In 2004, when the Winds of Change Steering Committee released their report, A Healing Vision, it was the result of over a year of effort to bring people together and find common ground.
What had arisen out of tragedy, was a willingness to come together and say: what do we have in common? For all the distance between us, as communities, as cultures, what can we identify as a solid starting place? A foundation?
That became the Guiding Vision.
“We are neighbours, friends and relatives working together to reduce the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol on our communities.
We respect our differences and find strength in the common goal of a healthy and safe environment for our children and families.”
The community leaders are listed at the beginning of the Healing Vision. I wasn’t there, so I can’t speak to the conversations that took place.
This work, the Wellness Almanac, is an outcome of that, and has its roots in that effort.
What I see, 13 years down the track, through the new filter of parenthood, is how great a force our love for our kids is.
For all of us.
Across all differences.
I felt it with an aching ferocity when I watched Mámaya7 Lois Joseph’s grandson dance with her, and Lil’wat’s drummers lifting him up. I feel it with an aching ferocity as I watch Kat Ast snuggle with her one year old son, as he undergoes five hours of chemotherapy over the course of five days, to treat Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
What we wouldn’t do for these little people, that they may live full, joyful lives.
I don’t have to be a parent, to feel that. But sometimes I wonder if that personal transformation has made me a little more vulnerable, a little easier to undo, with stories of harm to children.
The future feels personal, you know?
I’m not as detached as I used to be.
I can’t see these things with any real emotional detachment. And I cry a lot more.
But that’s okay.
I just keep reminding myself: this is a team effort. Even if it sometimes feels isolating, this is a team effort. And I’m grateful to be part of this community.
Thank you to the original Task Force Members:
Mayor Elinor Warner, Village of Pemberton (Co-Chair)
Councillor Joanne John, Mount Currie Band Council (Co-Chair)
Councillor Michelle Beauregard, Village of Pemberton
Theresa Jones, Mount Currie Band Member and Safety Advocate
Bryan Kirk, Village of Pemberton Administrator
Sheldon Tetreault, Mount Currie Band Administrator
Cedric Jones, Mount Currie Alcohol & Drug Counsellor (NNADAP)
Francesca Cole, Nurse Administrator, Whistler/Pemberton
Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police
and the Other Contributors:
Councillor Martina Pierre, Mount Currie Band Council
Lee Erikson, Mental Health Crisis Program – Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
Greg McDonnell, Whistler Community Services Society
Constable Leo Patrick, Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police
Constable Leonard Isaac, Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police
Constable Mike Wasylenki, RCMP
Constable Scott Langtree, RCMP
Police Chief Tom Karanfilis, Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police
Staff Sergeant Hilton Haider, RCMP
Matilda Pascal, Xit’olacw Community School Counsellor
Leah Dan, Southern Stl’atl’imx Health Society
Capri Mohammed, Public Health Nurse – Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
Brandon Hestdalen, Task Force Coordinator
Dan Reist, Kaiser Foundation – Centre for Addictions Research of BC
Mona Wynn, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
for setting this healing journey in motion, by identifying that common ground so beautifully.
In this topsy turvy crazy-seeming world, we have an incredible opportunity, as a small community. Which galvanizes me every day. And I seize it with such fierce hope. Even as tyrannical Presidents and changing climate and all the other heart-breaking things unfold — here, in this beautiful territory, we can claim something that no-one in power can undo. We can declare ourselves neighbours, friends and relatives. And we can commit every day to the work. We can commit to the work of working together to reduce the harmful effects that all the dark things of a broken world have on our communities. And we can share this common goal, of a tending, and cultivating, and fighting for, a healthy and safe environment for all of our children and families. Whatever shape your family comes in. It all belongs.