tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: From May 10-13, 2018, the Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) will celebrate the 10th Annual Spirit of Syilx Youth Unity Run., This annual event is an innovative approach to raising awareness and education with all participants and the public on issues of suicide and violence that continue to confront Syilx communities. The Run exceeds these initial goals and continues to be a proven prevention platform to de-normalize violence, while creating a healing space for Syilx youth.
It addresses these issues by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and living through action, and physical exercise. Syilx youth are also provided the opportunity to experience being out on their territory together as Nation. As such this event addresses a broad range of community and societal issues from suicide and violence, to cultural reconnection with nationhood and the land. Overall, by utilizing a wide range of tools, from physical activity, connection to the territory and implementation of the Syilx teachings the Run enables participants to cultivate a greater sense of well-being.
“Over the last ten years, the Unity Run has evolved to provide a dynamic means of addressing issues of suicide and violence, while enabling an opportunity for greater awareness of cultural identity and healing to take place. A growing body of research shines a light on how such connections to community and land cannot only prevent but to also restore physical, mental and spiritual well-being of our youth. These best practices of gathering and engaging on the territory are resonate to our People as they have always been an intrinsic part of Syilx life. Any participant that has contributed to the Run over the last ten years can attest to these lasting experiences” states Jennifer Houde, Wellness Manager, ONA.
This year the Unity Run will begin at Blanket Creek Provincial Park, heading south to Nakusp and Fauquier, on to Cherryville and finishing at Polson Park in Vernon at 2:30 on May 13. In total, the Run will go through 309 km of the Syilx Territory. There will be a multitude of participants including Syilx youth, elders, leaders, community members and a range of other participants that wish to contribute to the event.
“Our 10th year of hosting the Unity Run is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all our member communities that come together to celebrate and hold up our Youth. This Run creates new experiences that instil wellness and pride in our culture and nsyilxcen language for generations to come. Our Youth are out on the land with our elders, cultural knowledge keepers, meeting other youth from across the Territory and building and fostering strength in each other and our Nation” states Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, ONA Chairman.
For additional information please contact:
Jennifer Houde, ONA CFYH Service Manager