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Qekiyeksut (The Boy Who Will Wander) pays homage to the traditional name that has influenced the growth of three generations. Using music and spoken word, Qekiyeksut tells the story of identity in the neighbourhood of what is now known as Mount Pleasant.
The Boy Who Will Wander is a name given to my dad who passed the name onto me and I then passed it on to my eldest son. All three of us were born in different places and even in different countries but found that we all lived and wandered the Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver in different stages of our lives. This recording recounts the origin of our name and then lets it reverberate between the glass buildings of Vancouver.
My name is Qekiyeksut, the Boy Who Will Wander The Woods, That No One Will Care For. This name belongs to my father and also to my eldest son. The name was passed on through the generations in ceremonies back in our home community in Whistler, and Mount Currie, or Lil'wat.
The name was chosen for my Dad, by my grandmother's midwives, back in 1916. You see, there had been a number of babies that came before my Father. They all died at birth. They were given loving and endearing names. The midwives came up with a plan to ensure that the newest son would survive. They planned to fool fate by giving a name that would not sound very nice. A name that said, “this boy would not be loved or taken care of.”
Fate was fooled, and my father survived and lived until he was 79 years old. My father was a hunter and Trapper, and he did wander the woods to provide food for his family. As the family grew to 11 children, my father stopped wandering and took up residence in Vancouver on Main and 18th in the Mount Pleasant area. I grew up in that house and left and wandered the country and the world to work so I could feed and provide for my growing family. My eldest son was born while our young, little family lived at 22nd and Ontario. My eldest son grew up and became a bike courier in the downtown Vancouver area. And he wandered those streets to support himself.
Three generations of men, wandering and trying to take care of ourselves and trying to take care of our loved ones because our name tells fate that no one else will do that for us. We wander because we love and we wander because we are loved.
Our name is Qekiyeksut.
Composed by Russell Wallace
Arranged by Tony Wilson
Produced by Russell Wallace
Piano and keyboards: Chris Gestrin
Sax: Dave Say
Bass: Russell Sholberg
Drums: Kai Basanta
Vocals: Sam Dabrusin, Jeremy Wong, Russell Wallace
Recorded and mixed by Sheldon Zaharko at Hipposonic Studios
SAVAGE SOCIETY (Vancouver)
Darylina Powderface, community Engagement Coordinator
Cameron Peal, production coordination
Sherri Sadler, marketing & communications
Chelsea Carlson, production management
Safoura Rigi-Ladiz, copywriting and videography
Heather Cant, consulting (Indigenous Cities)