The long, dark days of winter can be trying for everyone, so taking care of oneself is more important than ever.
Fraser River Indigenous Society hosted their annual Winter Wellness event to give the community a lift at the Golden Ears United Church on Saturday (Feb. 29)
Traditional dancers and drummers mixed with elders giving advice, hairdressers providing free (and excellent) services as well as health care advisors.
It was supported by Fraser First Nations Health Authority and run by executive director Ginna Berg.
“We see wellness in four components,” Berg said. “Mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.
“So we use culture and our activities to develop and nourish those components.”
Fun activities includes a pow wow demonstration.
“It’s a dance, which is physical but it also connects us to our emotional and spiritual health,” Berg said.
A moving drum group that filled the church’s hall with elevating vocal and percussive sound was lead by Dennis Leon from Kwantlen Territory.
“They sing from the heart and the pow wow is the heart beat,” Berg said.
Free haircuts and styling were very popular with many of attendees and 10 participants learned how to make their own drum in a free workshop too.
Berg said the key message they were trying to get across was very clear.
“We embrace the culture because that is our direction towards total health and wellness.
Local elder Maria Reed, whose background is Anishinaabe and Swedish was on-hand to give advice to anyone willing to listen.
“We are here to today to support wellness for all people, especially our people, because wellness has always been an important part of our life,” she said.
“When you practice wellness holistically, with your body, mind, and spirit, that’s the best for all people.
“Not just our indigenous people, but all people.”
Reed was especially happy to see the younger attendees at the wellness event.
“We’ve got quite a few children here, and if we can install a love for wellness in our kids, as they grow up it will have the trickle down effect,” she said.
“And maybe some of the hurt and the pain and the things that some of our ancestors and ourselves have gone through can begin healing.”