Why organize a “paddle” as a way to bring people together? Being Metis, I am proud of my heritage, we have our own culture, artwork and traditions. As voyagers, we endured the affects of racism and residential schools by relying on family and community.
I wanted anyone who may be wondering if they have First Nations or Métis connection to come together and celebrate our cultures, as well as, honouring our differences and the beautiful land Creator has provided us with. The moonlight paddle was not exclusive to Indigenous People as we are all members of the communities we live in.
We reached out to Penticton Indian Band, Enowkin and Friendship Centers, as well as our South Okanagan Métis Association. We were thrilled with the registration. The Dragon Boat Club was amazing to rent us the boats and provide staff for safety instruction, Steerers and coaches. Anyone wishing to tell stories of culture, traditions or connection to water was encouraged once we were on the water and side by side.
Lightning was spotted just over one of the hills so we were told it was no longer safe and we had to return to shore.
There we had a feast and continued to talk and storytell.
Potlatch and storytelling are important aspects of First Nation and Métis culture.
Age range was 10-70 with people being from Summerland and Penticton. One guest was visiting from Louisiana. Food, company and ambiance could not have been better.
Thank you Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen and Vancouver Foundation for this opportunity to connect together.