A joint message from Richard Jock, FNHA Chief Executive Officer; and Dr. Nel Wieman, FNHA Acting Chief Medical Officer
We hope you enjoyed participating in our Food is Medicine Wellness Challenge during the month of March. As each person's health and wellness journey is unique, participation would have looked different for everyone. While one person might have chosen to cut down on their sugar intake, another might have chosen to eat more lean protein or vegetables, or to try out a new recipe from the Food is Medicine Cookbook. The important thing is that you took steps this month to focus on your wellness, and are likely feeling better for it!
Every year in March, we invite First Nations people from across BC to join us in doing the Food is Medicine Challenge, which includes sharing and learning about the many different foods we eat or harvest in our various communities, and exploring new possibilities. We showcase inspiring stories from First Nations communities across the province about their traditional activities on the land such as harvesting traditional plants and medicines, hunting wild game, fishing, and berry picking, and about their different ways to prepare, cook, and preserve their harvests.
One story featured a culinary trip with the Indigenous Sport Activity Recreation Council (I-SPARC) to Nlaka'pamux territory, where we visited the Adams family as they appeared on the Food is Medicine Cooking Show. They talked about the importance of passing on food traditions to the youth and how climate change is impacting our sacred food systems, and shared their delicious family recipes for deer stew, classic boiled fish soup, traditional ShwuhOOshem (soapberry) drink and a sweet treat with TsulTsala (huckleberries).
We also highlighted the work the FNHA is doing with the I-SPARC and 70 participating First Nations in BC to ensure food security and sovereignty through our Food Systems Program.
Another story was about the Huntresses from the Wet'suwet'en Territory, who have joined forces to share their knowledge, culture, and hobbies with other First Nations women who are interested in learning about hunting, including gun safety. Their “Huntress Program" provides a wonderful opportunity for participants to connect with each other and the land, and to learn about the culture and history of the territory.
We also featured Taleetha Fatuma, a youth from the Wet'suwet'en Territory. She shared her experiences harvesting foods and medicines with her grandparents and great grandparents on their traditional lands, learning from them, and her thoughts about what the concept of food is medicine means to her.
These are just a few of the stories we shared throughout our Food is Medicine Wellness Challenge. Each story affirms First Nations' wholistic understanding that food is more than nutrition. Food also means gathering, learning, community and connection, reclaiming traditional ways and is a cultural and spiritual activity that benefits us all.
So, although our March wellness challenge is coming to a close, we encourage you to continue your own Food is Medicine Challenge wellness goals throughout the year and nourish your body and spirit in a way that is good for you. For more information on Eating Healthy, visit our webpage.
In wellness, CEO Richard Jock and Dr. Nel Wieman
As a health and wellness partner to First Nations people in BC, the FNHA continues to strive to provide the information, programs and services that will help achieve our vision of Healthy, Self-Determining and Vibrant BC First Nations Children, Families and Communities. Please continue to follow us for more health and wellness stories and inspiration for continuing your wholistic wellness goals, including in June, when we will invite you to participate in our 30x30 Active Challenge.