Our History:

‘Love In The House’

Second Annual Aboriginal Community Gathering

Joyful noise filled the Central Okanagan air at Sensisyusten House of Learning on a late November evening.  Children, parents, caregivers, Elders, grandparents, aunties, uncles, and community friends numbering over 150 shouted “The love is in the house!”  They were responding to a call-out by Angela Roy of Expression, “Where is the love?” as she led participants in an evening of learning and celebrating culture.  Children sang and drummed traditional and new songs from indigenous cultures throughout the world.  Everyone was invited to sing, dance, and drum along with the children, creating the loud and happy sounds.

When participants in a 2008 community dialogue suggested that more opportunities for families to gather and celebrate culture would be healthy for Aboriginal children, Aboriginal CATCH – Community Action Toward Children’s Health organized an Aboriginal Community Gathering for families.  It was so popular that they held the Second Annual Aboriginal Community Gathering in November, 2009.  Aboriginal families with young children in the Central Okanagan were invited to come and share a delicious salmon dinner, to have some fun, and to learn more about Aboriginal culture from Elder Delphine Derrickson.

Even after the closing friendship dance, when the chairs and tables were put aside and the drums packed up, and the last families boarded the bus for home, it felt like love was in the house!

Aboriginal CATCH asked for feedback on the gathering by speaking with three participants.

 Elder Lenora Holding, who gave the blessing praised the hard work of Aboriginal CATCH and suggested some improvements for next time to make things run more smoothly. 


Lenora is a great-grandmother who is active in her community of Westbank First Nation.  Her wisdom and experience in nurturing and teaching cultural values, such as respect are some of the gifts she shares with the community.  Lenora understands the importance of raising healthy children and she would like to see the community focus more on guiding families with young children.





Jay is raising three young daughters.  He smiles talking about his girls, even though he is very serious about giving them knowledge and pride in their culture.  He tells about their excitement at riding on the charter bus from their home in Kelowna to Westbank First Nation and his pleasure in meeting new people at the gathering.  The whole family enjoyed the drumming and singing.  Jay also said how much it mattered to him that United Way, Success By 6, CIBC, CATCH, Fraser Basin Council’s Smart Planning for Communities, and others sponsored the gathering.

Donna and her partner, parents of three small boys, see the gathering as a safe place for Aboriginal families to meet and have fun together. 

Donna's middle son was a newborn at the first gathering in 2008, but this time he ran and played while his baby brother slept in his mother's arms, lulled by the beat of the drums.  Donna said that Summer DeGuevara of Westbank First Nation, who performed a traditional dance, was a great role model for the children.

Donna wants her children to be proud of their heritage.  Remembering incidents of racism she suffered as a girl, Donna and her partner strengthen their children by participating in Aboriginal community events like the gathering.

Aboriginal CATCH was honoured to bring so many families with young children together and grateful for the feedback from participants.  Plans are forming to expand community involvement and make the next Annual Aboriginal Community Gathering the best yet.



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