As much as this is mainly a food blog, in particular eating out in Vancouver, there are times when a event and/or food adventure that deviates from the regular. Recently, I was invited to visit Skwachàys Healing Lodge for a Potlatch. Now for those who are unfamiliar with the venue, I don't blame you. I'd never heard or seen of the place before I arrived. What it turned out to be was part art gallery, part healing lodge for those aboriginal artists who are recovering from addiction. These artists stay at the lodge while participating in the creation, maintenance, and operation of the Fair Trade Aboriginal Art Gallery on the main floor of the facility. With support from the Federal Government, Province of BC, BC Housing and City of Vancouver, the lodge also provides an array of other training, educational and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in such areas as the hospitality and tourism, elder care, communications and community relations.
As I arrived, a few others were milling around waiting for the Potlatch including a familiar face, Degan who writes the blog SmokySweet. Before we ate, we were given a tour of the place including the common and individual rooms. These included a smudge room and a partially completed sweat lodge. I've personally done a smudge, but have yet to do a sweat because it can get pretty intense. From the lighting fixtures to the trim, all are custom-made by artists and truly add some traditional elements to a mostly modern facility. Lastly, we made our way to the dining room (adjacent to the kitchen of course). Meeting us there was a modest spread of food (I only say this because traditional Potlatches are bigger, but that was not to be expected here of course) consisting of Salads, Stuffed Tomatoes, Salmon Cakes, Squash and Meatloaf. We finished off with a Chocolate Mousse Tart. I'm not going into detail about the food because the premise of our visit was more than that.
Without talking too much about myself, I have a modest background in First Nations culture and history. Hence, I am supportive of any initiative that provides assistance in a positive and progressive manner. In addition to the art gallery, the lodge is now open to the public for reservations, which I'm sure will aid their bottom line.