Celebrating the stars: An Indigenous Walk of Fame proposed for downtown Victoria

Steve Sxwithul'txw wants to see Indigenous talent honoured on the streets of Victoria.
Steve Sxwithul'txw said the Indigenous Walk of Fame could start at Bastion Square and continue along Government Street. (Stephanie Cram)

Originally published May 20, 2018

Inspired by the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame, Steve Sxwithul'txw wants to create one that would honour Indigenous talent from across the country.

Sxwithul'txw, who is a filmmaker, said it's time Canada recognizes Indigenous talent from TV, film, music, sports and the arts.

"We have so many talented Indigenous people out there in these various genres with no real recognition for them," he explained. "This would be something that could stand the test of time, long after you and I are gone, the Indigenous Walk of Fame would be here."

Sxwithul'txw said he travelled to Hollywood in January to meet with representatives of their Walk of Fame — which has 2000 plus stars — to get an idea of what is involved in putting together a similar project.

Stars of honour

Tantoo Cardinal (Nadya Kwandibens, Red Works)
He said the walk would honour people like Cree/Métis actor Tantoo Cardinal and Algonquin NHL player Gino Odjick. Sxwithul'txw has contacted various Indigenous artists who could design the stars, which would include information on each Indigenous person featured.

He said the walk could start at Bastion Square and continue along Government Street.

"It was here in the Bastion Square area where a lot of the government had started and included justice. In this building behind me, which is now gone and been rebuilt, was an area in which several of our people were hanged back in the day," he explained.

"What better way to highlight this amazing project by laying stars in honour of those we've lost in the past in dishonourable ways and to be able to promote something that's amazing for people across the country and North America?"

Support for the Walk of Fame is already growing. Sxwithul'txw presented his proposal to Victoria city council last year which included the acknowledgement of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. It now has gone to a committee comprised of city councillors and representatives from the two nations.

He said he is hoping for $400,000 for the first year and a long-term budget in the following years.

"If our people can't be acknowledged, when are we going to move forward and when are we going to have those role models that we can honour and look to for guidance... 10, 20, 30, 50 years down the road?"