Coast Salish Men’s Gathering

Apr. 21/16

Snuneymuxw First Nation and the First Nations Health Authority successfully hosted the
1st Coast Salish Men’s Gathering on April 7th & 8th, 2016 at the Tigh Na Mara Resort in Parksville, BC.

An invitation for men to attend was sent to each Coast Salish community Health Director/Lead and Community Counsellors. The following are the Coast Salish communities who received invites:
1. Cowichan Tribes
2. Malahat
3. Lyackson
4. Halalt
5. Beecher Bay
6. Tsawout
7. Penelakut
8. Tsartlip
9. Qualicum
10. Pauqauchin
11. Homalco
12. Stz’uminus
13. Tseycum
14. Snuneymuxw
15. Snaw Naw As
16. Lake Cowichan
17. Songhees
18. T’Sou-ke
19. Tseycum
20. Esquimalt

Additional invitations were made out to the following organizations:
1. H'ulh-etun Health Society
2. Victoria Native Friendship Centre
3. Hiiye'yu Lelum (House of Friendship) Society
4. Tillicum Lelum Friendship Centre

In total, there were 75 men that attend the gathering.

Our Keynote Speaker was Justin Wilson of Heiltsuk Nation who works at Langara College as a Coordinator of Aboriginal Studies. Justin provided a touching and insightful keynote speech which many of the men appreciated. He also did a workshop for the gathering. At this workshop he asked participants for 4 topics that would be made into questions and then be answered.

These are the questions that were created:
• What are the common Coast Salish Teachings we share?
• What is masculinity from a Coast Salish perspective? 

• What dreams do you have as a Coast Salish man?
• How do we help our boys to become men?

We also had additional facilitators. The following is a list of who they are and what they presented:
• Ronnie Dean Harris Workshop: WordCloud – I am a Salish Man
• Tony Elliott Workshop: Facilitating a Men’s Group
• Tony Charlie Workshop: Honouring Our Stories & Experiences
• Kirsten Thomas Workshop: Making Medicines
• Glen Patterson Workshop: Awakening The Warrior Within Program

Throughout the event, we had elder, Jimmy Bob of Snaw Naw As, assist us with spiritual work by providing blessings, and opening & closing each day.

In addition to the gathering, we also had a number of people and organizations set up booths. These included:
• Haircuts for Men Byron and Sherri White
• Cedar Carving Alfred Robertson
• Health Screening Snuneymuxw Health Nurses
• Information Booths from Vancouver Island Health Authority, AIDS Vancouver Island, First Nations Health Authority
• Brushings & Debriefing Indian Residential School Survivors Society

We had an excellent team that helped organize and pull this gathering together in a very short amount of time. They are:
• Leslee Wyse, Men’s Gathering Coordinator
• Chris Leischner, Snuneymuxw Mental Health & Addictions Coordinator
• Jon Rabeneck, FNHA Coast Salish Community Engagement Coordinator
• Marina White, FNHA Coast Salish Community Engagement Coordinator
• Charles Nelson, Snuneymuxw Health Administrator

Thank you to everyone for all their hard work!