Skip to content

Authentically Indigenous Festival on Bowen Island

Indigenous Festival runs June 7-30 and features many unique events and exhibits

Note* This story has been updated with new information for the Indigenous Feast on June 15.

The Authentically Indigenous Festival on Nex̱wlélex̱wm / Bowen Island opens on June 7 with a multi-day array of events and activities celebrating Indigenous arts, culture, arts and other expressions of creativity.

The Indigenous festival is proudly presented by the Hearth - Arts on Bowen, in collaboration with Simon Daniel James, guest-curator. Also known as Winadzi, Simon is an internationally renowned artist in many mediums. He trained at Vancouver Film School and is the co-creator of the animated “Raven Tales” series which airs on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and there is also a book set of graphic novels based on the screenplays.

Now living on Bowen Island with his family, Simon has created public art including the welcome pole at the community school. James was asked to carve three totem poles for Fukushima, Japan in 2001.

He co-owned a gallery, staged the Authentically Aboriginal exhibition and feast for the Bowen Island Arts Council, and has created and contributed to public art on Bowen Island and beyond.

In 2023, Simon was awarded the Community Award by the BC Achievement Foundation. The program, now in its 20th year, “recognizes extraordinary British Columbians who build better, stronger and more resilient communities.”

“His impact on local communities and students is immeasurable as he uses his creativity and compassion to inspire and nurture young learners,” BC Achievement said.

Indigenous Artists from BC will exhibit at the Hearth Gallery from June 7 to June 30. Along with the exhibition at the Hearth, there will be an Indigenous children’s exhibition. The children will be creating works under the mentorship of Simon Daniel James, who will work with the youth in schools on Bowen Island and in West Vancouver.

Artist Opening events taking place on Saturday, June 8, with the youth celebration from 1 to 3 pm and the Artist opening event from 6 to 8 pm. There will be artist presentations, live performances and music. Fry bread, salmon and refreshments will be served. Artists will open the show with a performance. Guests are invited to assemble at 5:45 outside the doors and artists will lead the guests into the gallery to open the show.

One of the festival’s marquee events, an Indigenous Feast, has been forced to change venues due to expected inclement weather. Originally scheduled for Meadowbrook Market, the feast will now take place at the Hearth Gallery. The date remains the same, Saturday, June 15, but the start time is now 5:30 pm as the feast begins with a performance on the Eagle Gathering Stage outside the gallery.

Doors will open at 6 pm, with food service scheduled for 6:30 - a Farmed and Foraged Indigenous Menu served canapé style. Please note the new ticket price of $40, which includes one drink. Everyone who has purchased a ticket so far will be refunded the difference. There will also be limited tickets available at the door on Saturday. Evening festivities will include performances, storytelling, and a silent auction supporting Carrier Sekani Family Services.

Tickets are selling fast and are available on the Hearth website:

National Indigenous Peoples Day will be celebrated with a special ceremony at the Eagle Gathering Stage (under the watchful eyes of Winadzi’s Eagle Descending carving) on the plaza outside the Hearth Gallery on Friday, June  21 at 1 pm, with song, drumming, and special guest performances.

Activities of the project and all events will take place at the Hearth Gallery, the outdoor Cultural Corner and Eagle Gathering Stage, located at 430 Bowen Island Trunk Road, on Bowen Island, BC.

We are very grateful to our funders and sponsors who have helped to make this festival possible: BC Arts Council, BC Govt/ BCAC Fairs and Festivals, Bowen Island Municipality, Bowen Island Community Foundation, First Credit Union, Bowen Irly Bird Centre, Knick Knack Nook, and Opus Art Supplies.

And, of course, none of this would happen without our amazing team of volunteers who work behind the scenes to create the magic that you will experience.