There’s a new site buzzing around.
Founded by Denise Halfyard, Aborginalbuzz.com is an initiative to promote and showcase First Nation events. Set out as an online platform to share culture, it was created with the mindset to “connect all nations through Aboriginal arts and culture.”
Halfyard, who is of the Wet’suwet’en people and grew up in Terrace, says she came up with the idea after she attended an Aboriginal Day celebration a few years ago in Vancouver. She says she was surprised with how many people had come for the event, and not just First Nations people.
“I had no idea that this was even happening down here,” says Halfyard. “I said there should be somewhere to find out about these types of events in one place, rather than just word of mouth or seeing a random post.”
After mentioning this dilemma to her husband, she was encouraged to start an online base devoted to Aboriginal events. Halfyard then started a Facebook page where she’d repost other people’s events.
“A lot of people I talked to, they said that once they put a fundraiser or event together - they’re just tired. They only hope that enough people will see it and that it will be a successful event,” says Halfyard.
But most recently, after losing her day job, she decided she’d devote her energy to fully establish Aboriginalbuzz.com and further its social media presence.
“It’s becoming a hit very quickly,” she says. “I’m quite passionate about getting these events out there… and the few that I have gone to, people are already recognizing the name.”
Halfyard says she’s been trying to attend many of the events herself and is now writing blog-style pieces to capture the spirit of these gatherings. But she says it’s not just for the page, “It’s also for myself — to get more connected with my culture.”
Currently, her website is self-funded with savings from her other businesses but as word gets around, she says she’d like to include advertising to help bring revenue. And for anyone that would like to feature their event on her spot page for a fee, she plans to donate that money to the Urban Native Youth Association in Vancouver.
“Youth are our future, it’s a great cause because it’s a place where the youth can go and hangout after school,” says Halfyard. “They learn about their culture there, it’s something I really believe in.”
Some may recognize Halfyard from the BC Aboriginal Awards, where in 2011 she won the Outstanding Business Achievement Award for her own floral design business, Halfyard Designs. She is now the official floral provider for the BC Achievement Foundation.
Although she has been living in Vancouver for over 16 years and only makes it up to Terrace once a year to visit family, she says that with Aboriginalbuzz.com going, she’d like to get out here for a few events and connect with the communities in the area.
At the moment, most of the events are in Lower Mainland, B.C., but Halfyard says she wants to expand into the rest of the province soon and eventually across the country.
“I think it’s really important that we share our culture, and not just with Aboriginal people, but with those who are interested in learning.”