When Kw'umut Lelum first began to offer wellness programming, we were mindful that services must reflect the needs of each community. Our families, Elders and leaders in each Nation shared with us the gap in services available for men - youth, fathers, uncles - who are attempting to make positive lifestyle changes as they struggle with their own trauma.
Our Men's Wellness programs are run by Kwa-sun-itun (Neil White) who provides everything from one-on-one counselling to traditional circle work. We have run weekly drop-in groups in Snaw-Naw-As and Snuneymuxw.
On October 25th - 27th, KL 4 Seasons of Wellness hosted a Men's Wellness Gathering at the Cowichan Lake Education Centre in Ts'uu baa-asatx Territory. 11 participants representing 5 Nations spent two nights and three days together in a spectacular setting, sharing conversation on a broad range of topics including: Coast Salish culture, identity, overcoming trauma, roles and responsibilities, resilience, strategies for health and wellness.
The weekend was an empowering one for everyone involved. Said Patrick Aleck Jr.: "Even men who weren't comfortable sharing emotions shared. I needed the weekend to recharge and refocus and the men's retreat helped with that. Please have more programs and be patient in this "quick fix" and "I want it now" society! Thank you for you Kw’umut Lelum for the great weekend!".
Chief Daniel Elliot of Stz'uminus recognized the importance gathering together in this way: "It was a real blessing for me personally! I felt like I was immersed in Snuweyeth teachings a link to our ancestors. These types of teachings are rare so this was exceptional! Neil is a power house and a gift to the Coast Salish people. For me we had teachable moments that were for leaders and then we as a group moved in powerful and mysterious ways!”
As the reputation of our men's circle programs grow, we are beginning to join together with other communities and programs so that we can lift each other up in wellness.
For more information about this work, please call Neil at 250-591-0933.