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The October partner learning session was different from our usual monthly sessions — together, we watched multiple videos provided by one of our partners, Children of the Setting Sun Productions (CSSP), about tribal sovereignty, connection to the land and the climate, and building community. North Sound ACH CEO Liz Baxter said by hosting a watch party, the videos helped us ‘breathe in’ this information, touching our hearts and not just our minds. 

Our learning sessions this year have been following the core concepts of Thriving Conditions for Well-Being, and this session connected us to Thriving Natural World. Our environment affects our health both individually and societally, and is in turn affected by the decisions we make. After we watched the videos, CSSP Executive Director Darrell Hillaire said there are things we need to change about ourselves as people — our values, behaviors, what we do — and we can do this together.

Salmon is central to our way of life.

Darrell Hillaire, Lummi

Among the resources shared at the learning session is CSSP’s Salmon People Project, a collection of stories from fishers, tribal leaders, youth, and more to showcase the importance of salmon in tribal lifeways, but also how the health of salmon affects us all.

CSSP also debuted its Land Acknowledgement video, featuring North Sound ACH’s own Michaela Vendiola and her daughter.

The second video shared was “Women of Journeys – Finding Our Medicine” which featured the Tribal Canoe Journeys, an annual event where tribes from many Coast Salish nations in the U.S. and Canada paddle to each other’s homes for celebration and remembrance. One attendee commented, “With the second film, I was reminded of the importance of teaching respect, dignity and partnership to our earliest learners in order to develop the culture of equity.”

The third video touched on community housing on the Lummi reservation, Schelangen Village.

Attendees from non-tribal organizations asked questions on how to build relationships with tribal nations, something we will continue to explore with our Tribal Learning Sessions in 2022. Michaela Vendiola said non-tribal organizations should be aware of how the tribal nations in your area are set up, and folks who want to partner should take the time to learn about and reach out to the tribes in their area.

In the North Sound, we share community with Lummi Nation, Nooksack Tribe, Samish Indian Nation, Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulalip Tribes, and Upper Skagit Tribe.

You can always find what tribal land you live on by visiting native-land.ca. You can also learn about regional health care efforts by visiting the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and the American Indian Health Commission Of Washington State.

How will you take this information and apply it to your organization and in your community?

Other resources:
Children of the Setting Sun Productions and YouTube page
Salmon People Project: Goals and Key Components
Young and Indigenous Podcast: Ep. 006 Salmon People Series
CSSP Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration 2021
North Sound ACH Tribal Resources

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