Expressions of Reclamation

Curated by ACNW Indigenous Curator S^yowah, the Arts Council of New Westminster is delighted to announce the second series of Expressions of Reclamation in June 2022! Join us for an opportunity to learn from professional Indigenous artists and be inspired by their stories and diverse teachings!

Expressions of Reclamation is a series of free artist showcase events that provide a safe and welcoming space for the community to learn about Indigenous practices and creative expressions. A short Q&A session follows each presentation.

All in-person events take place in Queen’s Park. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for in-person events. Check-in at the Gallery/Centennial Lodge that day for directions to the event. 

If you have trouble registering, please email


June 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm | Queen’s Park Bandshell

Olivia C. Davies  Dance Performance and Live-Interview

O.Dela Arts / Matriarchs Uprising presents Jeanette Kotowich and Emily Solstice in this special presentation for Expressions of Reclamation. Olivia C. Davies of O.Dela Arts will accompany the dance artists in a circle conversation that follows the dance offerings.

Steppin’ (10mins) is an energetic contemporary Métis jig solo, conceived and created by Jeanette Kotowich in 2015, with sound design by Wayne Lavallee with guest Métis fiddler JJ Lavallee. This piece has been performed more than 50 times all across turtle island. Driven by the fiddle’s undeniable force, the impulse for movement is sparked like a flint that ignites fire. The jig and fancy steps rebound off the earth, propelled in the direction of spirit, like a horse running in the wild. This act is a celebration of the joy of movement, healing in dance, significance of heritage and love of Métis culture.

Groove Improvisation (5mins) an improvised duet score sourced from Jeanette’s current creative research, for Emily and Jeanette, and for YOU! 

June 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Queen’s Park Totem Pole, Centennial Lod

Cheryl Wadhams  Talk about the Kwakwa̲ka̲’wakw Totem Poles and her uncle, Lloyd Wadhams Sr, carver of the pole

June 26 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | Queen’s Park Bandshell

The Spiritual Warriors  Live Music Performance     

About our Indigenous Curator, S^yowah

Shekoli! (Greetings in Oneida)

S^yowah (Son/yo/wah), is a proud member of the Onyota’aka (Oneida of the Thames First Nation) Nation. He is from a specific Bear Clan family. S^yowah is the Director of Buffalo Heart Medicine Healing Society located in the Beautiful city of New Westminster BC, Canada.

S^yowah would like to acknowledge that he is a visitor and a guest on the unceded territories of the Halkomelem-speaking people. With much love and respect, he is grateful for this opportunity to be here.

S^yowah has been a Teacher, Storyteller from the time he could speak and read. He has fallen in love with the teachings and lessons that are taught within each legend and story that has been passed down from generation to generation. He would like to thank the listeners for participating in Reconciliation. S^yowah believes that in order to resolve the conflicts and issues between Indigenous Peoples and Canadians we need to COMMUNICATE, listen, forgive, love and work together as one to rebuild the relationships and relearn to cooperate with each other again. Through his stories and legends, S^yowah believes the gifts of knowledge are there for all Humans and of the creations on this earth.

In the traditional words of S^yowah’s people: Yaw^ko ne Eso:Kunolunkwah swahkwako!! ( All of you are a great medicine to me/ I have love for you and I thank you very much).

2022 Artist Biographies

Olivia C. Davies

Olivia C. Davies is a Canadian Contemporary Indigenous dance artist who creates and collaborates across multiple platforms including choreography, curation, conversation, film, and sound design to share stories that open new ways to experience the world. Davies’ body of work spans three decades with creations and collaborations that explore the emotional and political relationships between people and places, often investigating the body’s dynamic ability to transmit narrative, blood memory, and a neo-traditional Indigenous perspective. In 2018, she founded O.Dela Arts and Matriarchs Uprising Festival. She honours her mixed-blood ancestry as an Algonquin Anishinaabe-Kwe with French-Canadian, Finnish and Welsh heritage.

Jeanette Kotowich 

Jeanette Kotowich is a multi-disciplinary iskwêw, independent dance artist, creator, choreographer and professional Auntie of Nêhiyaw Métis and mixed settler ancestry. Originally from Treaty 4 territory Saskatchewan, she creates work that reflects Nêhiyaw/Métis cosmology within the context of contemporary dance, Indigenous performance, and Indigenous futurism. Fusing interdisciplinary collaboration, de-colonial practices and embodied research methodologies; Jeanette’s work references protocol, ritual, relationship to the natural/spirit world and Ancestral knowledge. Her practice is intergenerational and vocational; it’s a living and lived experience. Jeanette resides as a guest on the Ancestral and unceded Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) əl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territories, colonially known as Vancouver.

Emily Solstice Tait

Emily Solstice Tait is a contemporary dance artist whose work often crosses into theatre and film. She is of mixed settlers and of Anishinabe descent ( an urban member of Berens River First Nation) living in Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg). Her dances have been performed at The Manitoba Museum, the traditional meeting place of The Forks National Historic Site, and along the shores of Lake Winnipeg.

Cheryl Wadhams

Cheryl (Kakaso’las) Wadhams is of the Maʼa̱mtagila Tribe with strong family ties to the ʼNa̱mǥis of Alert Bay (‘Yalis) and Mama̱liliḵa̱la Tribe of Village Island (ʼMimkwamlis) which are three of 19 tribes on the Mid-Northwest Coast of BC, all of which are located in the traditional territory known as the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. Growing up she watched her uncle Lloyd carve totem poles, masks, bowls and jewelry in his home based studio in Coquitlam. As a female native wood carver, Wadhams carved under the guidance of her mentors and late Uncles, Lloyd Wadhams Sr, Don Dawson and Dennis Matilpi. Not only Wadhams specializes in miniature feast bowls, rattles and masks depicted in animal, spiritual and human forms that are representative of the Kwakwaka’wakw style, but also she is working on other mediums like textiles and cedar bark, making traditional regalia like button blankets, aprons and cedar bark headdresses. Wadhams continues to mix family, culture and education into her life, which lends to continued growth and understanding of herself, her people and where she comes from.

The Spiritual Warriors

The internationally acclaimed music group, The Spiritual Warriors, create music inspired by the land and life in the coast mountains of the Lil’wat Nation. With their unique blend of indigenous chants and contemporary roots, rock, reggae, the Spiritual Warriors are distinctly west coast.

The band perform most of their songs in Ucwalmícwts and are passionate about preserving and promoting their language and culture. The uplifting reggae rhythm only underlines the beautiful harmonizing of the vocals sung bilingually in English and Ucwalmícwts the Lil’wat language. The Spiritual Warriors, formerly known as Kalan Wi, are led by father and daughter, Leroy(vocals, guitar) and Daisy Joe(vocals) and accompanied by Richard Doucet with his infectious djembe beats. The backbone is laid down by Mike Roe(bass) of Jamaican heritage. The band regularly collaborates with other first nation artist and musicians to write and perform live. Ancestors, their debut album was released in 2019 and has received 4 nominations at the Native American Music Awards in New York and won for Best World Recording. This truly unique band will take you on cultural journey to the natural heartbeat of the Indigenous drum and the St’at’imc people.

The 2022 Expressions of Reclamation is supported by the Hamber Foundation