Sugoli! I am very excited to begin this new journey with the Pacific Association of First Nations Women as Coordinator of the Indigenous Women Rise program. I am not new to the Association, I had been a member in the early 90’s I was an active member as the President of the Association when the name was changed, from the Professional Native Women’s Association to its current name. That was many years ago, before children, as I like to say! Were you familiar with the PNWA and the awesome work that was done at that time? The Association initiated “Our Elders Speak Wisdom Society” where many Elders were photographed and interviewed. You can see those photos hanging on the walls of the welcoming open space at the Native Education College, and I am often reminded of the days of the PNWA which was located at the corner of Kingsway and Broadway many moons ago! PNWA also organized International Native Women and Wellness Conferences that were held in Vancouver, which was a fabulous gathering of strong Indigenous women from North America and beyond! We also provided scholarships and bursaries and you may remember the Gold Feather Awards ceremony we hosted yearly.
Fast Forward full circle and I’m here leading the Indigenous Women Rise Program which is culturally infused program for Indigenous women of all ages! Our program began with Pow Wow Zumba with Madelaine McCallum on Mondays from 6 to7 and a Beading Circle on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 where women are coming together to learn to bead. It was so heartwarming to see first time beaders in their 60’s beading with young ones under 10! Have you ever wanted to learn to bead? Come on out and join us if you want we are beading hoop style earrings like the one below – my first time too! Thrilled to have Dancing Water, come to share mystery secrets of beading with us!
We have many great things in store for Indigenous women in Vancouver and we plan to reach as many Indigenous Women as possible providing a variety of cultural teachings along the way! How can you connect with us? We have a survey that is on our Facebook Page (PAFNW), where you can let us know what cultural activities you are interested and how to contact you, so that we let you know when the activities begin! Check out the survey its 9 questions!
This is my first time blogging, believe it or not! Friends have always told me I should, so here I am! I will write a weekly post so that people can get to know what’s up and coming for Indigenous Women Rise (IWR). We will have a workshop on Traditional Family Lifecycle for community members to attend, later on this month! I am excited that Gloria Eshibok will come in to teach us some Ojibway hand drum songs later this month. Also happening is Baby Moccasin Making with Vivian King, in September. I will be facilitating a Grief and Grieving Workshop in September and later on the Association will offer a Support Group to help women and families with Grief and Loss.
Here is photo of me with my daughter at the recent Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week #VIFW which featured the Associations Mentor Me program participants as some of the models. Such a beautiful event, which Jolene Mitton inspired, she has been involved with the Association and Urban Butterflies for many years working alongside Joy Chalmers, our Homecare Support Services Coordinator.