January 14th, 2021 – Elders & Knowledge Keepers: Time with Elder Xwechtaal Dennis Joseph

Join us as we sit with Elder Dennis Joseph of the Squamish Nation to chat about his life and work. In particular, we are hoping to discuss how his life as an Elder doing work in urban Indigenous communities has changed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are looking forward to receiving the teachings of our Elders and hope you will join us.

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Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2021 (PST)
Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 am

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About the Presenters:


Xwechtaal Dennis Joseph—Squamish Nation

AREAS OF PRACTICE/WORKSHOPS/GROUPS: Elders in Residence @ AH and VGH, Traditional singing and drumming, Welcomes and blessings in English and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh

Xwechtaal Dennis Joseph is an Elder from the Squamish Nation. He is a traditionally trained speaker in the Coast Salish longhouse and has facilitated numerous ceremonies, MC’d many gatherings and is a reliable community support during times of need. Xwechtaal served 28 years on his Nations Chiefs and Council, working for them a total of 40 years. Elder Dennis is able to offer prayer and welcome in both English and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh. Additionally, one of Elder Dennis’ strengths is his traditional singing and drumming, which he is able to share upon request.

Elder Dennis is passionate about the performing arts. He is an aspiring actor, actively attending various auditions. Additionally, he comes from a long line of musicians. Xwechtaal grew up with music being a passion of the household, learning various instruments throughout his adolescent years. Most recently, he has been a member of multiple musical groups, including “The Hitchhikers” duo for whom he plays the Harmonica.

Another passion of Elder Dennis’ is lacrosse. He is a five-time National Champion, with expertise in both box and field lacrosse. He has spent many years coaching at all ages and experience, contributing to the growth of the sport on the West Coast. Elder Dennis is currently on the board for the North Shore Indians Lacrosse Association. He also holds a position as Resident Elder for the non-profit organization Right to Play.

He has had many contributions to his community serving as a Cultural Liaison for many events including The Aboriginal Achievement Awards, The Vancouver XXI Winter Olympics, and Talking Stick Festival. Elder Dennis has been an active participant of the Tribal Canoe Journeys for many years, including a year of paddling and many openings and blessings. He is a co-founding member of the Squamish Nation Peacekeepers for whom he volunteered for over 25 years. Through this work he established many connections with the local RCMP and West Vancouver Police Department which resulted in his appointment to a Police Board via BC legislature at West Vancouver




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