Delta’s Rosemary Georgeson is one of the co-writers of a new play being released on May 17 about First Nations’ lives. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Indigenous Delta playwright weaves story of reconciliation

Rosemary Georgeson’s Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way plays in Vancouver May 17-19 and 24-26

Delta playwright Rosemary Georgeson doesn’t have to look far for stories.

“It’s all right there,” the 60-year-old First Nations woman said. “We all carry them.”

Some of Georgeson’s stories are now making their way to the Vancouver stage, through the play Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way, which Georgeson co-wrote with fellow artists Savannah Walling and Renae Morriseau.

“I’m just sitting here thinking, what good are these stories if they sit in the back of you head and just kind of roll over and over. Let them go,” she said. “And as a playwright, sometimes that’s a good place to keep these stories you don’t need to carry any more.”

The play had its roots in another project of Georgeson’s, Storyweaving, which in turn had its roots in a community theatre play back in 2003.

“It’s always been there, I think, for as long as I can remember,” Georgeson said about the play’s story. “Storyweaving was the beginning of this particular piece. But that was just a bigger, broader look at some of our issues, our stories.”

Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way is taking a look back at Storyweaving and the story of a family that’s impacted by everything you hear in the media,” she continued.

The play focuses on the story of Old One, a father who is working to reconcile with himself, his family and his community. He is a residential school survivor, and a commercial fisherman. His daughter, Nicole, is working in the Downtown Eastside to help families find their missing loved ones. Her mother is one of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.

“It’s a typical story, really,” Georgeson said. “It’s a generic story of our people.”

Some of those stories came from her own childhood on Galiano Island, where her father was a commercial fisherman. Once, when she was five, she remembers going with her father to nearby Kuper Island, where a residential school operated until the mid-1970s.

“Being a child and not knowing at the time what it was, and where we were tied up over in Kuper,” she remembered. “Staying in the boat and just looking at that big ugly building. That was one of the stories, you know.”

Throughout the rehearsal process, Georgeson worked with the actors on the fishing scenes, providing support and consultation. But not everything in the play is rehearsed.

During its Vancouver shows, Weaving Reconciliation: Our Story will feature performances by local youth from the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations.

The youth will interact with Trickster, bringing humour and personal stories into the play. It’s an important role for the next generation, in Georgeson’s eyes.

“That’s what this is for,” she said about the play, “to build some understanding … and knock down some of the fears of who we all are.

“In light of all the things that have happened in Canada in the last two years, I think we need a lot more understanding,” she continued, referencing trials for victims Colten Boushie, an Indigenous teen who died in a Saskatchewan shooting, and Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old who was found dead in Winnipeg’s Red River. The accused in both cases were found not guilty.

“Ignorance breeds fear. And fear is the basis of racism,” Georgeson said. “So not knowing who each other is, it’s just going to keep perpetuating this crap.”

That is why Georgeson hopes youth will come to the play: to learn about First Nations stories and get a better understanding of what reconciliation can be.

“As First Nations people, we’ve always been reconciling,” she said. “The government keeps throwing words at us, we’ve been getting words that are trendy. But Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way is looking at it through our eyes … Here we are on the ground and we’re looking at it through our eyes. And that’s what this show is.”

Weaving Reconciliation: Our Story is showing at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Vancouver (1607 E. Hastings St., Vancouver) May 17-19 and 24-26. Doors open at 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Tickets will be sold at the door.



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Quick action likely saved White Rock man

South Surrey’s Patrick Storoshenko was there to help, when nobody else was

International company opens new facility in South Surrey

DSV is one of the world’s largest suppliers of transport and logistics services

B.C. Ferries cancels Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen sailings over propulsion problem

11:00 ferry now good to go, but lines anticipated

Potential scam averted

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley woman received suspicious call

Surrey council to consider $357-million parks and rec plan, including 29 new parks

The 10-year draft plan includes two new athletic parks, new ‘urban’ parks in Newton, Guildford and Fleetwood Town Centres

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

Most Read

l -->