By Chadd Cawson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

We live in difficult times. Physical and mental stresses take their toll, so it’s important to prioritize one’s health and wellness. In light of that, the Akisqnuk First Nation is holding a Health and Wellness Fair for their members on Thursday, June 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fair will run out of their Recreation Centre.

“It’s a new initiative that we are holding for the community to help them understand what sort of services they can have access to when it comes to their health and wellness and to better promote the activities and availability at our health centre,” says Haney Hafez Human Resources Generalist at Akisqnuk First Nation. 

Twenty-five vendors throughout the valley have committed to offering several services, including a foot care clinic, along with a mental health liaison team from Kinbasket Child and Family Services. 

“This year’s health and wellness fair is going to connect people to resources available at the health centre as well as within the wider community,” says Jason Juell, Registered Nurse for Akisqnuk. 

“It will assist us in showing all the different resources available for the community as well as creating networking opportunities for professionals. We are hoping as many members as possible of the community who can attend, are in attendance,” he adds.

Different booths will be set up for specific topics of interest, such as housing and employment opportunities within the Akisqnuk nation. “The housing booth will advertise new buildings, the pricing, and application processes,” says Hafez. The RCMP will also be present and very approachable to answer any questions on what they can do for the community as well as to promote and sponsor relationship building as well as recruitment.

“We are trying to promote that sense of community as it all just boils back down to self-determination, and self-governance of their own community. In doing that there has to be the resources that will make that possible and one of its most crucial components is having access to sustainable health services that ensure wellness of all our community members,” says Hafez. “I just hope that they can realize the scope of the services that they can have access to. The sole reason for the Band Office is to serve the interests and the needs of the wider community. Membership is above everything, even Chief and Council. That is why we are here and why we do what we do.”