purchase and assemble drums for Lytton First Nation.
A Community Impacted By Climate Change
As a direct result of the climate emergency, Lytton First Nation has been devastated by two major fires and a flood over recent years and has lost many homes.
On 30 June 2021, the Lytton Creek Fire, triggered by a heatwave that covered much of western North America, swept through the community and destroyed the town of Lytton and a number of Indigenous communities in the area. The fire was believed to be caused by a CN Rail train passing through the area in the extreme heat.
Where The Rivers Cross
The Lytton area has been inhabited by Indigenous peoples for over 10,000 years. The largest of all Nlaka’pamux bands, Lytton First Nation reserves are located at the site of the Indigenous community of Kumsheen, meaning “where the rivers cross”.
Geographically located along the Trans-Canada Highway, between the towns of Hope and Cache Creek, Lytton First Nation is located on 14,161 acres of land divided into 56 reserves. Reserves are scattered along a 100 kilometre radius on both sides of the Fraser River.
A Gesture of Goodwill
Seeking a way to support the beleaguered community, Indigenous Cultural Programmer Tsawaysia Spukwus invited members of the cultural community including Museum of Vancouver, Audain Art Museum, North Vancouver Recreation & Culture, City of North Vancouver, North Van Arts, Port Moody Station Museum, Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre as well as Squamish Valley elders to MONOVA to purchase and assemble drums to gift to Lytton First Nation members.
“The Creator has given each and everyone of us a gift and it is not a gift unless we share it. Lytton has had a really hard time over the last few years, and I wanted a way to support them,” added Tsawaysia Spukwus. “The beauty and power of these drums will empower Nlak’apamux peoples – every time they beat the drum, they are keeping the Spirit Alive. The heartbeat of the drum is strong medicine that will help their community heal through song and dance.”
Ceremony to Gift Drums
On 3 October 2022, Lytton First Nation members William Dreaver and Lyle Jones travelled to the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Səl̓ílwətaɬ Territories (North Vancouver) to receive the drums in a special ceremony hosted by Tsawaysia Spukwus and the MONOVA team.
William Dreaver and Lyle Jones were gifted with wool weavings and cottonwood bud and yarrow salves created through MONOVA’s Indigenous programming. They were also wrapped in blankets to represent the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaɬ and North Vancouver communities. The blankets represent, in the words of Tsawaysia Spukwus, “love, hugs and happy thoughts to the whole community of Lytton.”
“MONOVA is proud to play a role in supporting and enriching the relationship between the Coast Salish and Nlak’apamux peoples of Lytton First Nation,” added Acting Director Laurel Lawry. “We’re pleased to support Tsawaysia’s thoughtful initiative and are committed to doing what we can to support the recovery of Lytton First Nation.”
The drums will be distributed to impacted community members in a ceremony planned in Lytton in the coming weeks.
Coast Salish programming is generously supported by BMO Financial Group.
We rely on contributions, monthly or one-time gifts, to help MONOVA safeguard and expand our community’s archival and museum collections, build learning experiences and inspire future generations.
Donations are accepted through the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society, Registered Charity No. 89031 1772 RR0001.
We respectfully acknowledge that MONOVA: Museum and Archives of North Vancouver is located on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, whose ancestors have lived here for countless generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work and learn with them on unceded Coast Salish Territory.