It’s never to late to celebrate.
Tofino General Hospital hosted an Aboriginal Day event in its backyard on Tuesday.
Island Health’s Aboriginal Employment Team and the First Nations Health Authority teamed up to put the June 27 celebration together, which included a Territorial Welcome by Levi Martin, art and demonstration booths including carving and weaving, and performances from Ahousaht’s Soul Shakers and Wickaninnish Community School students.
Canada honoured National Aboriginal Day on June 21, but Island Health Aboriginal Employment Advisor Sheila White said Tofino General Hospital’s celebration was held back a week, in part, to ensure local school students could attend.
“Witnessing that group, all children from the school, doing the singing and the dancing, just moves you,” she said.
Tuesday’s event was the first Aboriginal Day celebration Island Health has held in Tofino.
“We started celebrating Aboriginal Day six years ago at Island Health and we take the celebration island-wide,” White said, adding past events have been held in Alert Bay, Port McNeil, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Duncan and Victoria.
“This year, we decided to host it at Tofino General and we are thankful that we did that because the community all pulled together and helped to plan the event.”
She said the Ucluelet, Ahousaht, Toquaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, and Hesquiaht First Nations were represented.
“The hospital felt that it was important to incorporate all five Nations that it serves,” she said.
Tofino General Hospital Rural Site Director Sherryl Hoskins was thrilled to see the West Coast connect.
“We wanted to bring various groups together so that we could talk about how we work together, how we live together and how we care for each other together,” she said. “It brings the community together. The community is Tofino, it’s Ahousaht, it’s Ucluelet and all the people in between and we like to celebrate out here on the West Coast whenever we can.”
She echoed White’s delight in watching the Wickaninnish students perform.
“They were so cute and so awesome,” she said.