Storyscapes Chinatown premieres on Saturday
– check out my “Creation Story”
I am part of 23 story tellers gathered to share stories of interactions between Chinese and First Nations people in Vancouver.
Check out Storyscapes Chinatown exhibition during
the Chinese Cultural Centre's Arts and Cultural festival held on July
8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. The exhibition will be in the courtyard of
the Centre (50 West Pender), as well as on the corner of Pender and
Carall. Please spread the word! An invitation to the exhibition will
follow next week.
My contribution is a Creation story that I learned in one of my many meetings with First Nations people. I have travelled up up and down both sides of Vancouver Island, from Kyuquot Sound to Alert Bay. I have also travelled to Haida Gwaii, Mount Currie, Tsawassen, and the Okanagan and and talked with many people about interactions between Chinese and First Nations peoples. My cousin Rhonda Larrabee, is Chief of Qayqayt First Nations (New Westminster) Band.
Storyscapes Chinatown is a partnership between
KAYA (Knowledgable Aboriginal Youth Association) and the City Of
Vancouver, working with the Musqueam Indian Band, Vancouver Chinatown
Revitalization Committee (VCRC) and diverse community reps.
I shared a creation story, about why First
Nations and Chinese peoples are born with blue spots on the
bottoms. It is called a Mongolian spot, or Mongolian Birthmark.
My story relates to how the two cultures believe that their real home
is the spirit world, and the physical world is full of lessons, and
I introduced my story this way:
talking with Louis [Schmidt] (first nations WW2 veteran) – and unfortunately, it sounds like a lot of
the First Nations people and the Chinese people came together because
they sought refuge from white people. After the railway was built, a lot of Chinese people were taken in by First Nations villages. There was lots of
discrimination in those old days. And even today, I think it’s terrible that we come
together, sometimes, and we talk about white people.
But, you know, we
understand. And I think that’s part of it, that there’s a sense of
community and understanding. And just want to share some literary
references with you. In Sky Lee’s book, “Disappearing
Moon Café,” she wrote about a First Nations woman marrying a Chinese
man. Also in Naomi’s Road by Joy Kogawa – her children's version of her novel “Obasan.” There’s a story of a First Nations man named Roughlock Bill, who met the
Japanese people that were sent up to the Okanagan and “evacuated” away
from the coast.
Here is a version of my Creation Story:
A Creation story is about how we come into being. How we were born from spirit and became physical. The physical world we are living in right now is where we do the learning for our spiritual development physical time being.
But it can be very challenging. There’s a lot of hardship in this physical world – lots of discrimination, a lot of racism. We know that if we wanted a nice perfect life we wouldn’t come into this physical world. We wouldn’t want to be born. We would want to stay in the spiritual world because this that is our true home. It is where we are most happy.
What we recognize as Asian and First Nations people that this is what we still have to come out, but to and it’s tough to be born come into this physical world. It is so tough that sometimes we have to be kicked out.
We have to get kicked out.
And that is a true story, because when you were born, if you were are Asian or First Nations, You you were born with have blue spots on your body. And This is a story about the creation story about the Mongolian birthmark. You find it on Asian children. You find it on First Nations children. But the true story of why we have blue spots, and that we recognize is that we come from the spiritual world and have to be kicked out in order to get born.
– Todd Wong