Cease Wyss, T’Uy’Tanat, T’uy’tanat-Cease Wyss has spent a number of years building networks in communities across the city. Her work in 2009 as the first and only First Nations Arts Programmer with Park Board, brought her into all 26 of the community centers and the three Neighborhood houses, to help raise awareness with the staff concerning visibility of Indigenous Peoples who live in the community and frequent those centers. She utilized arts and cultural tools and resources, as well as guest speakers to help address the issues of invisibility, and to create cultural handshakes in many communities across Vancouver. This work resulted in better awareness by park board staff, and the community members who attended the events that were programmed through her work.
Cease has been involved as an Artist in Residence with various community centers and parks in Vancouver from the early 1990’s to date, and has created works through community engagement and dialogues as a means of bringing attention to the centers and parks regarding invasive species and the environmental concerns surrounding these parks and centers.
Her work as a food security activist over the past twenty five years has brought more involvement into community gardens and community kitchens through raising awareness of cultural foods and the importance of what it means to share a space in the community growing food and the idea of not eating alone.
Cease raised her daughter in public spaces such as these, and helped her to learn what community is all about, and what access to public spaces are all about, through actively being the parks, and centers, as well as beaches and forests that exist in Vancouver. She has used these forests and parks as her teaching environment for people from all cultures and age groups, to share the knowledge of plant foods and medicines and the rich and diverse cultural stories
that come form the ancestral lands and waterways of the Skwxwu7mesh People, as well as the Tseil-Watuth and Whu-Muthqueam peoples, who share these spaces together since time immemorial.
Cease believes that parks, community centers and neighborhood houses are public spaces that exist to help the community engage with each other in dialogues and sharing cultural and personal beliefs, as much as they exist to create access to resources that they may not have due to whatever limitations their housing needs present. She hopes to create more of a sense of community in these places, and to help bring the communities voices to the table, through sharing the process of how decisions are made in these centers and parks as well as bringing the meetings to the people, as opposed to focusing the meetings in one place in the city, and making the process of decision making more transparent and clear to the people who live in Vancouver and seek access to these spaces.
Cease has been a tireless volunteer over the past three decades in Vancouver, in the arts and cultural communities, and specifically, with regards to Indigenous people and Youth of all cultures. She volunteered and mentored with the three indigenous media arts festivals and societies that have created several opportunities for indigenous youth in Vancouver to become involved in media arts and cultural festivals, which in clued the IMAGeNative (Indigenous Media Arts Group), Festivals in the 1990’s through the to the current VIMAF (Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival), which have all been volunteer based and run organizations that have created opportunities for youth to train in Media Arts, and to help create cultural handshakes with other cultures attending their festivals.
She has volunteered for other arts and culture festivals such as VIFF-Vancouver International Film Festival, VFMF- Vancouver Folk Musical Festival, OOS -Out on Screen, HOTCF -Heart of the City Festival, DOXA film festival, GIFTS film festivals – Gulf Islands Film and Video School, and regularly shares teachings with numerous non-profit societies, elementary and high schools, and colleges and universities on culture, arts, and traditional indigenous food systems. She is currently sitting on two national boards for Media Arts: NIMAC – National Indigenous Media Arts Coaltion and IMAA – Independant Media Arts Alliance, and one local board, Beefriendly Indigenous Bees Society (www.beefreiendly.ca)
in North Vancouver. Cease is a dedicated Food Sovereignty and Security Queen and has been cultivating a project within her Skwxwu7mesh community on the northshore which includes a community kitchen, a community garden and a wetlands restoration project in the Capilano Estuary.