lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers
The Story of the Lək̓ʷəŋən Traditional Dancers as told by Lyla Dick
Back in 1978, late uncle Ray Peter from the Cowichan tribe started the dance group at the friendship centre along with our late father Jim and late Bob Malcom and uncles Butch and Skip Dick. He taught us the songs we use today and still sing them the way he did.
That group stayed together for about 5 years and then stopped. Our Dad and Mom didn’t want it to stop so they brought it home to here and started teaching some of our family around here. It was then that late Flora Joseph gave mom and dad the Paddle Welcome song.
After dad passed in 1999, Mom (Bernadette) wanted us to keep going on with the group because it was important to her and Dad to keep it breathing and alive. So today, under Mommas guidance, we (Lyla and Beth) keep the group going strong over the last few years. With many performances like the recent Royal Tour, we’ve been able to perform for the Queen as well when she was here a few years back and other government officials along with schools at all levels and festivals.
There are about 25 in our group when we are all together, the youngest being Baby Jesse at 8 and Momma being our oldest going to be 79 this year, truly blessed we are to have her along with all the amazing kids.
The group is highly sought after to represent the Lək̓ʷəŋən people at significant events throughout the region. They have performed to welcome visiting royalty, the Lieutenant Governor and the Prime Minister, Mayor and Councils and many others. One of their favourite performances is to greet Indigenous people from around the world.