Feel to Heal Conference at Canim Lake Band

Keynote speakers share stories of sexual abuse, addiction and residential school

A Feel to Heal Conference will be hosted at Canim Lake Band’s Wellness Centre from April 6 to 8 and is open to members of the band and the general public.

“It is about health and wellness. I personally talk about a wide variety of subjects and I call my presentation healing through storytelling,” said John Archie, the organizer and one of the keynote speakers at the event.

Archie was part of the early #MeToo movement, a widespread social media campaign trying to bring awareness to sexual assault, misconduct and harassment. He will be talking about his experiences before and when he went to residential school.

“I also talk of my adult life as a result of attending residential schools and the deep impact it made on us [First Nations people],” said Archie, who is thinking of writing a book. “I share experiences so that others know they are not alone with sexual abuse and alcoholism. How traumatic events in our lives affected us in a personal way; our emotions, our physical lives. The sexual abuses that happened are all too common that most families do not ever want to share it and individuals as well”

Another keynote speaker who is also talking about the #MeToo movement is Dave Archie. Robert Narcisse will also talk about his history with sexual abuse at residential schools and how in a general sense, it has affected First Nations People in reservations across Canada.

Narcisse is also a grizzly bear dancer and will talk about being part of traditional culture.

Les Moore Johnson, from Alkali Lake, is a writer and will be talking about his life as a student at the St. Joesph’s Mission, a residential school a few miles from Williams Lake.

Karen Peterson, a yoga teacher, will be doing a demo on yoga and will do a keynote speech on how the practice changed her life. Tanya Hutchinson also does yoga and is also a Reiki master. Hutchinson will also speak about residential schools and sexual abuse and how it affected many generations from a women’s perspective.

A comedian, Laird Archie, will also share his story growing up on a reservation.

“Our stories help others begin their healing journeys,” said [John] Archie. “We begin our fight back with health and wellness as individuals and as a society.”

The event begins at 11 a.m. at the gym at the Canim Lake Band with a sweat lodge ceremony led by Mike Archie. People interested in the event should pre-register with Barb Geurtzen at the Wellness Centre who can be reached at 250-397-2502. There is no entry fee and lunch is served on both April 7 and 8.

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