Deeper Ties: Culture, heritage and community empowerment

Arts, culture and heritage make considerable and necessary contributions to the well-being of communities.

Arts, culture and heritage are powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They are a means to public dialogue, contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning, create healthy communities capable of action, provide a powerful tool for community mobilization and activism, and help build community capacity and leadership.

Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition goes a step further, defining culture as shared patterns of behaviors and interactions, cognitive constructs and understanding that are learned by socialization. Thus, it can be seen as the growth of a group identity fostered by social patterns unique to the group.

Heritage is the full range of our inherited traditions, monuments, objects, and culture. Most important, it is the range of contemporary activities, meanings, and behaviors that we draw from them. Heritage is both tangible and intangible; in the sense that ideas and memories—of songs, recipes, language, dances, and many other elements of who we are and how we identify ourselves—are as important as historical buildings and archaeological sites.

Canada and Sierra Leone have a deep cultural heritage connection with far-reaching effects. This cultural heritage is important to the identity of our society. It should reinforce cultural and historical self-awareness in our communities. The monuments and art treasures from this connection make a shared past visible and must strengthen inter-cultural ties.

As a Sierra Leonean-Canadian, I believe our Canada-Sierra Leone Heritage is an essential part of the present we live in and of the future we will build.

On May 6, 2017, the Sierra Leonean Community of British Columbia will celebrate their first annual Canada-Sierra Leone Cultural Heritage Day in Surrey at the Fleetwood Community Centre (15996-84 Ave, Surrey, BC.), starting at 6:00pm.

This event will be an annual reminder of Canada and Sierra Leone’s storied past and an opportunity to honour the remarkable people, places and events that have contributed to this unique heritage. As part of the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, The Canada-Sierra Leone Cultural Heritage Day 2017 will recognize BC’s diversity, and multiculturalism.

Come and discover a rich heritage connection between Canada and Sierra Leone that you may not know of. There will be food, cultural/traditional performances, stories, and songs that will move you.

Visit to RSVP or email:;; or call 604-226-5834.

#CanSalone2017; #Canada150; #SierraLeone

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