Sunday, Sept. 27 is World Rivers Day as well as the last day of Quesnel’s three-day Culture Days celebrations.
To honour both culture and rivers, Danielea Castell, eco-artist and sound healer and creator of the Bank of Gratitude Project has organized the second annual event in Ceal Tingley Park at the confluence of two mighty rivers, the Fraser and the Quesnel Rivers, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. for adults and 12 – 2 p.m. for family celebrations including children’s activities and bannock.
Quesnel’s event is hosted by Holli Garvin, Aboriginal Resource Teacher with School District 28 and Lita Conlin, mother, compost connoisseur and WildSafe BC coordinator. Castell has also organized events in Likely and Tete Jaune and the biggest event in Prince George where she will be hosting.
“The Bank of Gratitude has a simple premise – sit with your local river, give thanks and then make any form of art to commemorate your experience,” Castell said.
This summer, Castell pursued her own water pilgrimage to the Peace River.
“I had the privilege of paddling a kayak on the Peace River as part of the 10th anniversary of Paddle for the Peace in July and felt a strong connection with that mighty river so I decided to spend a week camping beside the Peace River to get to know it, get to know the spirit and character,” she said.
“I went on that journey with my water gratitude project colleague Helen Styles. We collaborated with two other artists Garry Oker, former chief of Doig First Nations and Shelley Mowat to offer improvised gratitude songs to the Peace River. A group painting was created immediately following the event which captures the strength, beauty and spirit of the sound-weaving ceremony.”
The Quesnel event invites adults to the morning session where opening ceremonies with songs and prayers will be led by Holli Garvin followed by personal time on the riverbank for gratitude and art making. You are asked to bring your own art supplies and something to sit on.
At noon family time begins where children’s gratitude crafts including rock painting and beading of a tap bracelet to take home and honour your home water. Materials are supplied for these free craft activities. There will also be cinnamon/sugar bannock bites.
Danielea Castell, Lita Conlin and Holli Garvin gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship of the Baker Creek Enhancement Society and the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans for this event.
“Every river and every time you spend time heart to heart with a river is time well spent and an excellent form of river stewardship,” Castell said.
“Get to know your river, spiritually and emotionally.
“Focusing on my love and gratitude for water sustains me in my water work.”
She added a version of Bank of Gratitude can be done anywhere, anytime with any water and she encourages people to express their gratitude to water whenever the opportunity presents itself.
For information check out Facebook for event pages.