Traditional healers Edna and Laureen Felix from Splatsin were invited by the Shuswap Emergency Program to the reception centre at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort to provide support and healing for evacuees. They will be there this weekend, Nov. 27 and 28. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

Traditional healing available to evacuees in Salmon Arm this weekend

Splatsin mother, daughter to offer a safe space so people can talk or take part in a Healing Circle

With many people in Salmon Arm suffering after being evacuated from flooded Merritt, the Shuswap Emergency Program has added to the support it’s providing.

In consultation with the First Nations Health Authority, Laureen and Edna Felix from Splatsin, who have expertise in traditional healing, were invited to assist at the Emergency Reception Centre in order that all evacuees are provided appropriate support.

“We have been asked to help evacuees deal with what they are facing. Many are fearful of what they are going home to. They can be still in shock and trying to cope with this natural disaster – there’s anxiety, there’s financial losses. We are here to provide a safe space for people, to help ease their minds, to talk or offer a Healing Circle,” Laureen said Friday, Nov. 26.

A safe area for conversation and healing will be set up at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort, where Edna said they are happy to provide support to anyone.

Edna spoke about one aspect of traditional healing, smudging – using the smoke from sage to heal, and its benefits.

“The person who’s coming to you to get help, you don’t know what they’re going through. It may be this natural disaster that they’re working with, but in the end there could be a lot of grief and loss that they’ve had over 30, 40 years that they’ve never dealt with. It could be two years, it could be a week, and that grief needs to come out. It could be a loved one, a lost animal, whatever. It’s just whatever is inside the person that they’re broken, that they need fixing. That’s what the smudge takes away.”

Laureen and Edna Felix will be available to all evacuees this weekend, Saturday, Nov. 27 and Sunday, Nov. 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Prestige is located at 251 Harbourfront Dr. NE in Salmon Arm.

Read more: Reception centre opened in Salmon Arm for Merritt evacuees

Read more: Evacuees from Merritt shaken, stressed, but grateful for support in Salmon Arm
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BC FloodColumbia Shuswap Regional DistrictFirst NationsHealth and wellnessShuswap

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