First Nations communities explore and celebrate cultural models of mental wellness


Kitselas First Nation hosts “Celebration of Successes” event

On June 8th, 2017, Kitselas First Nation hosted a “Celebration of Successes” event showcasing three First Nations community projects that explore mental wellness from a community and cultural perspective. Over 60 people from Kitselas, the Terrace/Kitimat and Area Indigenous Health Improvement Committee (IHIC) and the IHIC member communities, attended the celebration of successes in Kulspai. Communities shared their projects and attendees were entertained by the Kitselas drummers, who performed some songs. The projects came from the Kitselas First Nation, Nisga’a Valley Health Authority, and the Gitxsan West communities. Kitselas showcased their youth wellness video which highlighted current youth activities in Kitselas and their future vision.

The Nisga’a Valley Health Authority showcased their family conference which focuses on integrating culture into health and wellness services by incorporating traditional teachings and events. Gitxsan West communities showcased their project of reigniting Gitxsan culture within mental health. In this project, knowledge holders from the communities came together to identify and document Gitxsan traditional mental wellness and will begin to strategize how best to reignite these practices.

Many at the celebration spoke up to praise the projects, to share their own stories, to show support of the initiatives, and to offer words of encouragement for these innovative approaches to wellness. The celebration was a wonderful opportunity to learn about how the Terrace/Kitimat and Area IHIC, health leads from Indigenous communities and organizations like Northern Health and the First Nations Health Authority are collaborating to address community needs and suggestions in innovative ways.

Read the full Northern Health blog by Victoria Carter.