Community Celebration Marks Opening of the New Indigenous Learning House at Elgin Heritage Park
The community celebrated the opening of Totest Aleng: Indigenous Learning House earlier today on location at the Elgin Heritage Park in South Surrey.
Surrey, BC – The community celebrated the opening of Totest Aleng: Indigenous Learning House today at the Elgin Heritage Park in South Surrey. The event was open to the public and was attended by Surrey Mayor and Council, representatives of the Semiahmoo, Kwantlen, and Katzie First Nations alongside other dignitaries, community members and visitors.
“This new, vibrant space will create important opportunities for our community and visitors to learn more about Indigenous cultures,” said Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke. “I’d like to thank the Semiahmoo, Kwantlen and Katzie First Nations for their collaboration on this important project. I look forward to welcoming visitors to this dynamic venue at Elgin Heritage Park this summer.”
The new facility provides dedicated space to support Indigenous cultural practices, including carving and other creative disciplines. Development of the venue and its programming has been informed by ongoing dialogue and consultation with Semiahmoo, Kwantlen and Katzie First Nations. As part of the event, Chief Harley Chappell shared the new formal name of the venue Totest Aleng which translates to learning house.
"I am thrilled that we have been able to collaborate with the City to create this incredible new space,” noted Chief Harley Chappell of Semiahmoo First Nation. “It provides a much-needed space to support cultural practices, learning and dialogue in a meaningful way.”
The unique venue includes a designated studio space, as well as an open-air pavilion to support additional programming and gathering. The programming model for the facility will include artists-in-residence, workshops, events, and school programs.
The opening event included a ribbon cutting ceremony, demonstrations, performances, site-wide activations, food vendors and an Indigenous artisan market.