Health and Wellness

Ki’suk kyukyit (greetings). The Lower Kootenay Band has had a busy start to 2020. We have a major construction project of the Administration & Health Building underway, and another construction project that we hope to get started in the late Fall of this year. We will continue to strive for the very best for the Lower Kootenay Band people with our economic development initiatives and other ventures, however, we also must remember our personal health and wellness. Without good personal health and wellness, the economic initiatives can be irrelevant. We are given only one life and we must make the most of it. As I become older, I am seeing how short life truly is.

To begin this year, we have had two workshops that deeply impacted the Lower Kootenay Band. Our first workshop was with Theo Fleury (former Calgary Flames player) who spoke very openly about his sexual abuse trauma as well as his battle with substance abuse. Sexual abuse and substance abuse can be interconnected. In Theo’s experience, he used alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism to deal with his sexual abuse trauma. In the mid-2000s, Theo began his road to recovery, where he became a speaker and advocate for substance and sexual abuse survivors. Like many communities in the world, the Lower Kootenay Band has been deeply affected by sexual abuse as well as substance abuse. This workshop was brought to our community as a tool to assist survivors in their quest for healing. We fully realize that by having this workshop one time does not mean that the trauma is dealt with or resolved. Healing is a journey and not a destination.

A couple of weeks following the Theo Fleury workshop, we invited Christian Parrish, aka “Supaman” and Acosia Red Elk. Christian is from the Apsalooke (Crow) Tribe in Crow Agency, Montana. Christian is a renowned fancy dancer as well as an award-winning hip hop artist. Acosia is a renowned jingle dress dancer from the Umatilla Tribe in Oregon, who has won many dance contests throughout North America. Acosia is also a yoga instructor who blends yoga into dance as well as instructs pow wow aerobics. This workshop kicked off with a hip hop performance at the PCSS Auditorium. In front of a packed house, Supaman performed an energy filled hip hop show, delivering a positive message to the youth.

We then moved from the auditorium to the Round House where Christian and Acosia taught basic pow wow dance steps. The Lower Kootenay Band is not producing pow wow dancers like we once did. The facilitators spoke about overcoming barriers of shame, being self-conscious, but most importantly, instilling pride of indigenous identity. Acosia led the group in a yoga session that had an indigenous blend to it. Yoga is a healing mechanism that we can now use to deal with trauma. After the dancing and yoga session, Acosia stepped up the tempo and led the group in pow wow aerobics. The pow wow music played loudly and we used dance steps to make ourselves well.

Although not all of the LKB Community attended the workshop series, the events were well-attended. I would like to thank my colleagues for all of their hard work and dedication to make these workshops a success. To all of the LKB Community, these events are for you and the door will always be open for you to enter. As my term moves forward into the future, my wish is for LKB as a collective to be in the very best of health, and for our mind, body, and spirit, to be the best that it can be. Please take your health and well-being seriously. As I mentioned before, we are given only one life, so let’s make the most of it! TAXAS.