The Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba (JCAM Association) participated in a ceremony at the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to support truth and reconciliation in solidarity last month. Present at the event were the FNHA's Greg Shea, Executive Director, Community Capital and Metro Vancouver Office Project (MVOP); Kim Brooks, Vice President, Regional Operations, Vancouver Coastal and Knowledge Keeper Syexwaliya (Ann Whonnock) along with Dr. Kelly Kaita, President, JCAM Association and his wife, Lisa Kaita.
“It was an honour to participate in the cultural exchange. Thank you JCAM for your commitment to reconciliation," says Kim Brooks, Vice President, Regional Operations, Vancouver Coastal, FNHA.
During the ceremony, Kelly gifted an elegant Japanese paper crane mobile called a “Senbazuru" made up of 1000 individually folded origami cranes to the FNHA. In return, on behalf of FNHA, Greg gifted JCAM a hand carved cedar feather ornately inlaid with abalone shell enclosed with the FNHA logo and shared the cultural significance of the eagle feather and cedar, from a Coast Salish perspective. Kim also presented a Coast Salish bentwood box and shared the story and history of the bentwood box.
The Senbazuru will be destined to hang upright and featured in the new FNHA administration building after construction. The new building has an estimated occupancy planned for summer/fall 2023 and is part of a long-term goal to move FNHA's operations into First Nations communities. “It is moving to have witnessed this expression of solidary for truth and reconciliation. The FNHA looks forward to displaying this thoughtful gift in our new building as on on-going expression of support from the JCAM," says Greg Shea, Executive Director, Community Capital and MVOP, FNHA.
“The use of the 1000 cranes today has reached far greater meaning and is used to symbolize so much more than the one wish. However, if there were one wish, it would be raise awareness of the truth and history of the residential school system and so show support and solidarity of the Truth and Reconciliation movement," says Dr. Kelly Kaita, President, JCAM Association.
About the Metro Vancouver Office Project
The FNHA is building a new administration office and this project brings teams together from across Metro Vancouver locations. The building will be located on Tsleil-Waututh Nation land in North Vancouver, south of Mount Seymour Parkway at the end of Apex Road. As a first-of-its-kind, province-wide entity founded through the expression of BC First Nations self-determination and health governance, the new FNHA office welcomes and celebrates all First Nations in BC.
Information is available online: https://www.fnha.ca/about/fnha-overview/metro-vancouver-office-project
Metro Vancouver Office Project