2015 was a time of transition for the Winds of Change, as the mandate that the organisation has operated under, for the past 10 years, was up for review.
The WOC was formed in 2004 as a means of addressing substance abuse issues in Pemberton, Mount Currie and Area C of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, by building healthy relationships and respect between our communities.
Huge thanks are owed to Sheldon Tetreault, the chair, who has taken the helm since 2011, to ensure the work of collaboration, communication and reconciliation doesn’t end, just because it’s really hard to do and almost impossible to know if you’re doing it well.
Thanks, also, to Margaret Forbes, the consultant who looked at the initiative and what it had accomplished, in order to provide impartial and honest recommendations to the Village of Pemberton, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and Lil’wat Nation, our core funders, about where to go next.
For the first time in several years, the Winds of Change, did not host an annual Wellness Gathering, however, thanks to the enlightened support of our local leaders, we were able to continue connecting with the community through the Wellness Almanac and through an annual Bursary for two local students. This remains our headquarters – a virtual gathering place and daily blog, a space to share what inspires us, what scares us, what we have in common, what we might want to pay attention to.
We’re thankful for our contributors, who donate their time, talents, thoughts and creative efforts to keeping the space vital and dynamic and relevant and true.
And we thank our followers and readers, for reading, liking, sharing, and joining us on the journey.
As Justice Murray Sinclair just said, reconciliation is not about the past. It’s about the future.
And as the First Nations Health Authority so beautifully captures, wellness is not just about eating your vegetables and not doing drugs.
Acknowledging the distance between our communities, between us as neighbours, is not about guilt or judgment or charity or sympathy, but about hope, transformation, and learning how to walk together.
And maybe it’s about being okay with how much we don’t know… and working to remain open-hearted.
(Above: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hugs residential school survivor Eugene Arcand during the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report in Ottawa, December 15, 2015. Trudeau pledged to work toward full reconciliation with First Nations on Tuesday as he accepted a final report on the abuses of the government’s now-defunct system of residential schools for indigenous children. (Reuters/Chris Wattie)
Having edited this space for the past 3 and a half years, I confess that I do not feel any closer to knowing the answers, how to do this, how to bridge the gap, how to feel more connected to each other.
But I know how to blog, and how to send midnight emails to people to remind them a post is due, how to jump on people in social settings when they speak of something that might be a fit for this space and solicit a contribution, and how to hold space, always, for those with something to share… and so I will keep doing that, in the hope that it will contribute, in some small way, to us being a stronger, safer, more resilient place to grow and live.
Hope you’ll join us.