News From Around BC, Contributed by Gloria Miller of Hope, BC
International Women’s Day 2010 was celebrated and hosted by Chawathil First Nation near Hope, BC in collaboration with the Hope & Area Transition Society STV program. The day consisted of a fashion show, speeches, drumming, dancing, singing, arts, crafts, and bake talbes, candle decorating, the Clothesline Project, information tables, and course, a great meal, and a lot of visiting and laughter. The Health Department of Chawathil First Nation offered information and samples of traditional women’s medicines. The community singing and drumming group has members of all ages and opened the celebration, after which women mingled around the various tables: some decorating candles with purple ribbons, some engaging in the Clothesline Project, making strong heartfelt statements of their desire to end violence against women. The Wellness Coordinator from neighboring Seabird Island First Nations helped individuals work on their family tree information. The clothesline and information about it remained on display in the community Band office for two weeks after the celebration and awareness-raising day.
Along with a presentation on the Highway of Tears, copies of letters, pre-copied and addressed to the Premier and local MLAs, were available so people could sign them and send them in. Close to 60 letters were delivered to politicians urging action.
The background on this is that a photo was taken of each participant in the cedar hat and shawl. The photo was then put on a coloured sheet of paper and placed on the wall. All participants went around the room and wrote positive comments about the person on each sheet of paper.