Friday, September 18, 2009

My trip to Scotland/ The Orkney Islands

First of all the i have to acknowledge my community and family for pretty much sending me there(supporting our canoe family and giving me money for my trip and prayers ect.) It was an amazing experience it was definitely a good pay off for all the hard work it took to get there.

The trip it self was krazy. It took a bus drive from Penticton to vancouver, a flight from van to Glasgow( a city in Scotland), a city bus from the airport to the bus station, a bus from Glasgow to inverness, a ferry, and another bus to Kirkwall. That took over 24 hours and we were all krazy tired. When we got to Kirkwall which was the main little city we were in we had a small get together with our host families. The host families were that we stayed with for the rest of our journey. My host parents were Jim and Barbara McVean in the small city of Stromness(about 20 minutes away from Kirkwall). They were soo nice and open with Sassy, Ryan and Myself. It was pretty much rez rules at there house, eat when your hungry and all that good stuff. So through out our stay we visited through 9 different islands in the Orkney Islands. We paddled about half the time we were there so that was great. I swear the water was thinner or something because it felt easier to paddle i think it was the salt, but the water was also rough and there were some pretty decent sized swells. Oh and i got to skip the Spirit Dancer, its soo much harder to skip than our Canoe. We met so many nice people, we got stared at a lot but its understandable cause were a bunch of loud native kids JK... Everyone pretty much welcomed us with open arms and the group really represented the Okanagan Nation in a good way. We sang for the people there and in return we got to hear bag pipes bands and fiddles/violins and some songs from the local people. It made improvements in our group also, it brought us closer. We had some rough patches but we pulled through and learned from it. It also made most of us realize the importance our community is for us. When we had the first phone conference, we all cried especially when we herd the songs. We all felt comfortable there, but there is truly no place like home. It was definitely a worth wile experience and i really want to go back and see the places we couldn't see. Oh and I have to mention the food, it is really good( like the ice cream, cheese, pretty much all the products of a cow cause they have enough of them and more organic). Even Haggis is decent.

It's nice to feel the heat and the okanagan sun... I think my tan went away a little bit from over there LOL

By Jolene Michel

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Pretty simple deal here folks.

Host: Leadership
Type: Causes - Fundraiser
Network: Global
Date: Thursday, July 9, 2009
Time: 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: PIB Pow Wow!

As a fundraiser for some of the Youth that will not have spending money for the trip to Scotland a number of folks have generously offered their skulls... more so their hair!

Matthew,Wahnese and Chief Jonathon Kruger are willing to shave a Mohawk into their heads to put some pocket money in the hands of some of our youth.

The way it will work is a graduated scale after

$200.00 is raised Matthew gets a Mohawk

$500.00 Our FN RCMP Wahnese will get the clippers

$1200.00 Chief Jonathon Kruger.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Open letter to the Community.

The KwuSuknaquinx Canoe Family.

Over the past few months the effort that these young people have dedicated themselves to has been amazing, in truth I have never been around a group of youth with the same level of dedication to their pursuit.
It has also come to my attention that man people in the community may not fully know much about these youth and some of the work they do.
They youth have set out some of their own guidelines that have truly made them unique; the program has been created by the youth. The have sought out and been given direction by the Elders and meet with the Elders from time to time. The youth have expressed the value of these meetings and thrive on that support.
They call paddling “pulling” because the motion used is a pulling motion, and some of our seasoned Pullers are recognized throughout the coast as being strong and known for their impeccable timing and singing.
They group has their own means of self discipline and follow the protocols they have been taught. One such protocol is they need to be drug and alcohol free for a week to pull. One thing that has really impressed me about this is its normal for young people to make mistakes and these youth are no exception. I have witnessed young people discipline themselves in not pulling but attending a practice supporting their peers by watching them from the beach only to recommit the following week.
Time and time again I see these young people become their own support network, don’t get me wrong they fight internally sometimes but they work through so many obstacles and hurdles its truly inspiring. The Canoe family has become in its own way a means for them to support each other in dealing with life’s challenges. Some of these youth have some huge struggles they tackle and it’s within their group they assist each other in navigating the waters of adolescents. These youth know they are not perfect but they are willing to keep trying to be better, and they help each other along the way.
Within their own group certain veteran members to earn specific seats in the canoe have to organize their peers to do a work project. They are not allowed to seek community credit for their efforts some of you may have seen them volunteering at community functions or picking up garbage, but in some way it’s their way of quietly showing their respect for the community. Those that wish to steer the canoe have another task, they spend a month honoring and recognizing their role models and lastly their peers, it’s very humbling experience I know because I’ve had to do it as well.
They are so passionate about their community they wanted to share it with many of their canoeing peers, they love who they are and where they come from and they can’t wait to share it with others.
Recently I have seen the footprint their canoeing has left on them; it’s manifested its self in their school work, their art projects, short films, wood working and poetry.
APTN has contacted us about doing a story on these youth, Joan Phillip and I were talking and I have to agree with her in noting it truly good to see positive News being reflected on this community. The youth are more than aware that they are the product of a strong community; I know they are grateful for the support they have been getting from so many members in the community. One of their favorite experiences is when they take the canoe through the Rez and get thumbs up and waves from everyone that sees them. We have even got the same level of the excitement when we drive through the Similkimeen and OIB. It’s so charging and empowering! It’s an experience that is something that these youth will only get from home. No wonder they are so proud of coming from this community.
These youth sit very close to their goal and are in the last few months of training, school and fundraising. All I can say is I’m very much in awe, these are just regular kids that with the right support from their community, knowledge keepers, leadership, parents, programs and peers are about to accomplish so much. Thanks for the love and support.
Lim Limpt
Matthew Baran,

Letter of Support

555 Columbia Street New Westminster, B.C. V3L 1B2 (604) 525-5411 FAX (604) 529-2401

Lorne Zapotichny, Chief Constable

To whom it concerns;
RE: The Penticton Indian Band Youth

I have been involved with Pulling Together and The Pulling Together Society for most of its life. I have been on The Board of Directors and co-hosted The Journey 2 years ago. There have been many new relationships developed and nurtured through these awesome experiences. Many lessons and teachings have been learned and shared along the way.

One of the most valuable of these relationships, is the one being nurtured with The Penticton Indian Band Youth. I have watched them grow from a group of shy somewhat withdrawn, unorganized young people into a highly organized, energetic, innovative, inspirational and very motivated community group. Pulling Together Journey 2009 is going to be very successful. It is going to be successful through and because of the partnerships forged with the people The Okanagan led by The Penticton Indian Band Youth.

Paddles Up
Cu su na Okanagan

All My Relations
Cst. Bruce Ballingall
New Westminster Police

Friday, June 19, 2009

Canoe Journey Fundraiser

The Canoe group will be sitting in the Kwu Sukwna?qinx for 24 hours on Saturday the 20 at 2pm until Sunday the 21 at 2pm to raise money for their trip to Scottland. This event will take place on the river channel near the rez store

They will have donation boothes set up on saturday near the rez store and sunday at the gyro park and pib gatherings.

at the Aboriginal Day gatherings they will have T-shirts and Decals for sale along with the raffle and 50/50 tickets.

so please come out and support the cause...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

True Leadership

A few days ago I was able to witness the finale of what can only be explained as the answer to my ancestors prayers. Although I was detained along the freeway in vanouver only moments away from the ferry terminals during the landing of the canoes, I and my best friend waited from 1:50ish until 8:40 to get on the ferry.

When we arrived, the sun was going down, the group was winding down and and I saw a glimpse into our past. I saw a gathering of nations, who formed a large circle, singing, laughing and dancing. I saw each group and memeber honored for their participation, their involvement and ther support! I saw my love, with a drum in his hand, singing, and dancing. I saw joy, i saw relief, i saw victory, i saw honor. i saw the sun dance as it went to bring light to another world. I saw pride, strength, unity, and friendship.

As a spectator, who arrived without the usual bang or grand entrance, i came in almost unnoticed. it is from this view that i felt the sudden wave of unexplainable emotion which overtook my body and its entirety. I saw our young people, being honored and treated with the respect they've earned, deserved and fought for. I saw a symbol of hope, for my people. I saw within this final day of song, dance ad celebration, that as long as these true leaders were around, our people have little cause for concern. Our songs were being sung, by the youth. our words were being spoken by our youth. our practices and protocols we being demonstrated by our youth. our people were represented in the strongest of lights, because of the will within our syilx paddlers.

This family reunion of paddlers, grounds crew, spectators, supporters and our ancestors had surpassed anything i have ever experienced in my life. i was actually speechless. me. i had nothing to say, i only watched the aurora of what was happening in front of me and felt the heavy burden of doubt be removed off my back. Every doubt I had about the direction our culture and livelihood was heading -disappreared. Every doubt i had about culture being replaced with economic opportunity and tokens and trinkets, vanished. because i saw it happen. i saw both my past and my future shining in front of me and i basked in all its glory.

As my presence became more apparent, and as i was introduced to the many people who were there i heard some of the most amazing stories of truimph. i heard stories of how our paddlers abilities were doubted because of their age, and then heard how they paddled up and down the toughest of waters numerous times, when the adult and more experienced crews barely made one run. I heard of moments of defeat and fear disappearing because of the voices of our youth which sang songs to the water as the paddles used the waves as a stick does a drum. I heard stories of how our young paddlers strength and endurance pushed the limits and boundaries of every other paddler on the water. I heard how the sudden bursts of energy, laughter and smiles ceased tension amongst the group as a whole. i heard about how much other paddle crews and spectators gained a higher sense of understanding the respect of who we are and what we do, by following the LEAD of our youth. I heard how the okanagan people 'KwuSukwnaqinx' were the at the centre of it all and how loved and respected our people were, because of these paddlers.

Yet, i heard no speeches from them about what they were doing, what they were going to do, how they were doing it or why. i never heard any of them say one word about the impact they have and have had on our people, our nation or our future.

Instead, they sang the songs they knew and the songs they created. they used our words in a way in which everyone knew what those words meant. Instead they created change.

This is what TRUE LEADERSHIP really is. this is what CHANGE really looks like. this is what our ancestors meant when they said the youth are the ones...who will bring it back!

Had I been there on time i would have watched the launch, welcomed them on shore, had supper with them, visited with my love, congratulated the youth and then i would have gone home on the last ferry and been home around 2am. I was exactly where i was supposed to be and arrived exactly when i was supposed to arrive.

Victoria Baptiste

Support Shirts

The crew has some pretty nifty shirts on sale:
$20 a shirt shirt
$15 for elders

we only have a limited supply.
All proceeds go to our Scottland trip.