Cyndi Pallen, a graduate from University of Victoria, carries the name of her great grandmother Cine’. Cyndi is a member of the Tla’amin First Nation and born in Powell River General hospital. Both parents and family lineage are all of Tla’amin and Homalco First Nation’s peoples. Cyndi works to practice traditional values and teachings through language, songs and dance of the Tla’amin people. She enjoys all kinds of music and coordinates yearly a multi-cultural festival called Wuwoom, which means singing in Tla’amin language.
Wu Woom Festival is a multicultural showcase and yearly fundraiser, open to the community of Powell River and Tla’amin and held at Tla’Amin Salish Gym. Our goal is to celebrate cultural diversity within the Powell River community through songs, dance, and food. Yearly we seek artists, who wish to share their cultural background through songs or traditional dance or simply share any song or play an instrument.
Other ongoing projects Cyndi participates in, is called Hɛhɛwšɩn.
Hɛhɛwšɩn (Moving Forward) has brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples together to promote reconciliation in action, and to reflect on the history and teachings of the Tla’amin people. Hɛhɛwšɩn is a word meaning “the way forward” and encompasses a growing movement that was started by Phil Russell (k̓ʷʊnanəm), Tla’amin citizen Cyndi Pallen (čɩnɛ) and elder John Louie (Yahum). Hɛhɛwšɩn builds on the healing that is taking place within the community, following the lasting effects of residential schools. A song was composed at sang with Arthur Arnold and PRISMA Festival Orchestra.
The Hɛhɛwšɩn Reconciliation Song (“The way forward”) is composed by Cyndi Pallen, Drew Blaney and Koosen Pielle.
Hehewsin originally started with first gathering 2013, which was a big movement in Tla’amin, with Chief Bobby Joseph, and John Candless, Cyndi, Phil and John. Many Hehewsin projects followed. A big projects began in Summer of 2017, a grandfather log was transformed into a traditional Salish canoe by skilled canoe builder Joe Martin from the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation (located near Tofino), and a team of local carvers: Alvin Wilson, Sherman Pallen, Ivan Rosypskye, Phil Russell, Mathew Louie, Dakota Gustafson and John Dominic. These individuals put heart and soul into the project over a period of weeks and months until finally the 26-foot-5-inch canoe was unveiled to the community in a traditional blessing ceremony held on November 17, 2017 at Willingdon Beach. Hɛhɛwšɩn builds on the healing that is taking place within the community, following the lasting effects of residential schools. We have been happy to open doors and to share many ceremonies through songs and dance, one highlight being with Arthur Arnold at PRISMA Festival!