Every Tuesday, the Squamish Welcome Centre (SWC) hosts a weekly First Nations Talking Circle.
Led by Perry Omeasoo at 8027 Cleveland Ave, the event is for everyone in the community.
Thanks to a grant from the Squamish Foundation, the event is free.
No registration is required.
Onsite childcare can be arranged in advance.
The next two evenings are tonight, Dec. 6 and 13 and run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
"You don't have to be First Nations to participate. It's open to everybody. Talking Circle is a safe place for people to share what they feel like talking about," Omeasoo told The Squamish Chief.
Topics can get heavy, or not. It is whatever people feel comfortable sharing, he added.
The format is that attendees sit in a circle; Omeasoo will perform a smudge, which involves burning sage or sweet grass. This is a sacred cleansing and purification ceremony.
"We believe we pick up negative energies around. Whether it be [an] angry person walking by us or somebody on the bus, you know, having a difficult time," he said, adding that the ceremony is an opportunity to brush that negativity off.
Omeasoo — who is Cree from Samson Cree Nation, one of the four nations in Maskwacis, Alta. — will share a cultural teaching, such as why the attendees are put into a circle.
That is because everyone is equal in a circle, he added.
He is the counsellor and facilitator, but no one is above anyone else in the group.
He has also brought in guest speakers.
He said the folks who have come out to the evenings have stayed in touch and seem to enjoy it and the connections within community that it fosters.
Those interested can just show up at the event, or call Omeasoo for more information: 604-306-74747.