On April 10th, 2024, NIȽ TU,O hosted its HEUIST TŦE ḴELAḴ (Honour the Babies) event. This heartwarming event brought together families, local organizations, and other guests to celebrate the babies born in 2023 in the seven communities that NIȽ TU,O serves.

(Shown above, a blanketed baby being greeted during the ceremony)

This year’s event took place at Saanich Fairgrounds and was well attended by many community members, including NIȽ TU,O’s Board President Rose Dumont, representatives from Threshold Housing, representatives from the Tsartlip Health Department, and, of course, 10 new babies along with their families.

(Shown above, NIȽ TU,O’s Administrative Team Assistant Jacqueline, (left), Board President, Rose Dumont (middle), Family Support Worker, Candice (right), during the ceremony)

Upon arrival, families were greeted by community organizations whose attendance showcased their commitment to the well-being of community members. Including the Parents Legal Centre, Child Care Resource and Referral, Central Saanich Fire Department, COHI Program of Island Health, BC First Nations Justice Council, Diabetes Nurse Educator, and Indigenous Health. Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea also attended and presented a special exhibit, complete with real starfish and sea cucumbers.

(Shown above, representatives from Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, presenting their special sea life exhibit)

In addition to being blessed with blankets and gifts from NIȽ TU,O, Cedar hats were donated by community organizations and gifted to two lucky attendees as door prizes.

(Shown above, our community’s babies being blanketed)

Once everyone settled into the festivities of the day, the ceremony began with a warm welcome in SENĆOŦEN by Joe Seward. Seward thanked everyone for attending and acknowledged NIȽ TU,O’s role in arranging the beautiful ceremony, which honours the “little flowers” that are the community’s newest babies.

During the ceremony, ten babies were swaddled in red blankets featuring the NIȽ TU,O logo and adorned with woven cedar headbands. Together with their families, babies received multiple blessings. Kathy Horne and Ivy Seward helped to mark the significance of the occasion, extending words of love and support to the families and NIȽ TU,O‘s caregivers.

(Shown above, a baby being gifted a Cedar Hat by Family Support Worker Candice.)

After the ceremony, attendees enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Auntie Rose and served with care by NIȽ TU,O staff.

(Shown above, attendees being served lunch by NIȽ TU,O staff)

Finally, guests were sent home with goody bags filled with teddy bears and other gifts and prizes, donated by Ocean Discovery Centre, Butterfly Gardens, Tanners Books, Red Barn, Floyd’s, and other community businesses.

NIȽ TU,O is grateful for this opportunity to welcome the newest members of the Coast Salish community and looks forward to continuing to support the community’s families and children through every stage of life.

Those interested in receiving support through NIȽ TU,O’s Family Strengthening Programs and Support Services are encouraged to learn more at https://niltuo.ca/ or by calling 250-544-1400 and asking for a confidential intake.

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