Krista Liebe is well known for her German newspaper Die Kleine Zeitung mit Herz.
She and her husband, Tihol, may be even better known for organizing the Williams Lake Film Club.
Recently Krista and Tihol hosted a small, intimate affair, bringing several cultures together to celebrate their uniqueness with food, drumming and song.
Then they topped it off with a great splash of fireworks.
The fireworks were fitting because Krista’s son Henrik and his Taiwanese fiancé, Cynthia, were in Canada from Taiwan afforded by the holidays surrounding Chinese New Year.
Starting in the food department Darren Charlie from Chehalis near Harrison Lake in the Lower Fraser Valley, spent several hours in the afternoon preparing a special feast of barbecued salmon cooked over an open fire despite the foot of snow in Krista and Tihol’s yard.
Inside the house Krista prepared halibut caught by First Nation friends from up around Kitimat, and with her friend, Katja, made a delectable dish of German potato salad.
After we all gorged ourselves fully, the hand drums were brought out. Darren shared a couple of songs from his Salishan tradition and several of us joined in drumming and singing along.
Then Meline Myers who hails from Stone/Xeni Gwet’in, shared some of her Tsilhqot’in songs she learned from her mother and elders.
If you know anything about the topography and ethnicity of B.C. you realize there are several mountain ranges and river canyons separating the indigenous homelands of the Tsilhqot’in and Salishan.
But there are similarities.
For one thing the salmon which swim up the Fraser through Salishan territory and up through Tsilhqot’in territory, and spawn in the headwaters of the Chilcotin River, is a common bond between the traditions of the Chehalis and Tsilhqot’in people.
The drumming and singing also provides a link.
While the songs from the two traditions differ in style and sound, there is an unmistakable common heart beat resonance we all felt.
It was a bond that crossed all cultural boundaries.
And speaking of cultures that night, there were several. Krista, Henrik and Katja are German, Tihol is Bulgarian, Cynthia is Taiwanese, Herb Nakada, one of the guests, is American Japanese from Hawaii, Darren and his wife, Karmen and two sons, Grayson and Kobe are Coast Salish, and Meline Myers is Tsilhqot’in.
Then there were three English-speaking Caucasian Canadians there as well, Betty Fletcher, Dave Ross and yours truly.
Of course my son informs me after doing an ethnological search, that my origin is three quarters British, one-eighth Dutch, and one-eighth Scottish.
Just another day in culturally diverse ‘Backyard Canadiana.’