Sidney Museum’s upcoming exhibition on Chief Dan George seems to have caught the imagination, with so much interest being shown, the opening ceremony jumped from a planned 15 minutes to over an hour.
Opening on National Indigenous Peoples Day, the exhibit Chief Dan George: Actor and Activist is set to run from June 21 to Sept. 30.
Tsleil-Waututh Chief Dan George (1899- 1981) was an Indigenous rights advocate and actor.
The exhibition was developed by the North Vancouver Museum, in close collaboration with the George family, and was last shown at U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay.
As well as being a First Nations leader, George worked as a longshoreman and logger before finding acting in his 60s. He appeared in numerous television, film and stage productions, in which he worked to promote a better understanding of Indigenous people.
Museum staff say that although focused on George, the exhibition also looks into important events and profiles significant individuals in the Indigenous rights movement.
Sidney Museum exhibit organizers initially intended to welcome elders from local First Nations to preside over a low-key opening ceremony on June 21, but due to a flurry of interest, this has now been significantly expanded.
Executive Director, Peter Garnham says at 10 a.m., the museum will host elders from Tsartlip First Nation offering welcomes and prayers, and Tsartlip drummers and singers.
The four Peninsula mayors and Green Party leader Elizabeth May will also be in attendance. One lane of Beacon Avenue is likely to be closed to safely facilitate the expanded audience.
Garnham says he is pleased the museum can host the exhibit celebrating George’s life and work.
“The most exciting thing is to have the Indigenous drums and songs reverberating through the buildings in the heart of Sidney,” he says.
Sidney Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.
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