Multimedia storytelling at KPU event explores residential school legacy

Wed, Mar 19, 2014

Richmond, B.C. - This Friday, the 'Teaching and Learning for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation' project at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will host a public education symposium about Canada’s residential school system.

The event, hosted at KPU Richmond’s Melville Centre for Dialogue, will feature panel discussions, speakers and a local artist’s multimedia storytelling of a classic Coast Salish story, told as an allegory that explores the legacy of residential schools.

The presentation of Qwalena: the Wild Woman Who Steals Children by artist Dallas Yellowfly is part of a faculty and student project that, since 2010, has aimed to generate awareness about historical and ongoing colonial policies.

“Through this project, students engage in meaningful social action by helping to organize an event that brings diverse members of the community together, and makes indigenous knowledge and experience central to our understanding of who we are as Canadians,” says Seema Ahluwalia, the KPU sociology instructor who initiated the project. “Students develop important research, teamwork and global citizenship skills in the process of empowering themselves by acting on social justice issues with compassion, commitment and leadership.”

The event will include an opening invocation from Musqueam First Nation’s Cecilia Point, an interactive discussion with Yellowfly, a round dance and a panel discussion featuring elders, ceremonialists and scholars: all survivors of residential schools.

Speakers will include Cyril Pierre of the Katzie First Nation; journalist and broadcaster Gunargie O’Sullivan; Carl Boneshirt, Sicangu Lakota, and; Tamara Starblanket from Native Education College.

WHERE: Melville Centre for Dialogue, KPU Richmond, 8771 Lansdowne Road

WHEN: Friday March 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

INFO: The event is free, open to the public and includes lunch

The event is sponsored by KPU’s department of sociology, faculty of arts and Aboriginal Gathering Place.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 145 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Learn more at


Media contacts:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883

Seema Ahluwalia
Department of Sociology
t: 604.599.2631

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