Gabriola Island writer and musician Cassandra Blondin-Burt has launched a new livestream series featuring indigenous performers, the Medicine Talk Connector. (Photo courtesy Cassandra Blondin-Burt)

Gabriola musician launches new livestream series featuring indigenous artists

The Medicine Talk Connector aims to foster resilience and a deeper respect for the arts

A local musician and broadcaster has launched a new indigenous-focused livestream performance series to help people find meaning, connection and a deeper appreciation of the arts in uncertain times.

Gabriola Island resident Cassandra Blondin-Burt, host of Medicine Talk Radio on Vancouver Island University’s CHLY radio station, started her Medicine Talk Connector series in mid-March, just around the time COVID-19 precautions led to the cancellation of gatherings and the closure of venues. Blondin-Burt said the pandemic is taking an existential toll as well.

“I feel like right now with the COVID-19 crisis and everyone staying home and our social institutions so being disrupted, so many people feel like … the things the previously defined them, how they felt about themselves, how they went about their day, aren’t there,” she said. “So people are struggling for meaning.”

Blondin-Burt said the arts have a therapeutic role they can play in guiding people through the COVID-19 era. She said her series is aimed at “connecting people with artists and with stories that help them retain their resilience and come out the other end maybe not stronger, but better off than we would have been.”

Blondin-Burt, whose family hails from the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in the Northwest Territories and also has Scottish and Scandinavian ancestry, said that while performing arts are sometimes “devalued to simply entertainment,” “without generalizing too much, with indigenous culture, people who make music, people who create songs, who create performance, are medicine people. They are core to our survival. Our spiritual thriving.”

“More than anything right now I wanted to put forward this idea that the indigenous music makers, performers and medicine people, the story tellers, are actually giving birth to the medicine that we need for our societies, indigenous or not,” she said. “And that by coming together and connecting, even in this crisis, and dancing together and moving together and listening to music together, that we can really co-create the kind of society ideals that we want to see happen.”

While the Medicine Talk Connector is streaming musicians and dancers for now, in the future Blondin-Burt is thinking of bringing in spoken word poets and theatre artists, as well as speakers to discuss topics like indigenous and non-indigenous relation building and other informative content.

“I’m looking at showcasing holistic experts in well-being to talk about mental health and physical health during the COVID-19 crisis,” she said. “We’re trying to become a platform that just puts out good messages that don’t forget the crisis that we’re in but that give us tools of resilience to get through it.”

Information about upcoming streams is available on the Medicine Talk Connector Facebook page.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parcel stolen from front porch, Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect

Unidentified woman allegedly stole package containing $400 smart watch

Police look for suspect after alleged assault at gas station in Nanaimo

Victim says he was punched in the head several times in late April at business in South Wellington

280-unit development in Lantzville will proceed to public hearing

Mayor says Clark/Medd properties affect municipality’s future

Nanaimo’s Bastion Street Bridge to close for repairs

Bridge linking downtown Nanaimo to Old City Quarter to close for 18 days to fix deck joints

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Most Read