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The Okanagan celebrates First Nations wellness on June 21

Photo courtesy of www.fnha.ca

On June 21, First Nations and Aboriginal peoples across BC, their partners and the general public will celebrate wellness at 160 National Aboriginal Day of Wellness events. Over 20,000 people are anticipated to take part in wellness-focused, community-organized events.

“We’ve seen great interest in the June 21 Day of Wellness events as an opportunity for First Nations communities to celebrate their health and culture, and showcase the strength and resilience of their peoples and Nations,” said Joe Gallagher, CEO of the First Nations Health Authority. “We encourage all health professionals to attend events as an opportunity to learn more about First Nations, and to celebrate First Nations health, wellness, culture and resilience.”

“Indigenous peoples are survivors. Our peoples endured assimilation policies, Indian Residential Schools, alienation of our homelands, and lost access to fish and game," said Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair of the First Nations Health Council. " The Day of Wellness Events serve as a powerful ways to celebrate our survival  and to seek physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental wellness. Let us build on our resilience and heal ourselves through celebration of wellness events.”

Okanagan Valley events include:

Metis Community Services Society of BC

Address:  201-2949 Pandosy Street, Kelowna BC V1Y 1W1
Event description:
2017 Central Okanagan National Aboriginal Day Celebration - Metis Community Services Society hosts an annual NAD event that is held at Stuart Park (downtown Kelowna on the waterfront of Lake Okanagans).
Activities include a traditional opening ceremonies, a traditional feast that will be offered for free for participants as well as Aboriginal performances, jigging and drumming, singing and a children arts and crafts area. We will also have a mobile Metis museum on site and sash weaving demonstrations.
Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society
Address: 442 Leon Avenue Kelowna BC V1Y 6J3
Event description:
Our National Aboriginal Day (NAD) event emphasizes: (1) supporting participants’ health through active participation (pow wow dancing, games, talent showcase and if some choose to volunteer there is lots of active participation there); (2) by nourishing their bodies with healthy and traditional foods; (3) focusing on mental, emotional and spiritual health by bringing together family and friends and celebrating beautiful native culture; (4) for the community feast we do a food offering before we serve that includes tobacco & water.
NK'MIP Desert Cultural Centre
Address: 1200 Rancher Creek Road Osoyoos BC V0H 1V6
Event description:
The students will be bused in from Oliver to Celebrate the day with Aboriginal activities that will educate the children through a hike on the interpretative trails to promote being active, a traditional lunch to be served to promote healthy eating and traditional teaches with activities of the land & history to experience the knowledge of the Sylix people for nurturing the spirit.

Ooknakane Friendship Centre

Address: 146 Ellis Street Penticton, B.C. V2A 4L5
Event description:
Soup and bannock feast, combined with a ceremonial smudge and prayer. We will have our elders also share the importance of learning our medicine wheel and what that means for aboriginal people and every other nationality that is willing to listen. We will also have community members drumming and singing.
En’owkin Center
Address: Penticton, B.C. V2A 6J7
Event description:
June 21 2017, Crossing the River: Supporting Creative Reconciliations exhibit will open at the Shatford Centre, 760 Main Street. Celebrations begin in the front yard at 4:00 pm with a welcoming prayer and a mini Pow Wow. After the official opening, performances and talks, everyone will be invited to enter the Shatford Center to enjoy a traditional feast.  The exhibition will feature photos of elders from the Okanagan Nation communities (Okanagan Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band, Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands) and historical photos of the past. In addition to exploring the past and present, the exhibition will examine our relationship with water in the future.

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