When you take something from the earth you must always give something back.
From the Kwantlen First Nation village of Squa’lets comes the tale of Th’owxiya, an old and powerful spirit that inhabits a feast dish of tempting, beautiful foods from around the world. But even surrounded by this delicious food, Th’owxiya herself craves only the taste of children. When she catches a hungry mouse named Kw’at’el stealing a piece of cheese from her dish, she threatens to devour Kw’at’el’s whole family, unless he can bring Th’owxiya two child spirits. Ignorant but desperate, Kw’at’el sets out on an epic journey to fulfill the spirit’s demands. With the help of Sqeweqs, two Spa:th and Sasq’ets, Kw’at’el endeavours to find gifts that would appease Th’owxiya and save his family.
Similar to “Hansel and Gretel” and the northwest First Nations stories about the Wild Woman of the Woods, Th’owxiya—which integrates masks, song and dance—is a tale of understanding boundaries, being responsible for one’s actions, forgiving mistakes and finding the courage to stand up for what’s right.
Joseph A. Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River east of Vancouver. He resides there with his three children, Danessa, Marlysse and Jace. Joseph is Director of the Kwantlen Cultural Centre, received a diploma in Performing Arts from Algonquin College and studied Theatre and Direction at the University of Ottawa. He is currently the storyteller-in-residence of the Vancouver Public Library. He has published twelve books of poetry, the most recent being I Want (Leaf Press), Hear and Foretell, The Rumour (BookLand Press) and Sh:lam (The Doctor) (Mawenzi House).
“What makes Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish truly unforgettable is in its engaging story steeped in tradition.”- Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents
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