It was an exciting day to participate in, witnessing the culmination of 13 years of work by successive leadership and staff of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band on July 8, 2015.
The building which was formally opened with prayer, drumming and dignitaries is more than just a place of band business, and more than medical center: it is part of a journey towards wellness that is about healing using traditional methods, and including nurse practitioners and physical fitness with the recognition that there are many facets to a completely healthy population.
Dignitaries from the major organizations that contributed towards the successful opening of the LSIB Health Center included Grand Chief Stewart Phillip representing the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Vila Brown Nurse Practitioner representing Interior Health, Lisa Montgomery Reid and Nathan Matthew representing the First Nation Health Authority. Eliza Terbasket Health & Social Team Lead presented the group with drums made by local artists which depicted the Chaptik and include the Four Food Chiefs: Bear, Saskatoon-berry, Salmon, and Bitter-Root.
The meaning behind the gift of the drums was a message of the interconnectedness of all the participants, and the need for continually working together to reach other successes and goals.
Councillor Eliza Terbasket, Chief Keith Crow, Councillor Terry Terbasket and Lisa Montgomery-Reid await the others before proceeding with the formal ribbon cutting ceremony.
In addition to prayer, song and welcomes, the Opening Ceremonies included opportunities to tour the beautiful new facility which includes a full size gymnasium outfitted with basketball hoops, a commercial kitchen for group canning work, a work out room, a gathering place for elders, both traditional healing spaces and rooms for nurse practitioners to work, as well as bathing facilities for the infirm to be able to get cleaning and care.
The building includes geothermal heating and cooling, many design features to keep it cool and warm by its shape and position; a mapping and administrative area and offices for Chief and Council.
This building has been created with a vision to bringing the whole community together under one roof, and the leaders and staff who worked so long to bring it to life were rightfully proud to have accomplished what they did by working together, over the long haul, to make it happen.
Congratulations to all of the people who made this happen, and thank you for sharing your day with all of us.