just returned from a magical week on the beautiful lands of the Okanagan nation with the raddest group
of peeps who took time out of their busy lives to talk about
Preparing Our home. ~ Emergency Preparedness Planning.
Ok, maybe you wondering what is Melody doing at such a thing? Just hold on, it'll come right after I brag about all this.
Wow, I think I fell in love with their territory! I've been craving change lately & so there I was dreaming away
of living somewhere as welcoming as this felt.
They have an amazing story, how their chief lifted their whole nation, read it here.
I was blown away, he came a spoke at our nation but I missed it. So to see first hand & hear directly from his people
gave me so much hope for not only my nation, but all nations.
We stayed at their Spirit Ridge Lodge & showZAS, it was so fancy!
I'm not normally drawn to such fancy places but this place was different.
I saw their language everywhere!
I felt their culture very much alive.
I heard pride in their voices.
That to me is felt like some deep, solid roots of a very healthy, thriving community!
So fancy or not, I definitely felt it.
Their Nk'Mip desert cultural centre is right next to their resort, oh my god!
All nations should have such visual pride & cultural connections!
They are RICH and I'm not talking dollars! I'm talking senses, all five of them (or however many we have!).
So there I was still visioning being a part of something as rich as this,
Rattle snakes?! I never even realized we had them here.
Ok, I can't live with rattle snakes. Melody you best stay on Nuu-chah-nulth home lands.
ok back to how the heck I end up at emergency preparedness gathering?!
Well, a couple of years ago one of my friends (Sarah Robinson) shouts out my name to these guys
who host this workshop every year with youth on preparing their home.
Most of my life has been working with youth & their next gathering was in Ahousat so it seemed like
it should have felt like a natural fit right?
Go home and teach youth, youth that don't know me & I've never taught
photography before so to say I was hesitant and unsure was an understatement.
I was scared shitless (sorry g'pa if you reading this).
Me? Talk & Teach?
Ummm, I"ve been out of the field for a few years now so I wasn't really feeling eager or confident.
and These guys weren't exactly picking up my unwilling vibes,
if they weren't so persistent I'd have so bailed.
that was the year I told myself, MELODY, this year you will
step out of your comfort zone.
So I went home, taught & actually loved it and
here I was back at their same gathering that I tried running from the other year!
So of course my presentation this year was on Indigenous languages and the connections they hold to land.
Now I'd hope nobody here is wondering why that'd be an emergency right?!
Ok, so this next generation.
These guys have their communities so covered!
My god I wanted to bring them all home for show & tell for our youth here!
This gathering is all about leadership for youth, lifting youth up into those roles in our communities but at younger ages.
Giving them a voice.
Sharing their voices, experiences & skills.
And these guys, have education, skills and experiences to share!
Wish I was as responsible & driven at their age!
So anyone who's paying attention to global warming- climate change is aware of that's a pretty huge, urgent crisis.
Lily, who organizes the gathering, her father from Russia has had life threatening
& life changing experiences over such topics & actions.
He spoke in his language about the leadership Indigenous people have taken on for the planet.
she, his daughter translated for us.
It was beautiful & I was envious listening to such translations.
WE got to hear so many stories, both sad & empowering on other nations & how they've handled
and or struggled with emergencies in their communities.
house fire stories were shared and scary and sadly preventable.
I received a free fancy smoke alarm from First Nations Emergency BC at one of the events I photographed.
having a wood stove and after my own loss years ago, I don't mess around with life & take all prevention very seriously.
So free & or affordable those alarms just seems like a no brainer necessity for all homes.
Hoping everyone is taking full advantage of free funding, prevention dollars and training opps cause they're there!
The Wildfire Community has a Fire Smart Grant available right now, with forest fires hitting closer & closer to our homes here on the coast,
I sure hope communities and not just talking prevention but creating action plans & inviting & involving members of their community.
Save The Children Canada also was spoken of highly & looks like they hiring right now, in case the helper in you needs employment with purpose
I've never been to such an intensely booked gathering before,
actually I have with Two Mann Studio's in Hawaii last year.
it was pretty much 12 hours days for the week.
each night cooking & meals were shared together. it felt like community & oh how I've missed such feelings.
WE were cooks the first night, so of course put the Ahousat's in charge of bread!
There were youth from all across turtle island, of course we naturally drawn to the ones closest to us on the map.
When you in emergency situations every community needs someone who naturally takes charge.
A good bossy women to whipper snapper everyone into place.
She is all that, I even let her boss me around & I'm usually the bossy one.
take a picture with the youngest & oldest she said.
and by the way, I have a daughter just a little younger than your son.
because bringing back arranged marriages
is an emergency too right?!
Needless to say, I do believe we as First Nations all share the same slightly twisted sense of humour.
So being ocean people, watching everyone carve their paddle
& reflecting on all the losses we've had recently here on the coast
has made me rethink
All the tsunami warnings we've had & that last one though!
Felt like straight up out of a movie scene, that was scary as heck!
Was I ready? NO!
I mean there's always in my purse:
a blanket in my truck
but that's it & that would most likely last me only a few hours so clearly I have some preparing myself to do.
Anytime we get on the water here, whether that be stand up paddling, kayaking, or fishing.
We definitely are not too cool to wear life jackets!
It'd be really nice to start seeing our local First Nation communities wearing them in their daily commutes.
Or maybe everyone already is? I haven't been home (Ahousat) in forever so woo hoo they on it already!
Regardless, it was so nice to explore the territories of the Oakagan Nation.
To share stories & space with such a powerful, inspiring group.
cause nothing beats that feeling when you connect with others
who are walking the same path.
who get it, beyond systems
who are leading in their communities.
preparing their homes
lifting their people.
because to me, it matters what kind of world will be left for him & maybe one day his.
in the mean time, if our youth are connected to programs like :
They'll be just fine.
I think they'll do far better than we have!
is your home ready?!
Is your kit ready?