Súa was started by local youth with a keen interest in interacting with local tourism and maintaining the Kitasoo/Xai'Xais tradition of performance. Súa means 'thunder' in Xai’Xais (a local dialect of Heiltsuk). Súa means 'thunder' in Xai’Xais (a local dialect of Heiltsuk). The name was chosen by the first youth cultural ambassadors in the program who wanted a name to communicated their strength and pride.
Since its conception by local youth in 2015, Súa has become a registered non-profit organization that benefits more local youth every year. The program started with support from Spirit Bear Lodge
(a locally owned ecotrourism company) and still operates in partnership with the lodge. However, the program involves increasing numbers of community members, hereditary leaders, and local knowledge holders each year. Whether it is facilitating workshops about knowledge that has been passed down within a family, influencing program structure, or helping supervise youth, Súa is truly a Kitasoo/Xai'Xais community venture.
How does the program work?
Every spring, 4-5 youth ages 12-20 are selected to be Youth Cultural Ambassadors the Súa Youth Cultural Program. Our ideal ambassador is a passionate, driven, and collaborative teen who is excited to learn more about local culture and being a leader. Ambassadors attend full time workshops throughout the week. Workshops cover a range of topics including Kitasoo/Xai'Xais culture (i.e., weaving, canoeing, drumming), locally relevant skills (i.e., research, bear safety), and personal development (i.e., leadership, teamwork, public speaking). In addition to participating in workshops, ambassadors are leaders at evening Súa performances with a larger group of local youth in the big house. At these performances, ambassadors tell traditional stories that they have learned throughout the week and apply ever-growing leadership skills. The larger Súa Performance Group includes youth of all ages - as young as 4 years old! The songs they share have been shared around them for most of their lives, and these performances are their chance to demonstrate how strong their voices are and their commitment to continuing the tradition of singing, drumming, and dancing in Kitasoo/Xai'Xais Nation.
|" I want to become a person who is proud of his culture and keep it going. "
| Ivan (Youth cultural ambassador, age 13)