An upcoming winter market at Cabot Square in Montreal will serve two purposes, said the organizer of the event – first, to help raise important funds for the Cabot Square project and second, to help show the Montreal area the beauty and magic of Indigenous culture just in time for the holidays.
“We wanted to offer people a chance to come together and experience Indigenous culture in a great urban space,” said Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal project coordinator Renee Corbiere. “It will help in a number of ways.”
The market will be held Saturday at Noon and will run until 5 p.m. and will feature Indigenous artisans selling their wares throughout the afternoon at the square. Corbiere has room for 15 vendors and currently, about eight of those spots are full. There is no charge for vendors to get a table, Corbiere added.
“We want to open up Indigenous culture to the city and this is a great way to do it,” she added.
The project is a natural offshoot of ‘Indigenous Fridays,’ wherein Indigenous artisans are invited to display and sell their work on a rotating basis.
“We have people from different nations selling their materials. Dream catchers, soapstone carvings, beadwork of many different kinds and we’ve even had Mohawk people singing and dancing,” Corbiere said.
She explained this was a natural extension of the Cabot Square project, which has been extremely helpful in engaging the city’s urban Indigenous population.
“It feeds the spirit. We offer people food and hot drinks, but mostly we offer people the opportunity to meet with each other to form a bond and a community of sorts,” she said.
The Cabot Square Project was originally developed in 2014 due to the need to counteract the displacement of Indigenous people in the downtown area of Montreal.
The Native Women’s Shelter met with many different community organizations in hopes of creating and implementing a strategy to address the issue. Currently, the project is a product of a partnership between the Native Women’s Shelter and the YMCA.
Both organizations have an outreach worker assigned to Cabot Square.
“The market is also an opportunity for non-Indigenous people to learn about the culture in a space that is welcoming to them. Some of those people might not be so comfortable going to a Native Friendship Centre or something like that, but we are hoping to bring people together from across the city and so everyone can come together and feel welcome,” Corbiere added.
Artisans interested in selling their work at the market can secure a table by e-mailing Corbiere at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cabot Square Winter Market will be held Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Cabot Square, at the corner of Ste. Catherine and Atwater, next to the Atwater metro.
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase