Please note that this project and event took place in March 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Community Investments team at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) funds health promotion projects across the VCH region. Community Investments collaborates with other teams at VCH, including Aboriginal Health and the Regional Prevention Program teams, to partner with the Indigenous communities and support their health promotion objectives. Over the past few years, VCH has been working closely with the Wuikinuxv First Nation on several projects that the community has identified as their priorities to support their community's health and wellbeing.
Wuikinuxv Nation is actively working towards increasing community connectedness and a sense of belonging, both of which have been impacted by the ongoing effects of colonialism in the community. With a grant and other in-kind support from VCH Community Investments and Aboriginal Health, a group of Wuikinuxv community members, led by Health Director MarLou Shaw, decided to host an event called 'Let your Spirit Dance' in March 2019. The pivotal event (held pre-COVID-19 pandemic) brought community members back home from all over BC to reconnect with each other and their Nation, to work together and take on leadership roles, and to celebrate their community.
The success of this inaugural celebration was the result of the dedication, determination and excitement of community members, especially those who joined what would later become the Wuikinuxv Social Committee. VCH Community Investments is proud to continue to support the Wuikinuxv Social Committee's efforts to bring community members together, and to develop and strengthen relationships within the Nation.
VCH Community Investments asks community partners who receive grants to report back on community impacts and on lessons learned for others who might want to do something similar.
Wuikinuxv community members chose to tell the story of the impacts of the community dance through video. Organizers decided a video would be more culturally appropriate and better capture the spirit of 'Let Your Spirit Dance', and we agree! Their video report also provided an opportunity for youth members of the Richmond Youth Media Lab, another program funded by Community Investments, to get involved by editing the video footage to beautifully summarize what the event meant to the community.
VCH was proud to be part of this event and of our ongoing partnership with the Wuikinuxv Nation. VCH Community Investments strongly believes in supporting community efforts to address the health promotion priorities that they themselves determine, and the health promotion projects developed and led by community members.
To learn more about the impacts of the work of the Wuikinuxv Social Committee and what these social opportunities mean to their community, watch the above video.