Musqueam hip-hop artist Christie Lee Charles is Vancouver’s first Indigenous poet laureate.
Charles, who raps as Miss Christie Lee, has championed poetry, language and arts, and elevating the role of Host Nation and urban Indigenous poetry and cultural practices.
Christie Lee Charles, 33, who incorporates traditional knowledge, stories and ancient Musqueam dialect into her music, sais the daughter of Henry Charles, a well-known Musqueam elder and storyteller who died last year, and during her speech to council Tuesday she highlighted her father’s work as the elder for the DUDES Club, a support group for men in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Her project will connect the greater Vancouver poetic scene and the public to this history of local Indigenous communities, language and lands we live on today,” said Charles. “It will create new relationships and help elevate the beautiful and cultural understandings of my people. This will empower the young people from Indigenous communities and give them a path for creative expression.””I started off with poetry in elementary and high school, and then it kind of just turned into rapping, and now it’s back into poetry, it’s all the same style,” she said. “Rapping and studying our language and our culture, that’s the most exciting thing for me.”