On a sunny afternoon of June 23rd, 2019 a group of young leaders took a trip to Osoyoos. This was the OneWorld Youth Crew and they came to Osoyoos Park to meet with the Elder – Chalen Ewing.

“Knowledge is in the sun”, shared Chalen, “spirit is more important than body”. She shared stories about residential schools and what happened when children were torn away from their families and how many years and tears it took to regain their roots – learn native languages, cultures and traditions. Many didn’t get a chance to go back…”It happened for them, not to them”, Chalen underlined.


Inspired by the stories that her mother told her, Chalen and her colleagues made a documentary – “Childhood lost: the residential school experience” (Chalen Ewing, Doug Cuthand, Blue Hill Production, Grey Wolf Productions, Shenandoah Film Productions).


The conversation turned to the medicine wheel and how it represents four seasons and stages of a human life – from the curiosity of spring to wisdom of winter. The wheel tells us that all aspects of our life are inter-connected and helps us understand who we are.


The journey continued to the Osoyoos Desert Centre that gracefully rolled the sandy paths of knowledge about nature in front of the group.  There was also a story about how coyote helped bring the fish back to the river and how animal people helped other people learn how to fish through sharing their knowledge.


The sharing of knowledge and building inclusive communities is the essence of the OneWorld Youth Crew led by the South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services (www.soics.ca). The youth represent diverse communities (immigrant, Indigenous and Canadian) of the South Okanagan.  They research and learn about the issues in their respective communities, connect to available services, and bring forward the message of inclusion as it relates to youth, but also the broader community. The youth express and voice their understanding of the value of diversity and inclusion through art and story telling. If this resonates with you – join us!


“Think of how quickly we could heal this world if more of us were dancing, singing, story-telling, and spending time in silence…especially, if we were doing these things together, in gatherings, everywhere…” (Indigenous wisdom)

Article written and contributed by Elmira Galiyeva, Local Immigration Partnership Coordinator with South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services 


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