The Tamitik Status of Women Association (TSWA) received $7,500 in funding from the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network to help create a greater focus and leadership in identifying and challenging racism.
With the funds, the TSWA will be holding another virtual women’s gathering event and engage with the local government to adopt diversity policies.
The TSWA has been receiving anti-racism funding for four years now and has done a multitude of initiatives over the years.
In 2018, it did a photography project with grade four to seven classes at Haisla Community School and got students to take photos of things that represented racism in their community or represented Indigenous resiliency. The photos were then displayed at the Junior All-Native Basketball tournament which was hosted by Haisla.
In 2019, the TSWA focused on bridging relationships between Indigenous and non-native populations. Collaborating with the Kitimat Community Vitality Index (CVI) Local Advisory Group, the association gathered over 200 participants and highlighted various aspects of Haisla culture.
“Opening and closing prayers, acknowledging clan matriarchs, a performance by Spirit of the Kitlope as well as beaded gifts for participants to take home that was made by Heather Cross, a prominent figure in Haisla Nation. We also held a workshop of Eastern practices and Teresa Windsor, a Haisla linguistics specialist, gave an oral history of the Haisla people,” said Michelle Martins, TSWA’s executive director.
However, due to the pandemic in 2020, it held a virtual workshop on yoga and other Eastern practices because their in-person gatherings were cancelled.
This year, collaborating again with the CVI advisory group the TSWA is continuing with virtual workshops and hopes to create a multicultural lens that represents well-being and resiliency.
“Our latest workshop is an introductory guide to using essential oils for personal safety and wellbeing rooted in Eastern practices,” said Martins.
Later in the year, the TSWA plan to host more virtual workshops that’ll center around history, storytelling and other traditional Haisla art, as well as an Indigenous entrepreneurs panel.
Also planning on exhibiting different cultural foods, the TSWA will be showcasing traditional fried beans and bread made by Haisla women which will have recipes and stories alongside them explaining the significance of the food in Haisla culture.
“Kitimat is incredibly diverse for such a small community with both significant Indigenous and immigrant populations and we chose to highlight food as an anti-racism initiative because TSWA recognizes that across many, if not all, cultures, food is ingrained in one’s healing, history, and physical nourishment. We hope that by making different foods available that will spark curiosity and empathy in our community to help bridge the racial divides that are still unfortunately so apparent,” said Martins.