Tla-o-qui-aht explores pathways to healing with upcoming health forum

Nora Martin, March 2, 2018

Allison Howard and Patricia Gus helped to plan the upcoming Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Health Forum, which takes place Monday to Wednesday. Day one will be at the Meares Island Cultural Center in Opitsaht, day two will be at Tiicmis Aqkin Health Center in Ty Histanis and day three will be at the Tin Wis Conference Center in Tofino. (Nora Martin photo)

Tofino, BC — 

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (TFN) community and Human Services staff are busy planning for a Health Forum for March 5-7, 2018. The event will feature workshops, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) updates, information booths, glucose and high blood pressure screening, health promotion, arts and crafts, self-care, Usma updates and recruitment as well as entertainment by Stella.

The planning teams focus is on pathways to healing and the theme for the three-day event is Qwiiqwiqsap (transformation).  TFN Cultural Worker Levi Martin provides direction and support to the team and chose the name of the theme.

The agenda for the three days include:

  • Chris Curley, NTC Community Health Nurse, gives a presentation on infant immunizations;
  • Margaret Morrison, Women’s Resource Society, provides a review of services available, i.e. counselling and transition houses;
  • Anita Touchie - coping with anxiety & depression;
  • Robert Cluett, NTC Health Benefits Coordinator, will do an update on health benefits;
  • First Nations Health Authority will provide updates and be available to record issues and concerns with pharmacy, optical, dental and hospital services;
  • Usma’s focus is on recruitment for respite and foster care;
  • The planning team will conduct a gratitude ceremony;
  • Stan Matthew, NTC Teechuktl Training Coordinator, will do a workshop on laughter as medicine.

The Elders Pathways to Healing Panel presenters are Larry Curley Sr., Brenda Dennis, Gloria Frank and Dora Frank.

Self-care services:

  • Deb Botting will provide haircuts;
  • Gillian George will do manicures;
  • Lizzie Curley will teach weaving;
  • Josie Curley-Easton will teach how to make dream catchers;
  • Gloria Frank will prepare and provide traditional medicines;
  • Chris Seitcher of the NTC’s Quu’asa program will provide brushings;
  • Tsowtunle-lum will provide support and cleansing.

Norine Messer, TFN Capacity Building Coordinator, has agreed to provide meals and snacks for the three days, and she will send out notice regarding bids for catering.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Location of events: Day one will be held at the Meares Island Cultural Center in Opitsaht, day two will be at Tiicmis Aqkin Health Center and day three will be at the Tin Wis Conference Center, from 9 - 4 on all three days.

Transportation will be provided for members and for those living in the Tofino area who wish to attend the forum on the third day.

Day three will be a day of wellness as members will have the opportunity to sign up for massage, acupuncture, arts and crafts. To close off in a positive way Stella will be there to provide fun and laughter.

Brenda Dennis is excited and happy to be on the panel and is looking forward to sharing her experience of living a healthier lifestyle. She said for a member of the audience “to take one thing that I share, that would help [and] would be great.”

Due to high demand from outside agencies to provide information and to do updates the team has had to cut back on time allotted to each presenter. However, booths will be set up to ensure questions are answered and follow up is provided.  

This forum will be an opportunity for members to come and learn about existing programs and services. The Tla-o-qui-aht community is also welcome to share their ideas and recommendations for a brighter future.

Elmer Frank, Elected Chief Councillor, added, “I would like to thank our staff for taking the initiative to help educating our members with conducting workshops, such as a health fair. We continue to paving our way to a healthy community; this workshop is going to be beneficial to helping us get to that place.”

“There were concerns raised by members that were directly related to our health department and services,” continued Frank. “I believe hosting workshops such as this help with better understanding of policies that our staff are guided by. It certainly has raised the concern and the urgency for our council to take a mandate to push harder for better services for our people.”

The planning team would like to acknowledge and show appreciation to the First Nations Health Authority and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Capacity Building Program for providing funding for the event.