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June is the designated month for celebrating First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples heritage, culture and accomplishments and Cherryville Community Food & Resources wants to create space to recognize this rich history especially today, June 21st as it is the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day.

First, we want to remember the 215 children recently found at Kamloops Residential School and we stand in solidarity with Indigenous families and communities who are mourning these losses as well as many others, who are residential school survivors, and who continue to be impacted today by the appalling role of colonialism. With the slow, incremental progress the Canadian government has made toward implementing the 94 calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation act, non-Indigenous people must stand with Canada’s Indigenous populations and demand for real progress to transpire.

We will be putting orange ribbons in our hamper distributions for the next few months to bring awareness about Orange Shirt Day, a commemorative day for “over 150,000 Indigenous children [who] attended residential schools in Canada from the late 1800’s until…[1996 where]…it’s estimated that over 5,000 died while under residential school care. Now is the time to listen to the stories of survivors and their families and learn from them, so that these mistakes are not repeated. It is a time for conversations about understanding the survivors’ truths and beginning the journey toward reconciliation. Now is the time for an exploration of opportunities to do better for generations of children to come” (BC Achievement Association, 2021). For more information on the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day visit:

https://www.bcachievement.com/2020/09/29/every-child-matters-the-meaning-behind-orange-shirt-day/

https://www.orangeshirtday.org/about-us.html

Cherryville resides on the unceded territory of the Syilx tmixw (Okanagan). https://native-land.ca/maps/territories/okanagan/

“The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan which represents the 8 member communities including; Okanagan Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band and Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands and the Colville Confederated Tribes on areas of common concern. Each community is represented through the Chiefs Executive Council (CEC) by their Chief or Chairman.

The Syilx/Okanagan people still affirm the land is theirs, as no treaty has been negotiated” syilx.org

How non-Indigenous people can fight colonialism and become allies to our Indigenous communities (as cited by On Canada Project)

“Settlers Take Action

Step 1: Find out whose traditional territory you live on. Visit native-land.ca

Step 2: Click on the links of the territories from native-land.ca and learn more about the original caretakers of the land you now inhabit, their history and the current issues that affect their communities.

Step 3: Read about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and its 94 Calls to Action.

Step 4: Email your MP. Tell them you care about the Indigenous people of Canada and want to see action taken to reconcile with them, as described in the Truth and Reconciliation Report. Ask for an update on what they are personally doing to take action. Hold them accountable.” https://oncanadaproject.ca/settlerstakeaction

Support Indigenous Businesses

Shop First Nations is a website that has compiled Indigenous Business across the nation. You can search by province and sub category including: health & beauty, food & beverage, retail, art & entertainment, professionals, construction, attractions, hospitality, legal services and more. For BC specific, check out this website: https://shopfirstnations.com/locations/canada/british-columbia/  

Local Resources and Supports

Vernon Friendship Centre: an Indigenous non-profit affiliated with the BC Association of Friendship Centres, providing culturally appropriate health/social programs and services for the North Okanagan community. Check out their website at http://www.vernonfirstnationsfriendshipcentre.com/  or, call: (250)-542-1247.

First Nations Health Authority: the first and only provincial First Nations Health Authority in Canada, working to transform and reform the way health care is delivered to BC First Nations. There are a variety of resources, supports, and services available to BC First Nations listed at https://www.fnha.ca/  For more information specific to the Interior Region, please contact: interior.region@fnha.ca or call:​ 1-877-440-1140 (toll-free)​

For more information about available health benefits including dental, medical supplies and equipment, medical transportation, mental health, pharmacy, and vision, the Interior Region contact is Joyce Kenoras – Phone: 250-318-6634

Final Message

In light of National Indigenous History Month, we interviewed Kathi Shields, a 14 year resident of Cherryville who identifies as Métis. We asked her if she would like to present a message of encouragement to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living in Cherryville and this was her response:

And, “I am very grateful to be living in Cherryville on Okanagan territory”.

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