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November 4, 2023 @ 7:00 pm


Tidemark Theatre
1220 Shoppers Row
Campbell River, BC V9W 2C8 Canada
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nuyəm: how a legend is told

The lecture will explore creative storytelling techniques utilizing a varied exploration of diverse mediums.  (Re)connecting with culture is greatly assisted through examining and researching combinations of artistic practice that bring historic legends into a current context, one that resonates with local geography and communities.

Laxwaxdaxw artist Shawn Decaire will present a series of  legends, demonstrating how the story can be told through sculpture, spoken word, dance, masks and regalia.   Shawn will highlight the impact of the ancient Liqwala words and the value of situating the language into current life.

Shawn Decaire

Shawn Decaire is a member of the Laxwaxdaxw people, the southernmost tribe of the Kwakwakawakwe Nation. He was born in Campbell River in 1981. Shawn’s family was not involved with anything cultural due to the impacts of residential schools, but in 2001 he was invited by the people of Kingcome Inlet to join them on a traditional gathering of canoes.

Known as a Tribal Journey, this lifechanging experience took him from his village in Cape Mudge to the final landing place in Ambleside, West Vancouver. Over those two and a half weeks, Shawn was inspired in every cultural way from traditional singing to art and carving. During the journey Shawn met inspirational people who became role models to him, including the late Chief Frank Nelson, and the man who inspired him to be a traditional singer, Chief William Wasden Jr.

After returning home with all this inspiration, Shawn dedicated much time to learning the culture of his ancestors and the reasons why so much was lost. Near the end of 2002, Shawn made the greatest dedication of change in his life – he surrendered his addictions of street drugs and alcohol. He worked harder on his arts of singing, carving, and helping people. And for 20 years Shawn taught himself and learned from many great cultural teachers to become established in the cultural and artistic world.

Most of the traditional crafts Shawn creates are for ceremonies, such as potlatches and feasts. He does not sell much of his art. He said, “It is not the value of cash you carry that makes you rich, it is the love in your heart.”


The Art+Earth Lecture aims to focus on the relationship between language, culture and the local environment, linking geography with our understanding of place and local social issues.  Environmental challenges cannot be separated from the enmeshed social issues of a place and time.

Tickets: $10 Advance or By donation at the door (+applicable taxes & fees)